2 Steps to Build Your Confidence
Confidence--we seem to think it is a magic elixir. Many of us think, "If only I had the confidence, I would be able to....." As though confidence were something outside of us, to wish for, to envy when we see it in others. If only......
However, this is backwards because the actions of confidence must come first, before the feelings. As stated in The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris, confidence is NOT something that falls into you. No matter how much you wish for it. Rather, confidence is a feeling that you earn by acting. Only by taking a step towards your goal, no matter how small, will you start to feel the confidence you yearn for. You must take action again and again.
It truly takes a leap of faith to take action towards a goal, without feeling the confidence first. Two things I have found helpful:
1) Fall in love with the process; and
2) Take baby steps
First, to fall in love with the process, you recognize that while in the process of pursuing your goal, there is much opportunity. You gain experience, build connections with others, learn and so much more. When you recognize all the rich experiences you will gain by reaching for something, it's worth the effort and discomfort. As long as you have momentum and are taking action, you are growing.
Second, taking baby steps is a easy way to build a foundation. As long as you are in action, the steps can be small. For example, if trying to work on presentation skills (executive presence), you could have a goal to ask a question in every meeting you attend. This will give you the practice of speaking with confidence, having good posture, and sincerely asking for something--all steps to improve your executive presence. Believe me, such a step can seem too small, but these things can snowball for the better (more on this in a future post on executive presence). The key is having momentum--no matter how little.
To be honest, when I feel stuck, I HATE that confidence doesn't just fall into my lap. I HATE that I truly must act, move forward towards my goal when I doubt myself. But it is wonderful when I do take those baby steps--I feel more confident with each step. No one gets it for free, but everyone is rewarded once they pay the price of action. Truly magical!!