Back in the ’90s when I was studying to become an actor, my acting coach would repeatedly tell me that I lacked the confidence and courage necessary to succeed. Patiently, I kept waiting for the day when I finally felt confident and courageous enough to audition for the roles I wanted. That day never came.
Have you ever been in a situation where there is something you really want to do, something you want to have or experience, but you stopped yourself from taking the necessary action steps because deep down you believe you don’t have enough confidence or courage?
Maybe you want to quit your job and start a fresh new life, ask someone out on a date, ask for a raise, write a book, start a coaching practice, submit a business proposal, or simply follow your heart regarding a particular relationship, situation or matter.
Whatever this might be for you, there is something you want badly, but somehow you end up talking yourself out of doing what you know you must do because you or someone you trust believes that you don’t have the courage or confidence to go after it.
While it is true that confidence and courage are very important qualities many successful people have, what most of us fail to realize is that confidence and courage are not a pre-requisite to success but rather the end result of taking consistent courageous action.
Courage and confidence are muscles and, like any of your other muscles, you must exercise them if you wish to grow them.
To act with confidence means to act “with faith”. And, to act with courage means to act “in spite of fear” or the rage you feel in your heart. If you want to grow your courage and confidence muscles, the only way to do this is by doing things that scare you. There are no shortcuts, no hacks.
For example, if you want to learn how to swim, you start out by being afraid of the water and of drowning. As you face your biggest fears each time you enter the water, little by little you develop the capacity to swim, and with it the confidence in your ability to swim. Each time you immerse yourself in the water, in spite of your fears, you grow your courage muscle. Each time you become more competent at swimming, you grow your confidence muscle.
You don’t need confidence and courage to learn how to swim. What you need is to get in the water, face your fears of drowning and start moving your arms and legs.
It is by regularly facing your biggest fears that you develop, over time, the confidence and courage that allows you to swim with ease! This same principle will apply to pretty much anything you’d like to achieve in life.
If you want to grow in confidence and courage, here are the steps to take:
Step 1: Find out what are you most afraid of doing.
Step 2: DO IT!
Step 3: Breath deeply, and into your heart as you DO IT! (Remember, your heart is the key to help you neutralize, or surrender the feelings of anxiety and fear that may arise.)
Step 4: Celebrate that you did it!
Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 until you become confidence or have ‘faith’ in your ability to do that which you feared.
Step 6: Find something else that scares you.
Step 7: Repeat steps 2-7.
Courage is a heart word. Going after what your heart truly desires means you repeatedly face your biggest fears along the way. You do what you’re most afraid of doing, say what you’re most afraid of saying, and ask for what you’re most afraid of asking.
For me, success as an actor finally came once I fired my acting coach and started to go to auditions and finally faced my fear of being seen. The more I faced my fears but took action anyway, the more courageous and confident I became.
What is the fear you’re going to face starting today?
Feel free to leave your comments below.
From my heart to yours.
Photo by Tommaso Fornoni