Scaling New Heights: How do you find more confidence?
September 11 2015
Some people seem to be born with an amazing vibe of confidence. It shines out of them, and is reflected in everything that they do. If they wanted to move mountains, they probably could! Perhaps some of this optimism is part of their pre-determined personality – but most of it is learned, a sum of their life experience. So, how do they do it? And how do we become more self-assured?
I reckon many decisions I make about what I do stem from a counter-play between fear and courage. For example, there are many outdoorsy things I would like to try, but a lack of confidence coming from a place of fear (of failure, of hurting myself, of being truly useless at it! Dumb, I know…) can stall me in my tracks. I have managed to bash this back a few times – and do you know what? This is when you can counter-act fear with fear. Yep, I’m talking about FOMO. Everyone else is getting their SCUBA gear on and preparing to explore an incredible underwater cave. I’m on the boat, putting on my mask and snorkel, preparing to float around on the surface. Suddenly, it occurs to me, I am seriously missing out on an awesome opportunity here. For years, my fear of claustrophobia stopped me from getting my dive certification – but once I tried it, I was fine! It was all in my head.
Fear is something we’ve had to manage within ourselves ever since we considered the concept of monsters under the bed. But often it is the anticipation of something we view as ‘scary’ which is disabling, not the actual event itself. And once you start doing things that freak you out a bit, you realise that you grow in strength every time, and a new confidence will begin to emerge. So start small. What’s something niggling away at you that you’d like to tackle? You can do it!
Increasing your confidence is life-changing. It enables you to make decisions swiftly, feel optimistic no matter the outcome, and most importantly, not worry about what others will think.
The important thing is to find YOUR confidence. In order to face the world with your most courageous face on, you really need to know yourself, trust yourself, and understand both your strengths and your weaknesses. Confidence will actually come from knowing and recognising what you are not good at – and being ok with that. Nobody else can tell you what is possible in your life. You are the only one who truly places limitations on yourself. We need to realise that we can trust our gut instincts and give those things a go that we know we can do – but they’re a bit scary – and that it is ok to give those things a miss which really are not for us (I’m astounded at people who can free-climb a rockface! So impressive. I would be frozen, whimpering.) BUT… I have learnt how to surf, and haven’t drowned yet! Amazing. And I have sailed thousands of miles offshore, embracing the feeling of freedom (even in a howling storm). There are still challenges ahead of me which scare me a little (ok a lot), but I’m going to do it, damn it! Kite-surfing! Gulp. Running a marathon! Me? Launching my own podcast? OMG…but watch this space…
What is a small step YOU are going to take in the next month to get your confidence on the ascent?