Imagine a cartoon character standing at the edge of the river of life. As the frames progress, you see her still lingering on the riverbank while everyone else is jumping in. Each sketch shows others diving into school, relationships, and careers. But this particular little one, however, seems to be stalling, as she waits for something to happen before she takes the plunge.
What is she waiting for?
As you studied the cartoon, you'd likely realize that she is waiting for something to mysteriously overcome her that will make her feel better, surer or more capable. She is waiting for confidence. But if you look carefully at the other characters, you would see that they got that inner glow after they courageously took their leap. Their confidence grew after they acted like they could handle life.
Are you waiting?
Many of us are like that character in the cartoon. We wait to feel confidence before we do something.
Feeling comes AFTER action, not before.
The shift in the way you feel comes after you take action to illicit that feeling. Consider the following examples:
Act with confidence and you'll feel confident
Just as in the above examples, the feeling of confidence comes after acting with confidence. When you perform with confidence, such as by voicing your opinion at a meeting, you begin to feel more confident to do it more frequently in the future. However, the action comes first. To take that initial response often requires a level of courage. You gain that courage by first, knowing you can, increasing your competence. Then shifting your mindset to believing you can. When you've taken those first two steps, the courage to act comes easier.
My lack of confidence
I think back to when I started Toastmasters. I hated standing up at the beginning of each meeting to introduce myself. I fumbled over my words, said “um” a zillion times and raced as fast as I could to get it over. I was certainly not confident.
I acted with confidence and became confident
The change came over me when I acted as if I was speaking confidently. It was the weekly act of bravely rising and presenting myself to my peers that gave me the feeling of confidence. Each time I did it, I felt better about it. My confidence grew with bold action.
Acting with confidence requires leaving your comfort zone
To act like you can, you will need step outside of your comfort zone. That isn't always easy to do. The following 3 points will serve as reminders about why, despite how hard it might be, you still need to move outside of your comfort zone.
Act like you can
When you step outside of your comfort zone, your will feel more confident. That is going to allow you to do more and stretch further. Before you know it, you will be not only introducing yourself at staff meetings with more confidence, but you’ll be doing presentations with increased confidence as well.
Follow the first two confidence hacks: Know you can and believe you can. Then it's time to Act like you can do it, even if your nerves are frazzled and your inner voices suggests your crazy. Do it. The more often you do, the better you'll feel. The more confident you'll become.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.