Yesterday a Bloody Good Life client asked me – “How can I be more confident?” I get this question from my lovely clients all the time.
I used to be excruciatingly awkward and insecure in social situations, yet these days people generally see me as an outgoing, confident person. Social situations excite me rather than scare me now, mostly, and I really do feel genuinely confident most of the time. I’m sure of myself and my place in the world, and not much anyone says can knock my confidence for long these days. But my family and old friends could tell you an entirely different story about my pre-bloody-good-life self.
So how can we learn to be more confident?
When anyone asks me this, I ask them, how did you get good at anything? How did you learn to ride a bike?
You were scared to ride a bike. You definitely didn’t feel confident you could do it. But you wanted to badly. So you tried. And you fell. And then you tried again. And once you’d tried and failed enough times, you finally succeeded. And THEN you felt confident riding a bike.
You took the action repeatedly, and eventually you felt more confident.
Feelings don’t come first, actions do. Confident people don’t not feel fear. They feel the fear and do it anyway. Just like we all used to do as kids. Confident people start out unconfident, they try and fail and try and fail until they reach a level of skill that they feel good about. Only after repeated action do they become confident in that area of their life. They might not be so confident in a knitting competition, I certainly wouldn’t be.
Facing your fears and keeping on anyway is the ONLY way to create change in your life.
Otherwise you’ll be confined to your comfort zone forever.
The only thing that made me confident was repeatedly throwing myself into social situations that scared the bejaysus out of me (I did this by backpacking solo and by going to many social events by myself when I first moved to Melbourne. And by going on lots of Tinder dates to practice the art of dating). I was scared shitless the first few times I did any of those things. But with time they became easier, and with more time, they became fun.
The tools that allowed me to face my fears and calm myself down when everything in me was screaming “RUN!!” are the mindfulness-based tools that I now teach in
Bloody Good Life 101.
You will never “feel” confident at something until you’ve done it over and over and mastered it.
If you continue waiting to feel confident before you act, you’ll be waiting forever.
So here’s my insider tip for living a Bloody Good Life:
- Stop waiting to feel ready, feel un-ready and act anyway.
- Stop waiting to feel confident, feel unconfident and act anyway.
- Stop waiting to feel motivated, feel unmotivated and act anyway.
Most of us are the spectators in the crowd of our own life yelling “kick the f#king ball!” to ourselves, but we’re not actually running onto the field and kicking it, because we’re worried we might f it up.
And we might, but we’ll never improve at kicking the ball if we never even try to kick it.
How do rugby players get good at rugby? Do they get good by thinking about it? By waiting to feel good at it?
No, they just run on the field and play. They fail and they win, again and again, until they fail less and win more.
If we want to win at life, we’ve got to get in the game.
(PS – elite sports players don’t do it alone and neither should you. If you’re struggling to push yourself to do the things you know you want to do, get yourself a coach).
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