Why you can't find confidence
As a coach, I have many potential clients who hope to gain more confidence through my programmes. I always ask the same question in response - “What is confidence?” Interestingly, there have been huge differences in the answers that I have received. Though, they all had one thing in common. Everyone hesitated before answering.
It’s strange to think that the most sought after feelings seem to be the hardest to describe. What is love? What is purpose? What is happiness? I suppose the reason for the inconsistencies lie in the fact that the definitions are different for different people, or are they?
Well, being a millennial myself, I do what most others do when looking for an answer, I Google it. According to Google, confidence is “the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something”. Vague, right?
Maybe we should get more specific, “Hey Google, what is the definition of self-confidence?”. “The definition of self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement”. Thanks Google, I’m glad you cleared that up. The issue is, I still don’t fully know what I’m looking for, but I shall begin my journey nonetheless and I am sure that I shall stumble across it, somewhere, somehow.
Let’s now try to look at this journey from a third party point of view. We have here a story of a young adventurer journeying to find something without knowing what it looks like. And even with the help of their trusty sidekick google who has explained what it is, they still do not fully know. No pun intended but this does not exactly fill me with confidence. Or maybe it does, I still don't know what it is.
Well today, I will offer you a new definition. One that may help you on your journey. In fact, one that will make you realise that there is actually no need to go on the journey in the first place. No, I’m not going to say the cliche, “You’ve had it all along. It’s right here, in your heart!” I am instead going to offer you the chance to find your self-confidence by looking at it from a different perspective. Allow me to tell you a story.
Years ago, I was standing in the kitchen during a family party. A young man around my age entered with what can only be described as innate self-confidence. He had good posture, an open smile and gave a hug or handshake to everyone in the room as a way of saying hello. He would even kiss the cheek of those who he deemed worthy.
I personally have always been the one who will walk into a room not knowing whether people want a hug, handshake, high five or cheek kiss. This usually results in me awkwardly judo chopping their abdomen while kissing the air above their shoulder. I asked him one day “How do you do it, how do you walk into a room and know exactly what to do?”.
His answer changed the way I view confidence forever - “I don’t, I just do it.”
In that moment, I realised that confidence is not something that you gain, it’s something that you replace.
“Confidence is the absence of doubt or uncertainty.” Simply by questioning your abilities, qualities or judgement, you lose confidence. You see, my friend did not spend any time thinking about which physical greeting would be the right one, he just did it. When someone does that, others follow.
Trying to find confidence with a bag full of doubt is like trying to smell with a peg on your nose. It's pointless. So today, I encourage you to open up your bag and throw away any doubt you may have. Don’t question your abilities, qualities or judgement, just do it. You’ll find that confidence is something that you’ve had all along. Right here, in your heart… Sorry.