“I could never do that.”*
"I'm not brave like her."*
“She has so much confidence!”*
“I wish I had one-tenth of her courage.”*
“What’s her secret?”*
*Actual excerpts from the voice in my head for many, many years, every time I would see (& envy) a confident woman.
I used to have a stack of photos I had cut out of magazines of “strong” women, “brave” women, CONFIDENT women. I studied those photos often; I wanted to be those women.
I would read the books, visualize, meditate and repeat mantras. I wanted so desperately to be confident. And while those things did help, it wasn’t until I decided to stop thinking and start DOING that I finally felt that flame of confidence ignite.
Because the “secret” to confidence is this–
Confidence comes from DOING.
Confidence comes from trying and failing and learning what went wrong and then trying again.
Confidence comes from realizing we’re strong enough to take the blows and get back up, dust ourselves off and come back fighting.
Confidence comes from pushing beyond our self-imposed limits and realizing we’re capable of SO MUCH MORE than we ever dreamed.
When I decided to start running at the age of 40, I could barely run 60 seconds without taking a walk break. (And by “running,” I mean a verrry slow jog.) I remember I was trying to work up to running one mile non-stop and I overheard my sister tell someone that I was training for a marathon. I said “Ohhhh nooooo sistee. I’m just trying to get to a mile! Maybe a 5K someday, but there’s NO WAY I could EVER run 26.2 miles! Those people are machines!”
That was 6 years ago, and next month I’m running my sixth 26.2.
I didn’t achieve that goal because I was confident from day one. In fact, in my mind a marathon wasn’t even a possibility when I started out.
But just like with any goal in life, confidence came with each step, literally and figuratively. There were falls and broken bones and terrible races and flat-out failures along the way, but those only showed me that I was strong enough to endure the tough stuff, brush it off and keep moving forward.
Achieving each small goal along the way gives us the confidence to take on the next goal, and the next and the next…
And once we get a taste of that confidence growing inside us, the sky’s the limit.
As I discussed in last week's blog post, Start Before You're Ready, the trick is to take the first step. Make the jump.
Yes, there will likely be setbacks along the way. That’s just part of the deal, but once we realize this, the setbacks become less scary. When something goes wrong, we’re able to see it as simply a step that will make us stronger and bring us that much closer to our dream.
Does that mean it doesn’t hurt? Heck no! It still hurts! Who likes to fail? No one! But true confidence doesn’t come from the easy times…
True confidence is born during the challenging times.
Confidence grows when things go wrong, and we realize we’re OK. Better than ok! When we push through and put it in the past, we can add that to the list of things we’ve overcome (check!). And THAT builds confidence.
That allows us to face the next challenge with the knowledge that we can handle the hard stuff… which gives us the confidence to push our limits that much more.
It’s a beautiful cycle once we see it for what it is -
When we take action, one of two things happens:
We succeed, and move on to the next step. Or we fail, at which point we have two choices:
Take some time to mourn the failure, then dust off our badass self and keep moving forward with a new level of confidence that assures us we are strong enough to endure. (fist bump, baby!)
THAT is the power of DOING.
THAT is when our confidence grows.
THAT, right there, is where the magic happens.
Being brave doesn’t mean we’re not afraid. Being brave means we do it anyway.
Let’s do it anyway, my friend.