Lack of confidence is often cited is one of the reasons people are not doing more with their life. ‘I’m just not confident enough’. ‘I just need to build my confidence first’.
Here I share some deeper ideas on confidence, what it really is and what you can do about having more of it.
What is confidence
So what is confidence? If you’ve never contemplated this question before I’d encourage you to stop now and consider it.
What is confidence and how would you know if you had it?
Consider how you would look and sound. What would you see? What would you say to yourself? What would you feel?
Think back now to the last time you felt most confident.
Just remembering will likely make you feel more confident. This suggests an obvious response that confidence is something you feel.
I want you to begin to consider that the feeling you call ‘confidence’ is indeed an outcome of something else.
What I’ve learnt is that most people don’t feel confident because they’re comparing themselves to others.
Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea but what makes it worse here is that we tend to compare how we feel on the inside with what we observe displayed on the outside of others.
Consider this – Perhaps you’ve been given feedback that you appeared confident (on the outside) but you knew on the inside you didn’t feel confident. What then – Does this mean that though you didn’t feel it, you are indeed confident?
I’ve come to realise that we’re often labelling other people’s courage as confidence. We’re assuming that what we see on the outside is a mirror of how they feel on the inside.
Ok, so sometimes it is. Perhaps they’ve either done it so many times they’re ‘confident’ in the outcome, or they know at a deeper level that whatever the outcome, it doesn’t mean anything about them. It’s just an outcome.
What I want you to realise is that meaning doesn’t come inbuilt. We create it, we give labels and we tell ourselves a story. The story we too often tell ourselves is we’re not confident, not good enough etc. Often the story that trips us up the most is the story we don’t want other people to tell about us. This idea of a story often means we don’t do anything, but it’s just a story.
Part of what’s going on for us is that at some point in the past we’ve changed a verb into a noun.
Confidence is not something you have, it’s something you do.
Building Confidence from values
Through coaching others and doing my own deep work I’ve realised that being self-aware, being deeply in touch with who you are, the story you’re telling yourself and the story you want to tell the world is a tremendous source of courage and confidence.
What I’ve learned is that real confidence is achieved through being comfortable with yourself and by knowing confidence is action rather than something intrinsic. Action to push open the door, to enter something unfamiliar, knowing that you’ll learn and grow no matter what and the only thing that matters is the story you tell yourself.
Confidence is a way of telling yourself your story and the attitude and approach you take in creating it. The likelihood is that through taking action and creating a positive story for yourself, you’ll already start to feel it.
So, what if you are already confident, you just don’t realise it yet? What if you’ve spent your whole life telling yourself a story that wasn’t true and isn’t serving you?
What if from now on you focus courageously on telling your own positive story about yourself and be open to welcoming the feelings that we associate confidence?