I’ve written several posts about confidence and I always say that while some people seem to be born with an extra dose of it, anyone can become more confident with a little work. I think of confidence like a muscle. The more you work at it the stronger and more pronounced. I consider myself a pretty confident person but truth be told I think that as i’ve gotten older I have become a little less confident in certain areas. I remember never being afraid to speak up, and while I still have quite the voice in smaller settings, large speaking engagements still frighten me. There was a time where I stood on stage in a pageant with a room full of people and rattled off my answer to the question with so much confidence someone later said “My dad said you should have won. You gave the best answer and with so much confidence!” To be fair someone might say the same thing about me answering with confidence now. I still get compliments when I speak, but the way I feel about it seems different. The voice in my own head doesn’t always feel as confident as it once did. Many times during large speaking engagements I feel like a duck. You know how they float smoothly on top of the surface but paddle like mad underneath?
I’d love to launch into some soliloquy about how society makes women feel less confident as they age, but honestly that isn’t it at all. I mean yes, that does happen, but that is not what is happening right now for me. I am pretty secure about being 45. I love it. It feels right. Here’s what I think it is. I believe that as we age we have more of a feeling that we know ourselves. That we know what we are good at and what we aren’t so good at. When you are young you believe you can do anything. Or at least that you can try, but as we get older we settle into our routines and draw lines. I am great at this- is on one side of the line and I’ll never be good at this- is on the other. So, no matter where you are in the process of trying it all or drawing lines here are some things I do to push myself and build my confidence muscles:
Try New Things and Commit to learning more about them-when I was younger I loved to try new things. My parents were always willing to let me explore. They would sign the permission slip or write the check but they rarely held me accountable, which meant I quit as many things as I tried. I still love to try new things, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that I am not going to be magically great at something as soon as I give it a try. I have to commit to doing whatever it takes to master my new project. I am all about taking classes and doing research. I don’t just show up one time. I keep showing up. It’s okay to say that something isn’t for you, but make sure you have given yourself every opportunity to at least master the basics before you give it up. That way even if you never become a pro you still have knowledge or a skill you didn’t have before.
Practice makes better– Okay, I know that isn’t grammatically correct but practice makes perfect might be an overstatement. When you make a commitment to practicing whatever new thing you are trying to become more confident at, you will get better. Sometimes it’s even more like the analogy of working out. You might not really see a big change but then suddenly you realize that you are able to do that one thing just a little longer or with a little less exertion than you could before. I remember the first time I crushed it on a elliptical. I couldn’t believe I’d lasted an hour and remembered that just a few months before, 10 minutes on that contraption was grueling.
The more you practice the better you will get. It’s inevitable. Now, I didn’t say you’d be perfect but perfection is overrated anyway and speaking of perfection..
Don’t take yourself or (whatever you are doing) so seriously-People like to throw around the term perfectionist like its a good thing. Perfectionists do everything right, right? Wrong!-True perfectionism can be debilitating. It can prevent you from doing anything at all because you are so afraid to make a mistake or have something not turn out perfectly. I am a pretty disciplined person and I take my work very seriously. I care about what I do in my day job and the work I do as a blogger and influencer, but at the end of the day I might make mistakes. This space right here is a perfect example. Blogs and typos go hand in hand but it doesn’t stop me from writing. What a shame it would be if no one ever tried anything for fear of it not being perfect. You don’t even want me to start in on my list of famous and talented people who were thought to have failed before hitting their stride. And speaking of not taking yourself so seriously here’s my next tip-
Do it for fun-this was the main thing I focused on when I was dating. I wrote a whole chapter on dating as a single mom in my book and I think what set me apart was that though I knew what I wanted I wasn’t afraid to date for fun, which simply meant I understood that everyone wasn’t supposed to be my husband. I could enjoy a meal or movie without thinking about walking down the aisle. This allowed me to take my time, become better and more confident at dating again, and find out what I really liked and didn’t like. I have seen my friends who hopped into serious relationships quickly head to divorce court more times than I can count. It is okay to date, paint, take pictures, write, or whatever you want to do, just for fun. Once you learn more about it you’ll know if its something you are passionate about.
Fake it till you make it– This might sound disingenuous but its not. Sometime you have to act as if, until you are there. Wear the suit even though you don’t have the management position yet, listen to the Ted talks, Youtube videos or read the books on running the business that still exists in your head. Give the speech you are dying to deliver in your bathroom mirror and visualize, visualize, visualize. Picture yourself doing whatever it is you wish to do with more confidence and one day you will!
That’s my advice for becoming more confident! I’m taking my own advice here to feel more confident during those big speaking gigs too. I’d love to hear what you are working on becoming more confident in. Feel free to share your tips too.
Until Next Post,