I wanted to sit down and write some pearls of wisdom about confidence. So I sat down and stared at the screen for what seemed like ages. I wrote some stuff and then deleted it. I wrote about other stuff. Then I did other stuff. Facebook had some interesting articles. I needed to connect with new people on Linkedin. Then I had a lightbulb moment. I was feeling under confident about writing about confidence. I was doubting myself. I was not trusting in my own ability and my own voice. I was hearing the voice of my critic and imagining negative responses before I had even given myself a chance.
So, as is quite often a human condition, I am taking a look at confidence from the negative premise of under confidence and fear. I want to really look at that fear though. What is it when fear gets in the way of confidence? Is it possible to be confident and fearful?
I looked up our thesaurus (the one we all share online) and it threw up some antonyms – opposites – to look at: afraid; cowardly; depressed; doubtful; fearful; indefinite; meek; pessimistic; sad; shy; timid; uncertain; unsure; weak. Fearful was there as is afraid, so yes it would seem that fear is thought of as an opposite of confidence. Then, as is my want, I looked up fear. What struck me was the word TRUST.
Trust forms part of a definition of confidence as much as it is an antonym for fear.
For me trust is the real key in understanding and embracing my confident self. Trust is so often used in a sense of me to another. I trust you to repay the debt, or to look after my children, or to let myself be seen by you. How is that relationship changed when it becomes a matter of self-confidence, or when the trust that is on the line is a trust in myself?
As we age and mature there are certain things that become potential scenarios for how the relationship develops with ourselves and how that manifests in our confidence to be in the world.
A series of small successes can allow a more positive attitude and instil more confidence in my abilities. A series of small failures can undermine that confidence and create a vacuum. So there must be a role for resilience.
I believe the key to resilience is knowing where to put your attention. If you are constantly listening to that voice in your head that is talking you down, telling you that its not possible and not worth it, that its too risky and that you are never good enough anyway so why would you try, then chances are you will begin to believe these things.
Confidence blossoms when we begin to put our attention on what is working, and listening to the coach rather than the critic.