“How are you so confident?”
It’s a question I get asked a lot because for most of my life I was far from what you would call confident.
I was so shy my Mum would tell me off for not looking people in the eye when they spoke to me. I was so shy I’d wait a good 2-3 hours in my room before coming down to see my extended family when they came to visit. I was so shy I’d let anyone walk all over me. I was so shy I’d rather sit in the rain for hours instead of walking into a room late. I could go on.
One New Years Eve I asked my sister what her biggest wish for the year ahead was. She answered, “for you to realise how beautiful you are and be more confident.”
Believe it or not, confidence is a learned response. When something is a learned response it means it can be unlearned.
A very severe bullying experience when I was 12 years old plus numerous other events made me learn from very early on that when I spoke up it only ended in tears. Thus began a toxic cycle of being walked all over for the next 15 years of my life, never speaking up for fear of being hurt…physically and emotionally. Little did I know that every day, I was unlearning how to be confident.
Confidence, like any area of personal growth, is a journey…and I am still very much on mine.
However, my answer to the question “how are you so confident?” isn’t usually what people want to hear. “Think of the scariest thing to you right now” I’ll reply….”now go do it.”
The fastest way to confidence is to do the thing you are most afraid of doing. It’s why over the past 5 years or so my confidence has grown exponentially.
- I was terrified of travelling to another country alone…so I moved to Italy for a while.
- I was terrified of starting a PhD in case I failed…so I started one.
- I was terrified of starting a business in case everyone judged me and it didn’t work…so I started one.
- I was terrified of saying yes to sharing my story on stage…so I did it.
- I was terrified of speaking up for myself and disagreeing with someone…so I started doing it.
- I was terrified of falling in love and having my heart broken again…so I did it (p.s. I did get my heart broken again…and it was more painful than I ever could imagine…but guess what? I’m still here, I’m still whole).
The fastest way to confidence is to throw yourself off the cliff…chances are there is a pile of pillows at the bottom. Chances are, all those things you were so afraid off won’t happen. Either way, the GUARANTEED result is more confidence. You learn.
Step 1…accept that you can learn to become more confident and you are not just ‘built this way.’ Step 2…start throwing yourself off some cliffs.