How Has Confidence Changed Your Life?

One guy I worked with is gigging his way around the US, something he always dreamed of in his teens and early 20’s in suburban London, but he never had the guts to go and do it until recently.

One woman has decided to step away from the pressure to conform to a safe, middle-class life that her family and peers were applying, and continues to explore her life with sparks of vigour, curiosity and playfulness.

And I smiled from ear to ear on receiving an email just the other day from a woman who’s been grappling with her identity, that read, “Things are starting to fall into place and I’m starting to realize how mighty I can be.

I can say without any shadow of doubt that confidence has changed my life too.

It might even have saved it.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

Confidence has 2 kinds of influence in your life:

  1. A quiet knowing. The sense that you’ll be okay, no matter what happens, freeing you up to choose what you do and how you do it.
  2. A burst of courage. The deep breath before a leap, bounding over the gap between what’s known and what’s unknown.

Both of these influences gift you with the capacity to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour—you go and do stuff because it matters to you—that can manifest quietly and gracefully, as well as those moments when you see how universe-dentingly mighty you can be.

Self-doubt, fear and second-guessing still hover around in your head, but it’s the self-trust that comes with natural confidence that allows you see those things and still make a choice that serves you well.

Natural confidence is cooler and more exciting than sky diving with Samuel L. Jackson, so I want to hear your story.

I want to hear how confidence has changed your life.

I want to hear how you hope it could change your life in the future.

I want to hear what you might do with a shit-load more confidence.

So, put on your comment bonnet (don’t tell me I’m the only one who has one of those?) and let rip.

  • So – I’ve been thinking about this confidence issue since I posted a comment yesterday.
    A few years ago I started teaching (first aid/cpr) – I’d been unemployed for a few years prior (which carries with it a lot of shaming/judgement), and was dealing with the end of a relationship, and processing grief after my dad had died after a sudden illness. In short, I was in a bad space emotionally. As a woman who has struggled with weight/positive self image all my life, I also had a fear of judgement re body size. So, getting up in front of a class was quite scary. I quickly realized, though, that the stuff I was self-conscious about, other people don’t notice. Or, maybe they notice, but as soon as I started teaching (talking :D), they didn’t care anymore. After every class, students fill out a course evaluation, and the amount of positive feedback I got really helped to build my self-confidence. So, it was through teaching that I started to value all the things I took for granted (i.e. the ability to teach, patience, humour, etc) and started to value myself – and that increased my confidence.
    I often think about confidence: what is it? how do we get it? – i.e. I don’t really think of myself as a confident person, but I know that most people don’t see that at all. In fact, I’ve gotten comments that say they love my confidence. But – acting the part (as you have to to stand up in front of an ‘audience’) doesn’t ‘make it so’. It helps, but (in my experience) it hasn’t taken away that little voice that says ‘they don’t really see me, if they would, they’d see I’m a fraud’.
    I think we derive confidence from different aspects of ourselves. I’m smart and (reasonably) articulate – that makes me feel confident. I’m funny and engaging/charismatic, and can (almost) always win over people. That gives me a feeling of confidence. I’m tall (Dutch) – it gives me a sense of solidness/‘being’ in the world – that brings confidence too. I think we also gain confidence from past experiences: I believe that ‘the universe’ always supports me/provides for me – that things always work out in the end (and my experiences support that belief (and vice versa)). That also contributes to confidence.
    And yet ……… and yet, there’s a part of me that doesn’t feel confident at all. I over-analyze things I’ve said, things I do …. & doubt myself? sure. Often. So – with all these things (I’ve listed) that bring me a feeling of confidence, why do I feel so un-confident?
    All of this to say: I don’t believe confidence is just believing in yourself. I think confidence stems a lot from self-worth – and self-worth is multi-faceted. And, maybe confidence is just like any other emotion – it waxes and wanes like the cycles of the moon . Maybe the task, in part, is that we shouldn’t get too attached to our ‘states’, especially when we feel a lack of confidence, because that starts to feed on itself & can soon devolve into a negative cycle/pattern.
    (Do I write/talk too much? … ahh …. self-doubt). 😀

  • Thanks so much all of you! Great thoughts and energy, and I love the direction you’re all heading in.

    I was going to give away 3 spots, but to hell with it.

    It’s a week before Christmas, so you each get a free spot on the course. Congratulations!

  • A shit-load more confidence would hopefully let me start a web site/blog which would lead to making some dollars. It would help me to not be so easily swayed by the opinions of others even when I know what is best for me. It would help me be able to stand up in my introvertedness despite so many extrovert types giving well meaning advice. To be able to do and persist in spite of the naysayers. To be OK with myself and know that I really am worthy and quite capable of contributing in many ways. That I’m not weird for seeing the world the way I do or liking the things I do. I could go on with examples but probably not necessary.

    Anyway, I find your blog exceedingly useful Steve. Thanks for being there. I wish I had found you sooner.

  • I would improve my social life (get more friends, find more “my kind of people”) , I would second-guess less , I would stop caring and thinking about what others think of me (both negative and positive stuff)

  • Confidence allowed me to find my husband, get a promotion, and have a beautiful daughter! As someone who always second-guessed and overanalyzed I found myself ripped down to the core with some life events. In building back up I forgot all about that self-doubt and out of my usual character, living with full confidence. Unfortunately over a few years that second guessing has creeped back in. Time to get rid of it for good!!

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