Confidence for Scaredy Cats (Like Me)

Is lack of self-confidence the one big obstacle blocking you from doing what you love?

When I first met Marty, he longed to pursue a career he’d really love. He wanted a job with meaning and that felt purposeful. He knew having such a job and career would transform his life. He wanted it so intensely. When I asked him what prevented him from getting that, he said, “I just don’t have the self-confidence I need. How do I get that?”

My answer is this: confidence comes after you take action, not before. If you want confidence to do these things, you need take steps to get them. Marty had allowed his fears and lack of confidence in his skills and abilities to prevent him from taking action of any kind. They kept him stuck, and he wanted to be free of them.

Marty was skeptical that the answer was to take action. He was sure the way out was to make the fear go away, or wait for his confidence to build. He accused me of being too confident to understand what he was dealing with.

That’s when I shared with Marty my big secret: I am a Scaredy Cat at heart.

It’s true. Fear and worry were my constant companions. I realized this years ago. I was frustrated that others were having experiences and enjoying life in a way that I felt so far from. I had career goals, and life dreams, and I wasn’t going after any of them. Then I stumbled upon a copy of the book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. The title sums up the lesson I learned. If I was going to have the career and life I wanted, I’d have to take action even if I was scared. I decided right then I wasn’t about to let my fearful nature derail me from having the life I wanted.

So I began to practice, by taking one small risk per day. I started by talking to strangers on the street, or saying good morning to the CEO of the company. I would ask a coworker I barely knew to lunch. I also took classes in things that interested me. As long as it scared me (and wasn’t physically dangerous), it counted. Over time, I got comfortable with the feeling of fear.

Today, I view fear and worry as my friend. It’s simply the way I operate (though sometimes my friends or coach have to remind me). When I embark on a new adventure, I only get concerned if I’m not fearful. Today, others view me as confident, and some even see me as fearless. I am not fearless, I assure you. But I am confident. That confidence came from taking action and facing the fear.

So, if you are waiting for the fear to go away, and looking to build your confidence, my advice to you is that of Susan Jeffers, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!Take small, consistent actions, toward what you want, and your confidence will grow.

What are you letting fear and insecurity keep you from today? Would you share that with me on my blog?

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