Is fear or a lack of courage keeping you from doing the things you really want to do in life? Do you feel the only barrier between your dreams and goals is a lack of poise? What would you do if you had more confidence in yourself and your abilities?
If you are like me, there must have been times where you felt that a lack of confidence was holding you back from living up to your true potential. Or when reaching for your greatest goals and dreams in life, you’ve experienced fear and doubt as to whether you really have what it takes.
Often when we see people who are accomplishing their goals or realizing the ideas we want to realize, we think they possess great courage and confidence. We think it’s something they were born with. Or that they have “it” in them. And on the flip side, we’re not sure if we have “it” in us. Whether we have what it takes to conquer our deepest fears and the courage and stamina to accomplish our goals.
Well, bear in mind, you do have “it” in you. We all have “it” and yes, we were born with “it”.
Confidence and courage are not magic. They are skills that all of us possess and skills that we can build and develop and learn to use more often.
I like to compare skills to muscles. You just have to choose to exercise your courage and confidence and build your muscles. The only difference between you and that person who you feel has an abundance of courage and confidence, is that they chose to use their skills.
Before we jump in, let me share my definitions of courage and confidence.
Courage vs Confidence
Courage is your ability to face situations head on. Your ability to make decisions and hold to those decisions even in the face of fear. Courage is about what you do, not about how you feel. Courage is what allows you to act, despite your fears.
Confidence is an opinion that you hold about yourself. It is your belief that you are able to do something, a belief in your personal skill set or ability. Confidence can often be an outcome of courage. And confidence in yourself can also affect your self-esteem, how you feel about yourself, your self-worth and your value.
Everyone has fears
There are so many variables that shape the view we have of ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, faith and belief in ourselves, how we were raised, our environments, our personalities and even our past experiences and what we consider success and failure. All of these things (and so many others) can play a role in how we feel about ourselves.
I wish I could tell you that I’m a courageous and fearless person who is never worried or scared, but I’m not. I have fears just like you and everyone else. What I can say is that I am a person who does some pretty scary things even when I am afraid, or unsure, and even a bit terrified while I’m doing them. And that is what courage is all about. It’s making moves even in the face of fear.
Don’t hold back
Confidence can be a funny thing. Sometimes when we see a person exhibit a powerful level of confidence, we say that person is being arrogant or full of themselves. And with that viewpoint, we tend to hold back on our own level of confidence. We don’t want others to say those things about us. We don’t want people to think that we are arrogant or, as one of my mentors used to say, “stuck on yo-self.”
So, we hold back, and “holding back” can become a pattern in our lives. That pattern causes us to avoid using that confidence muscle, and like any other muscle that we don’t use, it begins to dwindle.
I’ve learned a few lessons early in my life that have shaped both my courage and my self-confidence. I’ve had life experiences that have pushed me to exercise both of these muscles, even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to or even that I could.
So, I want to share three ways that I build my courage and confidence.
#1 Be prepared
“If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.” – Sugar Free
This is one of my favorite quotes. What it means to me is, if you stay prepared for what you want, (your dreams, goals, plans) when opportunities arise you are more than ready to receive and act upon them.
Let’s keep it real, it’s hard to be confident in yourself, your skillset or your abilities if you don’t know how to do something or if you don’t think you’ll do well at something. Empower yourself with knowledge and education.
One of the reasons I read and study so much is because I want to be prepared when an opportunity comes my way. And while you don’t have to know how to do everything, you should take the time to learn and study your craft, or the craft that you would like to pursue, and learn what you need to know.
There is a great deal of confidence in knowing that you know, what you need to know! The first time I spoke on a professional stage with my mentor, Les Brown, I was not scheduled to speak. In fact, I was driving to an event in Indianapolis on the day of his event, and he called me onto the stage to speak to a group of entrepreneurs about the power of personal branding.
Was I scared? Absolutely! My knees were shaking. I had never spoken to an audience that big, but I had the courage to do it anyway. I knew my craft and I knew what I was talking about, and that day I executed on the fly. Now imagine what that did for my confidence in my personal abilities.
#2 Practice, practice, practice
I never liked the saying that practice makes perfect because I feel there are far too many people who only focus on trying to be perfect. Even when we practice, we can make mistakes or have off days. Practice is not about perfection, but it gives you the courage to play over and over again, to get in the game, to do your best and give it your all every time.
Practice allows you to hone your skills and to become more confident in your execution. It also builds your confidence in your ability to get results and shows you what you are capable of. As you become more skilled and begin to see results, you become more confident in your abilities.
#3 Take action
Do the things that scare you, especially when you fear them. We spend a lot of time searching for ways to overcome fear instead of taking action and seizing opportunities in the presence of fear. If you are prepared, and continually practice and improve, you are ready to take action and get out there. Have the courage to get started or the courage to fail and try again.
When we see traction, accomplishment, and movement in our lives, it builds our confidence in our abilities. When we accomplish goals, it gives us the courage and confidence to get out of our comfort zone and to try other things and venture into new territory.
So, remember, true courage is not the absence of fear, but it’s the willingness to proceed in spite of fear. And confidence is your faith or certainty in your ability to do something. You have them both! But you’ll have to develop them the old-fashioned way: by working on them and building up your muscles.
I hope that you got something that you can use to make some positive change in your life. If you enjoyed, please be sure to like it and comment below and share it with others. Let me know how you put this information to work for you.
Also, let me know if there is a specific topic you would like for me to cover. I love getting your feedback and suggestions.
Remember, with the right Balance, Support, Determination and Action, every dream is possible. Your Dream is possible!
I would love to hear from you. Comment below to let me know how you put these strategies to use in your life.
Follow for more advice, tips, and strategies on social media: