Avoid your dream and you feed your fear. Feed your fear and it grows.
Eventually, you will be ruled by your fear, as your life becomes smaller and smaller. You will have less and less confidence. It becomes a vicious cycle, because as your life shrinks, your anxiety continues to grow.
Use common sense. Fear is a necessary warning when you use it correctly. You don’t jump off a building because you are afraid of severely injuring or killing yourself. This is a rational and sane fear that keeps you alive and healthy. This fear is a good thing.
The fear referred to here is the fear that stops you cold and prevents you from having the confidence to live your dream.
Starve your fear and feed your confidence with these 6 tips.
Make a decision to do it. Yes, you made an active decision to procrastinate or avoid taking action, even if you didn’t notice that you were making a decision. You and only you are responsible. You chose to watch TV or even clean the bathroom, rather than face your anxiety, do some problem solving and get help to be confident.
Decide to regularly do something constructive to build your confidence. Find your favorite quote and post it on the bathroom mirror. Watch your favorite YouTube inspirational video every morning.
Now, do it. If you procrastinate on something that you need to do, you feed the fear. Don’t let the action that will advance your dream constantly slide to the bottom of your “to do” list.
Build a little bit of confidence every time you take action.
Don’t listen to the voice of fear. If you tell yourself you are not strong enough, not smart enough, not good enough, you won’t have the confidence to go for your dream. That voice has a very good strategy to keep you down. It stops you from gaining the skill, the knowledge and exercising your talent to make your dream come true.
Find good people with strong voices. Listen to the ones who can realistically help counteract the voice of fear.
Silence the voice of fear. What you resist, persists. Don’t try to suppress that voice. It only gets stronger.
Acknowledge the voice then tell it, “Thank you for sharing, now be quiet.” An even stronger message is, “Thank you for sharing, now shut up.” Say either one as many times as necessary for about 3 days and the voice will be silenced.
Stop beating yourself up for avoiding. If you call yourself names, nasty names that make you feel bad, you will just avoid more. This is sure to rob you of confidence. The problem is that you secretly believe that you are absolutely right to beat yourself up this way.
You have to be willing to seriously revise your secret beliefs and create better ones that sustain your confidence and support your dream.
Find your voice of encouragement. The other problem is that you also believe that beating yourself up is an effective strategy to get you going. Wrong. It just demoralizes you.
Develop the knowledge and skills that make your dreams come true. Did you watch American Idol? The final contestants constantly had to accept professional feedback that honed their talent.
Watch and learn, then copy.
Confidence Tip: Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT or tapping, is an amazing technique to starve your fear and feed your confidence.
Be nasty to yourself. Call yourself ugly names. Swear at yourself. Beat yourself up, then put yourself down in the mistaken belief that it will make you do better. It does not. It just makes you feel wrong, feel bad, feel ashamed and then you get defensive. You get stuck in the past in the mistake.
Remedy: If you make a mistake, learn from it. This strategy gives you a direction and increases your confidence because you have deliberately thought about how to do better in the future. Learning from your mistakes is empowering.
Overestimate your ability, so you crash and burn when reality hits. Researchers James C. Kaufman and Michelle Evans in Psychology Today named this self-delusion, “The American Idol Effect”. It is particularly toxic when it is endorsed by your family.
Remedy: Get reality checks from people you trust to give you good, honest feedback that helps you sharpen your skills and legitimately build up your confidence.
Habitually avoid something every time you are afraid or anxious. There are times when the wisest course of action is to avoid. Do this all the time, however, and your confidence will vanish. When you habitually avoid, you are choosing to let fear rule your mind.
Remedy: “Do something every day that scares you,” advised Eleanor Roosevelt. I would add to her wisdom, “…and be smart about it.” Exercise your confidence muscle every day by doing something that is just a little bit scary for you.
Always stay in your comfort zone. Your world will get smaller and smaller as you become less and less confident in yourself and your abilities.
Remedy: Move out of your comfort zone just inches at a time instead of miles. Just a few inches a day every day will enhance your confidence quotient.
Constantly worry about all the things you cannot control. You are sure to lose confidence as you relentlessly focus on all the times and places that you are powerless.
Remedy: Acknowledge what you cannot do and then move on. Identify what you can do in the situation. It takes some thought and may not be easy to change your focus, but your confidence will dramatically progress as you practice this kind of thinking. This idea is poetically expressed in the Serenity Prayer.
