When someone asks you about how confident you are about something, do you cringe and second-guess or question your abilities? And then self-doubt starts to set in. You feel stuck or paralyzed about taking action. You may be even one of those people who end up in a downward spiral to the point of giving up.
I feel confident about a lot of my creative skills. This Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to make and decorate a cheesecake for dessert with our meal. The impetus came from a friend who made his living in the wedding industry. He had recently retired and shared a recipe. This recipe was good. So good, in fact, it paid his mortgage payment each month. And this cheesecake had a buttercream icing that was piped beautifully. Do I have those skills? Absolutely not. Did I feel a bit intimidated by the task? Definitely. Did self-doubt set in? Of course.
This is a just small situation, but it can play out every day in larger ways. Giving a speech to a large group for the first time or the 10th time. Entering your art in a show. Sharing a portion of your book in public. How did you get from feeling doubt to taking action to building confidence? Here are some ideas.
Make the commitment
Do you put off deciding to do something until you’re ready? You aren’t really ready for confidence building until you make the commitment. Confidence comes after you make the commitment, not before. If you have a hard time being ready, give yourself a deadline. For example, you can think about what you want to do for 20 minutes, then you have to make a commitment, ready or not.
Remember past successes
Confidence begets confidence. You have been successful many times in your life. Go back and remember some of them and the feelings that you had with that success. Try to pull that feeling into what you are trying to do now. As you have more and more successes, confidence grows. You can see all that you’ve accomplished thus far. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t have those successes?
Muster the courage
It comes down to taking action. And that takes courage. Courage and confidence are tied together, as L. Frank Baum shared in the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. You may remember this conversation between the Cowardly Lion and the Wizard.
“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
Keep at it
Your confidence will continue to grow each time you take action. It will become a habit. So make the decision to stop hesitating and try. That’s what I finally did with the cheesecake. My attempt with the buttercream icing looked nothing like my friend’s example, but it got raves from those who saw it. And, my next attempt will be even better because I have more confidence.
It’s Your Turn!
How do you build your confidence?