What is Confidence?

A while ago, when normality ruled. I went to see a comedy gig with a good friend of mine.  We got talking afterwards about the comedian on show.

‘I couldn’t do that.’ Remarked my friend.

Why?

Because I’m not confident enough.

Something immediately struck me about this comment; it was said with an absolute assuredness.

And yet- what is confidence? Is it how we present ourselves externally, or something deeper?

We often mistake apparent confidence for insecurity. Do you know somebody who loves to talk about where they have been, what they do for living, or how much money they have? What’s important to remember here is, who are they telling?  This is not confidence, this is ego talking borne out of insecurity.

So . . Something deeper then.  

Confidence is about trust- not the intangible and wavering feeling but in one’s own resources.

Clients will often say to me, In some ways I’m really confident and in other ways I’m shy. The key thing to acknowledge here is the self realisation that the feeling of ‘confidence’ does exist; otherwise how do they recognise it?

I put this thought to my friend.

‘Yeah, but getting up in front of people is totally different to what I do’

Well . . yes. . of course it is. However how do any us gain confidence in what we do? We learn, we make mistakes, we hone, we make more mistakes, and after a while a process starts to emerge and a trust starts to develop in our given skill and with it our confidence increases.

But that only happens once we have committed to something new, once we are prepared to get outside of our comfort zone and grow. So how do we take that first step?

We must use resources within ourselves that reinforce the feeling of trust and in turn confidence. Like driving your car. You don’t think about it consciously – you just trust you can drive the car.  If we choose to place our focus on the negative resources of our fears and doubts – like failing at an exam – we then sit inside our own mind, unable to see our strengths. 

This mindset is hardened and calcified in difficult times or when we’re watching comedians thinking  ‘I couldn’t possibly do that.’

Well, how did you get in the car for the first time?

Our sense of possibility only narrows when we don’t trust ourselves, and our confidence diminishes when we don’t acknowledge our own resources. 

Trusting your own experiences to gain confidence isn’t the preserve of the few, it is in all of us.

Is it there. It always has been, and always will be.

Whether you choose to find it,  is up to you.

If this sounds familiar then please get in touch.

To do … or not to do

“If I write it down, then I’ll definitely do it.”

I have often thought this when writing my infamous to do list. It’s a wide-ranging and often dubious reminder of what I’m not doing or avoiding.

Paint fence
Power wash the drive.

Even the more basic things find a way of appearing
Post letter
Go to bank

It got to the point where I considered having a to-do list for existing
Get up
Brush Teeth

I often laughed at my inability to live without a list.

However, I began to notice the comfort of what putting things in future (without actually doing the vast majority of it) was bringing me. Why write about doing something, feel better and then do nothing? Surely the point is to take action!?

I started to go further. If I was procrastinating about the small things, what about bigger things? How much of my ambition and career focus was I putting into the mythical future? When I did sit and think about what I wanted to achieve, it sometimes felt overwhelming. The truth is there can be a disconnect between want and belief. We know what we’d like to do, but we put barriers in the way, and potential what if’s.

It’s similar to when people want to go travelling. ‘What if we get stuck?’ What if we run out of money? Probably best if I don’t go. What we miss is that the ‘what if’s’ are what makes the journey worthwhile. What we learn about ourselves and the confidence we gain are invaluable. It’s important to remember that the journey is more important than the end goal. However, the journey only begins when we take action and put ourselves in a position to fail.

I’ve stopped writing things down, and instead I’ve got a clear goal of what I want to achieve. I set a time frame and focus my energy into the small individual steps needed to get there.

Which reminds me, I need to paint the fence.

I just need to find the brush…

If this sounds familiar, drop me an email. I’d love to help you.

Carpe Diem

Wendy has just asked me (for the third time this week) to put the lid back on the coffee. It’s vital I remember this as the coffee will dry out, which will affect the taste and the aroma. These things are important; apparently.

Quite a while ago, a friend of mine asked me to do him a favour. He was booked to do a short film but had to cancel at the last minute due to family circumstances. He asked if I would step in and take his place, as he didn’t want to let the producer down. I hesitated at first. I’d been working all week and was looking forward to a weekend off, plus it wasn’t paid and I didn’t know anybody involved. However, my friend was persuasive. He offered to pay my bus fare and buy me a beer… oh go on then.

I arrived on set and got chatting to some people huddling around a little fan heater. One of the guys there was called Brian and we hit it off straight away. I started telling him that I wanted to go into teaching or coaching to supplement my acting. He mentioned his agent had just started an acting school, and it be would worth giving him a call to see if he could offer me anything. I didn’t really think much of it, to be honest. Well actually I did – surely he would be set up already?

The day came to an end and Brian and I swapped numbers.

A couple of weeks later I was running to catch a train and I missed it. Brilliant. As I stood on the platform trying to stop my feet from going numb I got a tap on the shoulder. It was Brian. He had been at a meeting that had overrun and was on his way home. He asked if I’d called his agent about the possible job opportunity. I hadn’t and I made some excuse about being really busy. The truth was I didn’t really believe his agent would be interested. I had no experience and I felt cheeky walking in off the street.

Brian’s train arrived and we said goodbye.

On the way home I started to think about the chain of events. I had met a stranger on a job, who I got on with very well. He offered me an opportunity, but I hadn’t done anything about it. By total coincidence I met him again, and again he mentioned the opportunity.

Maybe I should give his agent a call?

The day after I called Darren, Brians agent. He asked me to come in for a meeting. I went in and we had a really good chat. He was about to do a short summer course, which he asked me to work on with him. He thought this would be ideal as it would give us a chance to have a look at each other and see if we could work together more permanently. Darren and I got on great and I finished the summer course knowing I’d made a good impression.

How many times in life do we turn opportunity down because we’re tired or busy? Or maybe we don’t believe in ourselves, or are unwilling to take a leap of faith? Luckily for me, I said yes to a friend and made a new friend who introduced me to Darren. Ten years later I still work with him.

Oh, and something else happened too  …

On the first session of the course, I met a girl who claims to this day she didn’t fancy me initially (which I think was just lies). As it turns out she did like me after all, so much so that we now have two beautiful girls together.

Her name is Wendy, and she likes her coffee with the lid on.

If this sounds familiar, drop me an email. I’d love to help you.