Have you ever felt like you were on top of the world? That you could conquer absolutely anything that came your way?
On an opposite note, have you ever felt like you were so awful at something, you didn’t even want to try?
Most times, confidence stems from practicing something over and over again until you gain the confidence that you are really awesome at it. The aura around you shifts. People notice you carry yourself taller and can feel the confidence oozing out of every pore in your body.
It doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time to get to that level of being so sure of your abilities.
I always go by the phrase “fake it until you make it.” You continually do something, pretending you’re good at it, until one day you wake up and you are.
But on the opposite token – what about when the confidence is lost? Slipped away out of your grasp. It feels like a dizzying downward spiral. One minute you’re on cloud nine, the next you’ve fallen into the depths of despair.
My sophomore year of college, I was one of the best runners in the country. The following year, I missed Nationals by one spot in both cross country and track after being slated as one to look out for. My senior year, I barely placed in my conference.
My confidence was flushed down the drain and rotting in a sewer.
Going from great to mediocre was heart-wrenching. I felt like a fluke. A one-hit wonder.
But I never gave up. Despite the torture it felt like I was putting myself through, I refused to let my team, coaches, and school down. I pressed on and remained upbeat and positive around my teammates.
I had to find the confidence of being the best again. So, I faked it. I walked around with my head held high and told myself that every day is one step closer to where I used to be.
I might not have ended up with a National title, but I ended my senior year winning my heat of the 1500m race. It wasn’t a best time. It wasn’t a new school record. It wasn’t a National cut. It wasn’t anything that I had done so often my sophomore year that you’d think it just came second nature to me. But it was a huge achievement from where I was. I pulled myself out of the depths and back into the light.
Often, our biggest critics are ourselves. We pick ourselves to pieces, not realizing the repercussions that can ensue. We tell ourselves not to even try because we are afraid we will fail or make a fool of ourselves. But the only way to gain confidence is to do just that – try, fail, and try again.
I didn’t say it would be easy; but it will be worth it. You’re going to take a few punches here and there, but the biggest thing is to get up and keep going. Conquering what’s standing in your way will only help you to continue to grow as a human. And the more you conquer it, the more confidence you will have in yourself. It’s a win-win.
It’s okay to be scared or feel foolish. Those emotions are natural responses to any new situation. But emotions are a state of being. They are constantly shifting. And as you change and grow, so too will the emotions, and you’ll find yourself believing in yourself and what you can do more and more.
So go after it. Give it a try. Fail…
And keep pressing on.