Confidence Tip: EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, is a very effective method for quickly curing these mental patterns.
Confidence feels good, so you want more. Confidence is the “fix” for anxiety, which doesn’t feel good. Avoiding situations in which you feel uncomfortable leads you to conclude that you lack confidence.
These three bad habits are guaranteed to sabotage your confidence and expand your anxiety.
- Deprive yourself of enough sleep. Research clearly shows that lack of sleep causes that part of your brain that generates anxiety, the amygdala, to be overactive. Your world is a much scarier place when you are chronically tired. You have more unnecessary anxiety simply because you ignore your body’s need for rest.
Don’t work against your brain. It will win every time. And you will believe that you lack confidence, instead of just lacking sleep.
- Drink lots of caffeine. Being tired causes you to solve that problem with stimulants to get your motor running: coffee, colas, high octane sodas, like Red Bull and Monster, Inc. It is a great temporary fix, but the caffeine interferes with your brain’s ability to gear down and go to sleep at the appropriate time for you. You are creating a vicious cycle.
Watch out for using alcohol and recreational drugs to medicate your caffeine-induced insomnia and sleep-deprived anxiety.
- Be a passive adrenalin junkie. Watch lots of TV and be on your computer for several hours each evening to feed this nasty cycle even more. Video games are especially great for this. All of these activities stimulate your brain and your adrenalin constantly.
Make sure that the TV you watch jacks up your amygdala with murder and crime shows, bad news about the world, disasters and other terrible things that happen to people. You can routinely include slasher and monster movies in the evening. Video games are excellent sources of stimulation at night to delay your ability to get to sleep.
All of the self-help you read to develop more confidence will only be moderately effective as long as you continue to jack up your anxiety with sleep deprivation, lots of caffeine and adrenalin.
Now you have the ammunition to turn your life around and change these 3 bad habits. If you are truly going to be confident today, start with a solid foundation.
Be smart. You can figure out which habit to tackle first to increase your level of confidence. Confidence is always a choice, so notice what you are choosing today – confidence or anxiety.
Confidence Tip: EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique is a very effective method for quickly changing mental patterns that sabotage your confidence.
Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
This is the way out of regret. This is the way out of judgment. This is the way out of guilt. All three sabotage your confidence.
But how can you start from now and make a brand new ending?
1. Is there something you need to learn from the past? Be specific.
I was privileged to meet and host Bonnie St. John many years ago. She is an
amputee athlete who excelled in Olympic skiing, as a scholar at Harvard in
economics and business, as an author of 6 books and as a wonderful parent.
Bonnie teaches her most valuable lesson about making a brand new ending with
her true life story, when she skied in the Paralympics.
“I was ahead in the slalom. But in the second run, everyone fell on a dangerous
spot. I was beaten by a woman who got up faster than I did. I learned that people
fall down, winners get up, and gold medal winners just get up faster.”
2. What mistakes, faults, errors, deficiencies and inadequacies do you need to
forgive in yourself and/or others?
I am sure that Bonnie would tell you that the winners and gold medal winners
forgive themselves faster, because to not forgive slows you down.
Forgiveness can be complicated, so take a look at my blog on forgiveness for
help with this difficult step.
3. What skills do you need?
Bonnie St. John needed to practice getting up faster after she fell down.
Forgiveness is an attitude and a skill.
4. What support do you need?
A coach? A mentor? A class? A You Tube video or a book to read?
I’m sure that Bonnie worked with her skiing coach to get up faster when she fell.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
Practice what you need to learn. Practice forgiveness. Practice the skill. Practice
receiving support. Then rehearse until you feel confident. A certain amount of
confidence flows from competence.
You know that any athlete, particularly an athlete who excels at the level of the
Paralympics, practices a whole lot before racing.
6. Make small mistakes.
Practice in a safe environment until you get it right.
7. Develop confidence and courage.
The word courage means “to take heart” or “to come from the heart.”
Confidence means ”with trust”.
Both of these attributes can be developed, cultivated, the same way you would
strengthen a muscle or cultivate an orchid.
Every day is a fork in the road from yesterday, when you need to make a brand
© 2017 Lynn Kennedy Baxter