top of page
  • LisaB

Number 1 Barrier to Confidence

If you find you are not moving forward towards something you REALLY want, you most likely have fallen into a common but often hard to detect "thinking trap". This is the trap of having excessive expectations. Having excessive expectations either for your performance and/or others' response to you. This is the MOTHER of all barriers to your confidence. I say this because it is sneaky. You think it is the truth and have no idea the power it holds over you. It is the most powerful reason you do not begin to try. It is the most powerful reason you give up way too soon.

What do I mean by excessive expectations? Well, some call it perfectionism. It is having the expectation that no matter the circumstances, you should perform at a high level. This is despite how much experience you have, your skill levels, and more. It often induces fear to try new things, blocking any momentum. Without momentum, you cannot make progress with any goal.

I will give an example--a very current one. I finally had the courage to join a Toastmasters Club this week. Toastmasters is a speech club that provides many opportunities to speak in front of a group. Yes, it's a little scary, but I had been a member in the past. In fact, I had been the president of a Toastmasters Club in the past. Yet for 5 months I kept finding "reasons" to not go to a meeting. After months of this avoidance, I got suspicious ........

Was I being held "captive" by my excessive expectations? Hmmm......

So I asked myself, on a scale of 1 to 10, at what level was I expecting to perform at my first meeting? Immediately, the number 8 came to me. I saw that I believed I should be poised, funny and confident in front of this new group.

These expectations were clearly not motivating me. Instead these expectations were getting me to stay home and watch way too many YouTube videos.

Then I asked myself, what would performing at a 4 look like to me? I knew a 4 would be the magic number because it is enough to get me to move forward. I decided a 4 would look as follows: 1) I arrive on time; 2) I introduce myself as a guest in front of the whole group; and 3) I am polite. That would be performing at a 4. Anything more = extra credit.

So what happened? Well, I went to my first meeting that week (momentum - finally)! I was asked to speak a little more than I felt comfortable speaking. I was not poised nor funny. I simply performed at the level 4 that I set out to do. This kept my inner critic from over-analyzing my performance.

I went the next week with the same intentions and I went the following week. Each time speaking a bit more and with a little more poise. Last week I officially joined. I will continue with my objective of performing at a 4 each time....which is a tad more challenging each meeting for me. Hence, I will continue to get better every time I show up.

Excessive expectations are sneaky, paralyzing and oh so common. But, once you see you are getting blocked by them.......just LOWER your expectations. Make them realistic. You'll see how your momentum picks up. If you are moving forward and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you have the right expectations. Most importantly, you will get the experience you need to build up your confidence.


bottom of page