One reader recently asked me a question that kind of put me on the spot. I felt I did not have a single template for her (or anyone else) to follow that would provide her with the ultimate answer she was looking for.
Diana Lopez’s question:
I love painting portraits of people, places and sceneries. I want to take my passion to another level but, I’m just too intimidated to put myself out there. I’ve met so many great painters and attended numerous seminars and expeditions. I always end up feeling that maybe my work isn’t good enough and no one will be interested. If only I could be sure it would work out, I’d be more confident. So, how can I be sure?”
Great question, Diana. You are not alone in feeling this way. So, for all the Diana’s out there:
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all knew the outcomes of the things we set out to do?
To be honest, I don’t know how anything will work out for anyone, not even for myself. Had I known, believe me, I would have made this change in my life years ago! Quite frankly, I don’t know of anyone who has taken risks and made a life change that were confident because they knew exactly how things would work out. Even the most confident, courageous and successful people I know made mistakes, faced rejections and encountered many setbacks before achieving their goals.
I know, this probably doesn’t help anyone who’s trying to build confidence, right? I mean, the last thing you probably want to hear is how someone else had the confidence to succeed. I felt the same way too and thought, “Bravo for them! Now, what about me? How’s this suppose to give me the super confident powers I need to pursue my goal?”
So, why am I telling you this?
In hopes of making you aware that your thoughts are coming from a place of comparison. Like me, you’re comparing your current situation (uncertainty) to their current situation (success). But, we don’t realize that any success story all began from a point of uncertainty. From that point, there was a journey that involved challenges (mistakes, rejections, setbacks, learning new skills, etc.).
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that no matter how many workshops and seminars I attended or, no matter how many books I read,
The only real way to gain the confidence and courage I needed to get started was to get started.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I learned so much from attending workshops, seminars and from people’s experiences. Actually, I still enjoy learning and will be a student for life. Although I had all this baggage of information, I was still afraid of not knowing how it would end.
It came down to two choices:
- Embark on my journey, explore and find out for myself. Or,
- Stay in the same place and keep doing what I was doing (that scared me more than taking the risk!)
The only way I would gain confidence and courage was by accepting my fear (instead of ignoring it by making excuses) and doing it anyway. By taking my baggage of information and transforming it into a higher, more powerful source of knowledge: Experience!
I can’t tell you how it will turn out for you but here are three things that have helped me.
One thing was for sure, I did not want to look back one day and say, “What if I had tried it?” Or, “I regret not doing it.” So, my fear of the unknown turned into curiosity of the unknown. This is when my world began to change. I was curious about the journey and no longer placed my full attention on wanting to know how it would all turn out (I still don’t know:)). If I made a mistake, if I got a rejection, if I faced a setback, it was like trying to put pieces of a puzzle together.
Remember your own past experiences where your curiosity made you discover and experience things that were exciting and fun? Curiosity has a way of shifting our fearful thoughts of “what if so and so happens”, into wondrous thoughts of “what if I try this.”
You’re exactly where you need to be! I’ll repeat.
You’re exactly where you need to be!
Don’t compare your current situation to someone else’s achievement and success. In doing so, you create a false self image of perfection of yourself. Use them as a source of inspiration and information and transform it into your own personal experience. They did not encounter the same situations or circumstances and did not meet the same people or have the same relationships as you. They don’t carry your joys, your fears, your passions, and your dislikes. Don’t dismiss the strengths you already possess by comparing yourself to others. Everything you’ve lived and experienced is your own personal, unique, valuable baggage that no one else has. Start from where you are now. Want your present moment, not someone else’s end result. You may need to prepare, practice and learn new things, this will all be a part of your own journey to build confidence, acquire knowledge and making it happen.
Really, Really Want It
With any change comes a guaranteed journey of facing challenges.
Making the decision to step out and create a change in your life can be pretty scary.
So, it really all comes down to one very important, crucial question: How badly do you want it?
When you want something bad enough, the effort in facing the challenges becomes all worth it! You’ll experience some painful moments. As you keep living it, the pain will actually remind you that you’re alive!
When you want something bad enough, then taking action is something you look forward to.
Every one of my disappointments, mistakes and setbacks have been an opportunity to gain knowledge, confidence and try new things. Yes, it was definitely all worth it!
Looking back, sometimes I think, “That’s it? What was I afraid of again?”
Now, it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped been afraid. Fear has a way of creeping in every time I get a new idea for a project. I just don’t let it control my decisions and actions. I’ll tell something else, whenever I do feel nervous or scared, it’s an indication that I’m about to embark on something exciting.
Trust, believe and have faith in yourself.
The only person who truly holds the answer to building your confidence is YOU!
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… We must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I would love to hear your thoughts. Is there a goal you’ve been wanting to pursue? What first step can you take towards making it happen? Or, have you gotten past the whole uncertainty phase? What did you do?