No Shortcuts - Confidence

Confidence is a characteristic that everyone seems to want.  You look up to those people who can walk around seemingly without a worry.  Who can stand up in front of a group and effortlessly speak.  Who can get people to follow them just by their words and actions.  It's like a super power.  

We have a natural tendency to notice the things we aren't good at.  As we focus on those areas you can get a complex that you are beneath others.  When you put YOURSELF into that group it's almost impossible to be confident.  How can you speak so effortlessly if in your mind you believe you are beneath your listeners?  

I have had severe confidence issues in my adulthood.  It stemmed from me not feeling smart enough do to my struggles in school in high school and college.  Once that lack of confidence started to snowball it started taking out other skillsets.  If I had no confidence in my intelligence, then how could I even think of sharing my thoughts publicly?  I all of a sudden could not speak in a group.  At all.  

Confidence has the power to destroy and it has the power to enable.  It just depends what direction you go with your confidence.  I also experienced it the other direction.  As I get more and more wins at work I all of a sudden felt like I could do anything.  I would add in all my wild ideas to team meetings.  I could speak in front of hundreds of people without any of the intense anxiety I had before.  

Here is how I went from no confidence to a lot of confidence.

1) Know Your Stuff: Confidence comes from achieving success.  In order to be successful you have to be good at something.  You can't just show up on a basketball court and become great.  The most confident basketball players have practiced for years and with that practice became good.  Become good at something.  When you start.....become good at ANYTHING.  You need to start somewhere.  Success in one area leads to success in other areas as you grow. 

2) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone:  You need to prove to yourself that you can do new things.  You need to break out of the box you have created for yourself where you just do stuff that's comfortable.  For me, it was joining Toastmasters.  I hated public speaking, but had to get out there and do it.  I was forced to speak every session.  As time went on I was able to get better and better, which built my confidence up.  

3) Understand That There Will Always Be Doubters:  As you grow and improve you will likely interact with more and more people.  It's natural that some of these people will think you're great and there will be others that will think you're mediocre.  That's part of life.  You cannot live your life needing to be loved by EVERYONE.  It's not possible.  Realize that as you get higher and higher the challenges will get greater.  More eyes will be on you.  Focus on YOU and not what other people think.  I remember my dad gave me the advice of, "It's none of your business what other people think of you".  Truth.  

Going on this confidence journey isn't easy.  You have to start though.  The more you act the faster the progress will be.  Start small and grow from there.