I was recently asked, "how do I gain more confidence?" Without thinking twice about it, I said "You don't. Desiring confidence is a trap."
Bear me with for a moment as I totally get that that is likely not the response you were hoping for. I have had dozens of clients come to me wanting a quick fix to confidence building. Consider for a moment the areas in your life where YOU would like to show up more confidently...
...when giving up your 9 to 5 to start your own dream business?
...while pitching to your ideal client for the first time and sharing your fee with her?
...when being vulnerable with your significant other for the first time and apologizing for being wrong?
...while presenting your keynote presentation to the largest audience you've spoken in front of yet?
...when getting over your personal struggle to get it perfect and publishing a daily video of yourself dancing across Europe on social media or sharing your creative talent with the world?
....or when being offered a new opportunity that you've never done before and you respond, "Absolutely, this sounds like a great fit and then are terrified at the prospect of doing something new that you **think you** don't know how to do well."
While these examples are all unique to clients that have come to me in search of confidence and overcoming their fears, there is one constant amongst all of them. These are all examples of individuals who are dreamers and have big goals, so naturally they're not going to know how to be confident when they're stepping outside of their comfort zone, doing something new for the first time, and challenging their limits of what they know to be possible.
I believe Henry David Thoreau said it best, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined."
Confidence is not about being good at something, and specifically about something that you've never done before. What confidence is about is...
...showing up for yourself and taking action anyway regardless of how you're feeling in the moment.
...hearing every no as one step closer to your next yes.
...feeling scared and taking bold action anyway, rather than reinforcing the story that you're not confident, capable or good enough and making that story more real for you.
...choosing to be messy and have it be access to showing up powerfully.
...seeing each failure as one step closer to your next success.
...making mistakes, being able to laugh at yourself, and learn from them for the next time.
...and being comfortable in your own skin, owning your worth and your value.
No one will value you and see you as more confident than you see yourself. Each one of us is meant to be successful and it is up to you to show up powerfully, to own your worth and to re-program your confidence. Maybe your confidence is playing hide and seek with you and it's holding you back. Here are five ways to get yours back:
One of my favorite ways to access confidence is through being of service. I believe that all of us desire to be of service to others and to make an impact on other people's lives in some way. What is your personal why? What gifts do you have to share and what value do you add to other people's lives? When you reconnect with why you do what you do, whether you sell financial plans or homes, whether you desire to be in love or to love another, or whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, go be of service everywhere, share your gifts, and give them away without hesitation or reserve. Confidence will surely follow.
We show up powerfully when we are joyful, happy and content. If your confidence is playing hide and seek with you, take your joy back. I participated in an online summit a couple months ago and I noticed that I was really intimidated to record and share my story. In the moment, I noticed that I was just scared and I blasted one of my favorite dance videos to Pharrell Williams' Happy song and danced for 5 minutes laughing out loud at myself the entire time. 5 minutes later, I was back at it and recorded the talk in one take. What are 5 access points for you to joy and fun? I invite you to keep them present and powerfully choose them as access to moving through the discomfort.
Confidence creation comes from experience. I believe many of us struggle with confidence because we're scared of making mistakes, whether it's looking bad, fear of failure, or having evidence to reinforce the story that we're not good enough. Confidence is not an elusive trait that some people have and some people don't, it is a quality that you too can exude by taking risks, getting experience, making mistakes, and learning from them how to be or do things better the next time. I mean, just look at the number of millionaires in the world who have at some point in their careers declared bankruptcy. If you're willing to put yourself out there and create new experiences, I guarantee confidence will not be far behind.
The better we take care of ourselves, the more confidently we show up for ourselves and others. Self-care is a reflection of your relationship with yourself and ultimately is self-love. The more you prioritize and respect your needs whether they be meditation, sleep, diet, or exercise to name a few, the more you can show up confidently and get bigger results from a place of already loving and respecting yourself. By reclaiming your worth and taking a stand for what you have to contribute in life, you show up confident in your own skin. If you're in sales, there's nothing persuasive about you, people will feel your non-attachment and you will be able to express what your goods and services are. From there, you can powerfully make recommendations that are best for people.
Many of my clients find me because they delay taking action because they're waiting to "feel" confident. I believe it works the other way around. I guarantee that if you take bold action in the direction of your dreams, you will gain confidence as a result of practice and having chosen. You may notice confusion, insecurity, resistance, or resignation, and I believe that that shows up as a consequence of not having fully chosen and taken action in service of your commitment.
At the end of the day, it's not really about being confident after all. It comes down to taking brave action in the direction of your dreams. I hope you will rise to the challenge in service of unleashing your unbounded potential. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below, what brave actions will you take on this week in the direction of YOUR dreams?
Catherine A. Wood is the Founder and Head Coach of Unbounded Potential, a personal coaching firm dedicated to helping high performance individuals who are committed to making a big impact in the world. A visionary, entrepreneur and world traveler, clients have referred to her as a guardian angel for their dreams. You can learn more about Catherine and what she offers by visiting her Online, on Instagram, on Facebook, or by signing up for her newsletter and grabbing her Unbounded Potential manifesto.