I can be real with you, right?
I felt a little like an imposter when I first started writing this piece about self-confidence. Two seconds after I signed up to write it, the thought “Hmm, I’m probably not the right girl for the job…” entered my mind. Here’s why:
To start, I have a history of caving into the bully voice far too often. Is there a similar voice you hear when a new opportunity arises? For me, it’s the one that tells me I’m disqualified, defective, and not enough. When I’ve listened to it in the past, I’ve ended up missing out on some pretty spectacular opportunities.
Furthermore, I am a SAHM who—probably on a daily basis—doubts if I’m truly cut out to be a mom despite the fact I’ve been in the trenches of motherhood for over nine years now. I have degrees I’m not currently using, dreams that appear unobtainable, and my voice sometimes shakes when I speak in front of a group.
Over the last few days, my thoughts and emotions have manifested themselves into inaction, disarray, and inertia. I’ve procrastinated, over-analyzed, and debased myself by naming all the reasons why I simply should not be the one to write about self-confidence.
Pretty ironic, right?
How to Create Self-Confidence
But, now that you’ve entered in to part of my inner landscape (and can maybe even relate a bit), perhaps you will see that the sheer act of writing this article is part of building self-confidence because I am doing the opposite of what my thoughts and emotions were telling me to do.
I’m unaware of any formulaic system for growing confidence levels off the charts instantaneously. If there was a magic pill that spawned such progress overnight, I would have popped a bottle into my mouth years ago. Instead, what I can offer you is a slightly understated, yet significant truth based on what I’ve learned in my confidence journey over the years:
Our self-confidence is created, strengthened, and grown by stepping out and doing.
Sometimes, doing is taking one baby step out of our comfort zones.
Other times, it’s by jumping off the proverbial cliff with arms outstretched, trusting we’ll be caught along the way.
And many times, doing looks like somewhere in between the two.
You Will Experience Self-Discovery in Your Doing
Even the most confident of all women have areas of their lives that leave them feeling shaky and unsure of themselves. We doubt our abilities. We second-guess our choices. We over-plan for worst-case scenarios. We stagnate because it’s comfortable. We sabotage our futures unknowingly. We participate in negative self-talk or focus on the lack of success, talents, time, resources, education, or provision.
For some of us, it can take a fair amount of soul searching to discover why those messages are our default landing zones in the first place. Yet, an effective and sure way to begin dismantling toxic messages is by stepping forward and doing whatever it is that the fear, lack, shame, procrastination, or bully voice is telling you you cannot do.
The act of doing inches you out of your comfort zone, especially when your emotions and thoughts seem to form an alliance of paralysis. Doing is the ingredient that enables you to create a deeper sense of who you are at your core and who you were created to be. Doing ignites confidence.
A few years back, I worked as an assistant to a university professor who tasked me with planning all the logistics for a two-week trip to India with a dozen upperclassmen. I corresponded with all the business leaders, government officials, journalists, and other personnel we’d be meeting during our time in the country. I took care of all the travel details and arrangements for our group. But, I lacked confidence and worried I wouldn’t be able to execute my job well for several legit reasons: I had never stepped foot in India before; at the time, I was a nervous flyer so dreaded the thought of 17 hours in the air; crowded places weren’t my favorite setting (why hello, over a billion people); and I have unusual food allergies that require hospitalization and IV fluids pronto.
An effective and sure way to begin dismantling toxic messages is by stepping forward and doing whatever it is that the fear, lack, shame, procrastination, or bully voice is telling you you cannot do.
So maybe on paper, I wasn’t the right girl for the job, but I poured myself into it anyway. I researched social norms and appropriate attire. I learned about the culture by reading books, spending time with people from India, and peppered them with questions about their country. Even though plausible worst-case scenarios still attempted to evade my mind, I prepared as much as I could for an unforgettable trip.
Two days into our trip—with every sense awakened by the intoxicating smells, sights, and sounds—I felt more alive than I had in years. I felt secure, free, self-assured, and open to the adventure that was before me. I couldn’t have experienced what I did during those two weeks had I not taken small steps out of my comfort zone.
Keep Moving Forward, but Look Back for Encouragement
It’s not just the proverbial jumps off the cliff that matter—more often, it’s the small acts that build-up to the big. A solid way to create a greater sense of self-confidence is by keeping a list of your accomplishments, the talents and gifts you see in yourself, and all the times you were scared to do something but you went ahead and did it anyway. Maybe your list includes things like changing careers, going back to school, traveling somewhere new, caring for young ones, cleaning up your diet, completing a monotonous task, speaking a kind word, nurturing your mental health, or quitting harmful habits.
Write down the ways you’ve seen yourself change and transform over the years. Remember all of the moments you played it safe, or took too many risks, or let someone else try to tell you who you were, or when you listened to your intuition and grew your confidence—all of it is part of becoming the woman you are today. Nothing on your list is unimpressive or insignificant because the woman you are today is a growing and evolving being.
She’s in there, that part of you that stands tall, firm in her convictions and beliefs, secure in who she was created to be. The more you step out and do, the more you’ll see the confident woman you truly are.
Don’t miss Rachel talking about confidence in this video:
Looking for ways to build your confidence? Check out this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Step Into Your Confidence Now – 108