I’ve heard people say they want to be more confident, show more boldness…that they wish they had enough self-confidence to give a speech. And when I’m having these conversations, it almost always implied that self-confidence is inborn. Yet, it’s not. It’s a real skill that needs to be built. It’s similar to a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets…but how do you use self-confidence?
Here’s the funny thing, to gain confidence for doing anything, you actually need to do the thing first. Take for example, giving a speech. You give the speech first, then you gain the confidence to give more speeches. And more and more, until eventually you become this guru that everyone thinks is super confident, infallible and can speak in front of thousands of people at the drop of a hat. So the first step isn’t really confidence, it’s bravery, bravery to face your fears. Let me tell you a little story…
Brimming with confidence
It was the year 2013, I was the new girl in school having joined in the winter term at a mission all girls boarding school. I seemed posh, maybe a little snobbish, coming from a private school and full of sass that got me into trouble at my former school. There was an annual concert to be held the following term, but of course preparations for it started during 2nd term. The club responsible took their duties very seriously, after all, this concert was a pretty big deal even for us. We got to invite plenty of other schools, and of course, the boys’ schools too. Anyways, suffice to say, it was a pretty big deal. They wanted all sorts of talent for the concert…the seniors clamoured for these slots.
So there I was, the new girl…and I wanted in. Did I mention that I was in Form 1? Oh yeah, I was at the bottom of the rung, but at that time it never really occurred to me that I was younger, therefore should be timider. They had a call for auditions and brave little me responded. I wanted to model, I was determined to walk down that runway, (although I wasn’t concerned about winning the title.) And I did, I made it through the auditions. I don’t know why, but I did. I didn’t win the title of-course, but I surprised people. They couldn’t figure out where I got the audacity from. Fast forward to form 2, and I did it again (though I still didn’t win).
I vividly remember a particular conversation with a schoolmate, about confidence. She asked me how I did it, and I said you just have to be brave enough to try first, then the confidence will come each time you do the thing. She didn’t believe me, instead she said I was just naturally self-confident. She was wrong…self-confidence is a skill you build by doing the thing, processing feedback, then doing it again. That’s how you become confident in your own abilities; you know you’ve done it before, or that you have the capability to do it even for the first time; because you’ve done some amazing shit in the past.
How to build your confidence?
What’s the secret? Here’s the truth, there’s no real secret to building self-confidence. It’s a simple process really….at least the simplified version of it is.
Step 1: Be brave and face your fears
Step 2: Do the thing
Step 3: Evaluate, process feedback, improve
Step 4: Repeat
Now go forth and build that confidence! We always continously need to keep building and fortifying our self-confidence especially when we constantly venture into foreign waters.