Why am I writing a blog about confidence?
I mentioned in my first post that confidence is something I am interested in and I am wanting to grow my confidence. But why do I have this curiosity and desire for it?
Growing up I have felt that I am not a confident person. I have often felt ‘less than’, incapable and intimidated by people and situations. There has been an underlying feeling of discomfort and being exposed. However, the times I have mentioned to others that I feel I am not confident and want to work on it I have often received responses of ‘you don’t strike me as being unconfident’ or ‘really, I would have never thought that about you’. These reactions have then surprised me, as on top of feeling unconfident, I always felt that it was apparent to everyone else, compounding the feelings of unease and inadequacy.
As a kid I would often write goals and spend time thinking about the future and how it could be better. I was very much a dreamer. It was not so much about my physical environment that I felt needed improvement. Rather it was about my own potential for success. I feel I changed somewhere along the way as I lost sight of my natural optimism and belief in myself. I don’t believe there was any particular event that created the situation I am in now – of feeling I need to improve my confidence. It was more of a gradual decline and scaling back of what my potential could be.
Now as a thirty-something I feel it is about time I approach this issue head-on and actively work towards improving my self-confidence. It is a case of, if not now, then when? The young dreamer in me is crying out for this, and I am finally listening to her.
What is confidence anyway?
My own definition of confidence means having self-belief in our abilities and potential. It is less fear, not necessarily being fearless, but definitely feeling less fear. Confidence is having more freedom to think, act and do in line with our true selves, without feeling a need to hide or diminish our light and our worth.
This is my definition at this point in time. I am open to the idea that my thoughts about confidence will change over time as I pay more attention to it, learn more about it, and experience more confidence in my life.
An observation from my reflection on ‘why confidence’ above, is that confidence is an internal concept. It doesn’t matter if other people see me as being confident – that is their perception and belief only, it cannot change how I feel and think inside. While we may be considered by others as being smart, with lots of ideas, able to present those ideas and deal with challenges, this is only the external reception of our actions and behaviour. Confidence, or lack of, is felt internally. We know how we feel about ourselves at any given moment, in any situation. This is what is true for us.
How am I improving my confidence?
Firstly, by writing this blog. This is going to keep me focused and accountable. Because I am putting something out there, I feel a stronger connection to the outcome. I want to see myself succeed in this task, so I need to set up the right conditions for me to achieve. I know in myself that I am more driven by external, than internal, accountability. This means I am more willing to commit and follow through when I have something outside of myself to demonstrate my contribution. Writing a blog about confidence is a great way for me to work on my own confidence.
In addition, by regularly writing about confidence, I will have more attention to the subject. By having confidence as a topic front of mind, I know that I will be open to observing and learning more about it. In turn, I believe I will then be more aware of my own actions and how confident I am feeling. By having this increased focus, I will be able to practice and experiment more. The more we practice the better we become. I am really looking forward to this.
I’m also learning and researching more about confidence and how to grow it. I am willing to try new things and experiment, then reflect on whether it has made a difference to my confidence and approach. Again, it is this increased focus and awareness, combined with action, will enable to me build my toolkit of tips and tricks that I can apply in my daily interactions.
How will I know when I get there?
With goal setting we can be very prescriptive about what we are setting out to achieve. For example, we can have ‘SMART’ goals, goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. I just don’t feel that a SMART goal applies in this situation. Because I believe confidence is more about a feeling and a way of behaving, I find it hard to apply specificity to the outcome.
Instead I will visualise how I will feel and know that I am confident.
At work we often are asked ‘what does success look like?’ when we put forward an idea or work on a project. I usually cringe a little inside when I am asked this question as I find it irks me. I think why I get irritated by this question is because of my issues with confidence. I have underlying fears about my ability, and so I prefer not to vocalise and publicly commit to certain outcomes, because what if I don’t hit the mark or achieve the desired outcome?
It is amusing to me that this question ‘what does success look like?’ is now relevant to my current situation.
So, what is the answer? What am I working towards?
I see me being more confident as someone who is actively pursuing their goals, less hesitation, more commitment and drive. Internally it is feeling more calm and assured of my actions and reactions in different environments.
It is a feeling that I can still be a dreamer, and the bright and optimistic outlook I have for my own life is within the realms of what is possible because I make it happen.
What does confidence look like for you?