If you’ve been following this blog for even a short time (or ever read a single article), you probably know the goal of my work with this community: to improve our lives through the development of ultimate confidence!
Now, that can mean a lot of things for a lot of different people: some want to develop social skills; some want to become more bold at work; some want to date without feeling self-conscious; some want to break down barriers and let their authentic selves shine through.
No matter what your goals are, you have the ability to achieve them . . . and I’m here to help you do just that.
With that in mind, one thing that every person in this community can use more of is unstoppable confidence and comfortability when taking the bold actions that will change their lives!
But how do we get to that place of unstoppable confidence and comfortability?
Step One – Do it Scared
Let me start by ruining the suspense: there are three steps to this exercise . . . and most of us want to just skip ahead to the third step. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
Step one, in this case, involves no comfort whatsoever: step one is to dive right in and DO the thing that you want to do, whether you’re scared or not.
One of the most common goals amongst my clients is to become more comfortable contributing in groups, both in social and professional situations. They’re psyched up, they’re motivated, and they’re ready to dive in, but once they hear that they have to start by facing down their discomfort, they lose their nerve.
In order to reach a place anxiety doesn’t hold us back, we have to be willing to stumble, face awkwardness, and experience uncertainty.
This is something that I teach in my Confidence University program all the time: gradual exposure.
Gradual exposure is what we use when we need to work up to that thing that is just too far outside our comfort zone to comprehend.
– I can’t speak up at that big meeting—I’ll clam up!
– I can’t tell a joke at that huge party—I’ll make a fool of myself!
– I can’t give a speech at the conference—I’ll get stage fright!
Sure, each of these scenarios can be pretty intimidating, especially if you’ve never done them before—but you can work up to it!
Think of it this way: what’s the smallest action you can take right now in service of that ultimate destination? Maybe it’s to express your ideas to just a couple colleagues; maybe it’s to tell a joke to a friend; maybe it’s to recite a memorized passage (e.g.: the pledge of allegiance) in front of your family.
Every little step helps, so get creative!
As you continue to make these small steps—yes, you may have to repeat them more than a few times—the fear will begin to dissipate, and you’ll feel emboldened to move onto more impactful actions.
If that seems like too much for you to take on right now, then you should consider taking the leap and signing up for Confidence University or one of my many other events or group programs. There are so many ways in which I can offer you guidance and support through these problems . . . so don’t think that you are doomed to remain stuck where you are!
When you let yourself wallow in discontentment, refusing to take even the first step in overcoming an obstacle, then your life grinds to a halt.
If you want to look back a month, six months, or even a year from now and see progress, then the time to act is NOW.
Step Two – Make it Consistent
The key to solidifying step one and working toward a place of comfort is consistency.
Many people will do great work in step one—they’ll take a bold action and work through their discomfort—but then they’ll just stop at that one achievement.
Whether that first attempt at bold action is complete garbage or the greatest moment of your life, you have to do it again and again.
Are you scared to take more action because your action caused you embarrassment? Too bad. Are you anxious to move past this phase because you were successful ONCE and you think you don’t need to push yourself and risk failure anymore? That’s not how it works.
The goal here is twofold: to uproot your old habits of avoidance and to rewire your brain into seeing the action itself as a victory (whether it’s successful or not).
If you only ever repeated the actions that led to success every single time, then you’d never take action again!
Regardless of the outcome, you need to start seeing these small steps toward your ultimate goal as significant achievements—simply doing them should become the payoff.
If you can get to the point where you’re taking small but bold actions on a consistent basis, then you will begin to change the stories in your mind that say you’re not good enough; you’ll start to upgrade your identity; you’ll start to see new possibilities for yourself, and you’ll start to see the results you want.
Step Three – Find Comfort in Bold Actions
Working your way from consistent everyday action to comfortable and confident bold action can be an adjustment, and it takes two things: massive external repetition and deep inner work.
Regardless of your ultimate goal, the key to achieving comfort with it is doing it again and again.
In order to rewire old patterns of thought and behavior so that you can adopt a new mindset, you need to make those new thoughts and behaviors a way of life.
It’s not just about taking bold action every day—it’s also about doing the personal mental work that will allow you to get control over your fear and anxiety.
Here’s the reality, folks: you will never erase fear and nervousness from your life entirely. It’s just not how we’re built.
The goal here isn’t to erase them—it’s to overcome them on a consistent basis so that it becomes easy . . . so that you know down to your core that they will never stop you from going after what you want again.
Let’s take me, for example, I’ve been working for decades to develop my confidence and overcome the mental obstacles that hold me back in life. Do I expect that I won’t feel any anxiety when I’m about to go into a live event with hundreds of people? NO! I absolutely know that I’m going to experience nerves and question myself—but I also absolutely know that neither of those mental blocks will stop me from going through with the actions I need to take to achieve happiness in life.
The truth is that there are many life events that cause me to feel nervous . . . but then, once I’ve taken the action—when I’m up coaching a live event, for example—I feel amazing! I feel bold and confident and satisfied, and I’m enjoying myself with every fiber of my being.
That is the goal of step three: not to erase fear and self-doubt—but to act in the face of it and feel good about it anyway!
I can’t promise you that you will feel nothing in life. And would you really want to make that your goal, in the first place? Sometimes that twinge of nerves is there to give you the fuel you need to perform at your best; sometimes it’s there to provide energy and excitement; sometimes it’s there to give you an understanding of the significance of the occasion.
Without emotions, you’d never truly feel alive—life would be boring.
There can be no good without the bad. If you truly want to experience happiness and fulfillment, then you’re going to have to experience sadness and disappointment in at least some small measure at some point in your life.
That’s what step three is all about: getting you to that place of acceptance in which you know that failure, disappointment, fear, and anxiety are not the end of the world. You cannot accomplish that goal until you learn to address what’s going on inside.
When you take bold action, check in with yourself: Did that go well? How do I feel? What did I learn from this, and how can I use it to grow toward confidence?
If any part of this feels outside your reach, then check out my newest book, On My Own Side, which is all about valuing yourself and learning to get comfortable with taking those bold actions in the world. You can also click on the link below to access my free online community, Confidence Warriors, and join a group of likeminded individuals who are seeking increased growth and connection.
As always, I ask that you share your thoughts and questions in the comments below! How are these three steps serving you? What challenges are you facing? What techniques are working well for you? Let’s continue to support each other in our growth as we work toward ultimate confidence!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.