Born or Acquired?
Yesterday I attended a great Women In Leadership workshop. It made me think about my own journey to confidence, how I vacillate between confidence and insecurity.
I have heard these same things from people time and again: "You're so confident," "You can do it because of your confidence," "I'm not confident like you."
Let me tell you something; confidence is a journey not a destination -- I was not born confident and often I fake it till I make it!
Most people don't know my life history but those that find out they usually want to understand more.
I was NOT born confident.
I came from an abusive home, my parents divorced when I was 5; I lived in poverty often with no food and with neglect. There were no cuddles, reassurances or proclamations of belief in me. I lived in a place of scarcity. I was anything but secure and confident. There is a brazen part of my personality that helped me and I would be lying if I said It wasn't so. I say what I think but that didn't make me a confident person, it's simply how I covered up my fear.
So what did I do to gain confidence?
I am a firm believer that our mind and our successes are similar to the function of the ATM; If we put bad cheques in that ATM no good withdrawal can come from it... we may get away with something initially but it will catch up to us. Just like your mind... if you consistently deposit negative thoughts about yourself not much positivity can emit from you; how could it when you have only negative beliefs in yourself? Thoughts such as "I can't do that, I am not smart enough or I'm not good enough," will tear you down. The change has to start here. It's not complicated at all. Start small; look in the mirror and say TODAY I CAN do just one thing. Take baby steps. It's the small wins that you need to celebrate.
Your thoughts create your emotions and your emotions create your actions and reactions. Always check your thoughts.
So, how does someone who comes from a life of lack rise to success; not just in work, in sports, in charity, as a writer and in life's happiness? I pay attention more to the yeses than the nos. A no to me means the next one will be a yes... so many people quit before the yes. I don't care if I get 5 nos or 500 nos... there will be a yes!
Edison failed to refine the light bulb so many times it took him 10,000 attempts to perfect. However rather than accepting failure 9,999 times he is quoted as answering questions on his failures as rather: "I have not failed."
Don't quit before the yes.
There can be no success without failure.
There are three main things I have done in my life to create confidence;
1. Set goals... they are specific, with no ambiguity and they all have timelines. For example: I will write my next blog post on whatever inspires me by Dec. 5 or I will take a new course to improve my communication skills by Dec. 6. Or you can start with simple goals like: I will clean out my bedroom closet by Dec. 10. Start small and celebrate the completion of any goal.
2. Never focus on the things you are missing in a task/job, focus on what you do have and know you can learn the rest. For example; when I apply to jobs I may only have 50 percent of what is listed but I have faith I can learn the rest. I simply see the positives first and negotiate the negatives. It doesn't mean I don't see the negatives, I just don't give them power.
3. Find role models and emulate their behavior. What does that person have that I want? Sometimes it's as simple as how they spoke to others but always how they made me FEEL. People might forget what you say but seldom how you leave them feeling.
If you start saying things such as; I don't believe in myself, I had a bad life, no one supported me or no one ever believed in me; I am here to tell you that it's nothing more than an excuse you tell yourself to blame the outside world. This simply keeps you from becoming the spectacular human you were born to be.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
You have all you need inside of you. I am not a particularly religious person but I always think of this from the Bible: "I am what I am," as a name, implies an existence different from all other existence.
YOU ARE UNIQUE AND SPECIAL
If I continued to use my story of abuse, homelessness, lack of support and love I would likely be in a very different place today. We must believe in our awesome selves. Stop waiting for someone else to validate you!
Today, give a resounding YES to trying -- and reap the rewards of the confidence that will follow!