What is Confidence?
In today's blog post, we're going to talk about what confidence is and how you can develop more of it.
But first - how can you tell if a person is confident? Is it by the way they look or how they dress or how they carry themselves? Is it someone that seems to know what they want out of life or has a "zero fucks given" attitude? If you look closely - not necessarily.
Society often leads us to see these external factors as indicators for us to determine whether someone is confident or not. However, the truth lies a bit deeper beyond the surface as it's possible for people to put up a facade - so that they don't feel inadequate or appear less vulnerable to others.
It's like a mask they wear to keep others at a distance, which gives them the illusion of safely, because it gives them the feeling that they have control over their environment.
The loudest person in the room isn't necessarily the most confident. True confidence is often a lot quieter. It's not a "no fucks given" attitude - because a confident person wouldn't feel the need to let others know that they indeed gave zero fucks.
A quote I recently came across online that I liked was: "Confidence is not bravado, or swagger, or an overt pretense of bravery. Confidence is quiet. Confidence is a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.” Dharmesh Shah, the co-founder of HubSpot
The most confident people I know are open and curious and deeply engaged with life. They're not afraid of change because they know they have the ability and capacity to adapt to all of life's possibilities - both the good and the bad. They recognize they can't ultimately control other people or the outcome of every single situation.
So we come to the conclusion that confidence - true confidence - is something that must come from within. It's about trusting who you are - what you stand for - and the skills and abilities you possess. To the point where there is a willingness, and dare I say, PASSION to be vulnerable and be seen for your authentic self.
A quote I recently came across online that I liked was: “Always be yourself and have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and try to duplicate it.” — Bruce Lee
So confidence that is based on factors outside of ourselves - or in our comparison to others - will never truly feel stable and secure.
Instead, it must be born of deeply knowing and accepting ourselves. This self-awareness and self-love comes from working through our insecurities and embracing all the different facets of our being. That is why we often find true confidence to be quiet and humble - because we have to be get quiet to be able to show up for this self-work. And the process is deeply humbling.
So now that we know more about what confidence is and what it looks like - how does one become this? How does one become more confident?
I believe it's NOT something we're born with. It's developed through facing adversity and falling on your butt but then getting back up over and over again. It's about stepping outside your comfort zone and being willing to fail. But at the same time also KNOWING that you will be able to get back up, learn from your mistakes, and try a different approach next time.
And in this way, building confidence takes practice. It's about consistently showing up and taking risks and doing things we're not comfortable with. Through time, we develop that deeper relationship with ourselves and greater self-awareness. Our comfort zone becomes bigger and bigger each time we stretch ourselves and continue to bring forward the highest version of ourselves.
When we do this, we're also building resiliency. We learn that failures are not actually failures. They're just learning experiences. And that we don't have to run away or quit whenever life presents us with challenges.
We just have to keep getting back up and try a different way. We can only become more resilient when we make it through a really tough experience and recognize, whether consciously or not, that we DID actually get through it! These experiences, while tough, ultimately serve to educate and empower us.
When we do this over and over again - when we consistently keep showing up for ourselves and stepping forward, we develop courage and an inner strength where we KNOW we can handle any situation that comes our way. For me, it's a feeling of "I've got this…or I'm going to die trying" haha :)
And in this way, through practice, we learn we don't have to be a victim to life and blame things outside of ourselves for our problems whenever we feel like quitting or running away. The "why me?" mentality or that life is happening TO us, rather than WITH us or FOR us - keeps us small and leads to self-criticism and judgment and will ultimately erode away at our self-confidence.
So here are 2 journaling prompts I want to share with you to help you build your confidence. I recommend making these a daily practice for at least 21 days - but definitely keep going if you find the practice helpful.
- The first journaling prompt is you want to write down all your small wins each day. It's easy to focus on what we didn't get done or what didn't happen that day. Instead, we want to count all of our little wins - because it's the little wins that we acknowledge and recognize that help us become more confident. This is especially important if we're starting something new - because when we're trying to learn something new or move our life in a new direction, it's normal not to feel very confident or good at whatever it is we're trying to do. Feeling uncertain about ourselves is just a very natural part of the growing process. But as we get more practice in by consistently taking action, we get better. And as we get better, we start noticing that we're getting better - and that helps build our confidence. It's important to note that sometimes we ARE going to fail. And it's easy to start feeling bad about ourselves. But what we want to do is take that failure and turn it into a win. What did we learn from the experience? How can we do better next time? Doing so will give us more confidence to keep going and show ourselves just how far we've come and how much we're already accomplished.
- The second journaling prompt is to write down all the times you chose courage over comfort that day. This is based on a concept others have shared with me from Brene Brown. A well-known quote of hers is: "We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can't have both. Not at the same time." Ask yourself - did I choose courage over comfort? Brave and confident over comfortable and easy? As we talked about earlier, being willing to consistently step outside our comfort zone and being willing to fail is what builds confidence. It's by consistently showing up and taking risks and doing things we're not comfortable with that helps build that confidence "muscle." As we push ourselves, we stretch the limiting beliefs that hold us back from realizing our highest potential. So write down every single tiny act of bravery you CHOSE in your day - and through time, through this gradual process, the more confident of a person you will become.
Big picture wise, these daily journaling exercises are about committing to personal growth and building your self-confidence. People who are confident don't boast about all the things they know. Rather they have an attitude of deep curiosity towards life. They're committed to doing the work and challenging themselves to bring the highest version of themselves forward.
And a big part of this is setting goals for ourselves. As we talked about earlier in this blog post, building confidence is a lot about stepping outside our comfort zones and being willing to take action and learn from our mistakes - over and over again. When we set goals for ourselves, we're giving ourselves something to look forward to and help build our confidence and our own abilities - and ultimately also our resilience.