People often say that they want to feel confident.
I would love it if confidence is something you can just get off the shelf – but it isn’t.
Confidence is like fitness. You only get it as a result of doing something. In the case of fitness, it is exercise. Exercise leads to fitness.
So what is it that you need to do to achieve confidence?
We have been brave many times in life. Any ‘firsts’- such as the first day at primary school, the first day in a new job, the first driving lesson, we would have felt some anxiety because it was an unknown. We were brave.
And the more we did it, the more familiar it became until confidence was the result.
So how was it possible to do these things that were outside the comfort zone?
We are brave when there is purpose.
Why do we get behind the wheel of a car when it is scary? Because we want to learn to drive and have the freedom a driving license gives.
Why do we put ourselves through the anxiety of job interviews? Because we want a new job.
And the stronger the purpose, the stronger the desire, the easier it is to access bravery
And it also works the other way!
If the reason to do something is not big enough, or is coming from another person – ie someone is telling you you ‘have to’ do something – then it is harder to be brave.
How to be brave
1. Have a big enough purpose
Firstly, to have confidence in something, you need to have a big enough reason to step out of the comfort zone.
It may be financial, it may be personal growth, it may be moving away from something painful (like loneliness).
But without a big enough purpose to take you out of the comfort zone, you will simply stay in it.
2. Don’t give up
Imagine a baby learning to walk. They will fall over time and time again but they keep getting up and trying again. For those of us that can drive, I suspect you too can recall stalling the car, mounting the curb….we got it wrong, but we didn’t give up.
3. Keep practising
It took months to learn to walk, months to learn to drive, constant repetition of our times tables….and now we can walk, drive and answer maths questions without thinking about it. They have become subconscious processes – things we don’t have to give conscious energy too.
And that is the ultimate confidence – doing something that you do without even really engaging in it.
The greater outside your comfort zone that your challenge is, the greater the purpose you will need, the more likely you will not get it right straight off, the more you will need to practise until it becomes a subconscious talent – you achieve confidence.
Stop seeking confidence and start being brave. The more brave you are, the more confidence will just come!
How brave are you feeling?