15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.

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The Problem With Your Confidence-Building Plan

confidenceWe naturally feel trepidation whenever we are confronted with a new task. Well, perhaps “naturally” isn’t the correct word since one-year-olds don’t have the same hesitancy. In fact, that nervousness is something that is a learned trait. Perhaps because we get laughed at or ridiculed when we fail at something as a child. Or maybe because we actually get physically hurt attempting a task. Whatever the cause, we (two-years-old and over) somehow develop this feeling of trepidation when we are confronted with something new.

Because we seek to avoid failing, falling, or fumbling, here’s how we normally seek to confront that mysterious new “thing” in our path. First, we want to build up our confidence. Second, we want to develop some skill. Third, we want to attempt it. Then finally, we achieve the results or success that we are looking for.

The problem is, the real world doesn’t work that way. You never develop confidence in something until after you do it. You certainly don’t develop skill in something until after you try it a few times. So, here’s how that process should actually look:

Step one, start.
Step two, increase skill and confidence.
Step three, results.

Do the thing and you will have the power. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

You need to put the action in first before you begin to develop skill and confidence. Increased skill and confidence can accelerate your passage from step one to step three. But until you actually put some action in to initiate the process, you are just idling. And idling always increases fear and trepidation (I really like the word trepidation).

Sometimes you will fail, fall or fumble. Any failure is a lesson in how to achieve success on your next attempt. Any fall is a signpost on where to step carefully next time. Any fumble is a reminder to keep your eye on the ball. Each attempt increases confidence on the next attempt. The only time that failure is final is if you QUIT.

So don’t try to gain the confidence first to do the thing you’re been waiting on.

Do the thing.

Get the power.

Nine times out of ten, your fear will disappear the moment you start. More of us are held back by fear of failure than by failure. The only thing that can build up your confidence, is action.

Just do it. ~Nike, Roman Goddess of Victory

What have you been postponing or procrastinating on this week?

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Don’t Bury Your Self Under Your Self-Consciousness

masksAs an introvert, I can talk about this topic with authority. Growing up as an extremely shy child, I’m more of an expert really.

Timidity, nervousness and shyness are all synonymous with self-consciousness. Speaking as a kid who grew up painfully shy: we become overly-concerned about being embarrassed, about saying something wrong, or about appearing foolish. Because of this, we police our speech and our actions. We keep quiet. We remain passive. We don’t speak our mind.

The problem with living that way is that when we are inhibiting ourselves in this fashion, we are not being genuine. And nobody likes a person who is not genuine. We love babies because they are genuine. Babies have no hint of deception or falseness. We love dogs because they can’t conceal ulterior motives; their tails give them away.

When we are not being genuine, we are not being ourselves. We erect barriers between ourselves and others. Being painfully shy hurts not just you, but those that would benefit from knowing your true self. All of us are beautiful. All of us are wonderful creations of a God that loves us. All of us are important. All of us are also unique.

When we inhibit our inner selves because of self-consciousness, we are detracting from our personality not adding to it.

When we are not being ourselves, we are trying to fit in; to conform. It’s less about  inhibition, and more like imitation. If you are not being you, you are trying to be someone else by default.

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else” Judy Garland

If I’m describing you right now, then here’s a quick and simple truth to help you overcome nervousness around strangers.

While you are spending all your time worried about what a stranger thinks of you, the truth is they are not thinking about you. They are thinking about what you are thinking of them.

Here’s proof for that statement. If you take a group photo, who is the first person that you look for when you see the picture? You. And your friend Billy looks for? That’s right, Billy. Your entire judgement of whether or not the photo is good or bad depends on how you look in it.

So don’t focus on how self-conscious you are. Focus on how self-conscious they are. When you realize that they are concerned about making a good impression on you, it helps you to empathize with them.

If it helps, pretend you are interviewing them for a job, and they are a scared candidate trying to make a good impression and you need to coax them out of their nervousness. Pretend they want to ask you out on a date and you’re the homecoming queen. Pretend you are the adult and they are the child. Pretend you are the celebrity and they are your biggest fan.

Too much focus on your behavior and your words, restrains you. If it becomes out of control, it’s more than just inhibition, it’s dishonesty.

Be you.

What is the best advice you have heard for overcoming self-consciousness, timidity, or outright fear?