Fear or Confidence – They CAN’T exist together

“Be who you are and say what you feel,

because those who mind don’t matter,

and those who matter don’t mind.”

~Bernard M. Baruch

Fear-based confidence operates from a defensive position—a bite-before-bitten attitude. This individual may look like they are in charge and can handle life or situations, but truthfully, they are scared. This type of confidence tends always to be announcing themselves—they are often the résumé flinger. They want you to know that they can handle a job. They often discuss past successes or may turn most conversations into glowing reports about them. They have a need for you to know how adept they are in a multitude of situations.

Here’s the good and the bad of fear-based confidence for the individual and the people around them: they may feel it’s necessary to always over-deliver, which will over time be exhausting. For instance, if they are giving 150% at work, they have little, or nothing left for other parts of their life. Short-changing their energy in the rest of their life will cause a tug-of-war lifestyle between relationships and work. When they recognize this imbalance, their desire to right it can lead then to throwing their energy into the relationship elements of their life, which leaves their work percentage out of line. They are out of balance.

The truth is we only have 100% effort to give. Not having it allocated properly is dissatisfying to us but as well as the people in our lives. The frustration for maintaining the re-allocation of our focus can drain our energy and joy for life.

What’s the solution for a fear-based confidence?

  1. Take an inventory of your skills, talents, and strengths. It might be a good lesson to humbly ask others you trust what they believe are your character strengths and abilities. Hearing what others think may help you to better understand your place in the world. It might also have the capacity to help you better understand your worth.
  • Stop the negative thoughts and self-doubting. This might be a tougher lesson, and you may need some professional guidance, but do it. We tend to have self-loathing or lack of personal recognition of our strengths and can be quick to see our shortcomings. There is strength in knowing who we are and being comfortable with our real self. Without it, we can doom ourselves to a life that exists on a gerbil wheel.
  • Assess your life: your job, your living situation, and your relationships, and ask yourself why you have what you have. Are you accepting less than what is best for you? If so, change it. Be bold; change it. Life is too short to settle for mediocre. That might mean you have to work on your relationships by changing yourself or bringing new life to it with real communication. You might have to take steps to change your job or where you are living. You may be working a job that is either out of your personal gifting, lacks your passion or you are in over your head. Do not just continue because of inertia; evaluate and change. Your passion depends on clarity.
  • Be vulnerable. This step is tougher for fear-based individuals. It means you’ll have to be open enough to put aside all the protection mechanisms you’re used to using. Decide instead that you are enough, and this is an adventure to discover new territory within yourself. It won’t be easy and will feel so awkward you’ll be tempted to run back to what you know.
  • Down shift. Slow your life down in such a way that you have time to respond rather than to react. Fear-based confidence tends to react to situations too quickly. Do whatever you can to slow your life down to have time to think before answering or following through. Moving at the speed of light will keep you highly charged emotionally. This is neither useful for decision making, your immune system or living a peaceful life.

Confidence is an evolving maturity. Sometimes you may get to the quiet strength type of confidence because you have also reached the “I quit” point in your life. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose, you are better able to determine an enhanced life for yourself. However, the energy you will use to come to that point can have adverse health effects and cost you dearly in emotional health and/or relationships.

Pick Up Your Sword:

Tips for Building Confidence

Here are twenty tips to move you from lack of confidence to a comfortable, confident life. Which 5 can you start today?

  1. Learn something new. Read a book, take a class, try something you never thought you would. It will empower you.
  2. Do something for someone else. Take the focus off you; the feel-good-about-yourself enzymes you’ll stir up can carry you to the next level.
  3. Organize something. It does not have to be big; it might just be a junk drawer or vacuuming behind the couch. You’ll know it. That is enough for now.
  4. Build a bucket list and start checking things off. Hang it where you will see it daily. Plan to accomplish one of them a month.
  5. Write a note of appreciation for someone that you know rarely gets thanked for their job.
  6. Plan for success. Put your gym clothes on in the morning and place your shoes where you will trip on them first thing.
  7. Keep a diary. Write down your thoughts. Writing has a way of helping you know what you know and bringing facts to emotional thoughts.
  8. Step out of your comfort zone. If you are an introvert, go to a book signing, a networking group, or a particular fund-raising event. If you are an extrovert, practice sitting alone with yourself, book a hotel room alone with just your thoughts, or unplug from all electronic social media for days or—GASP—a week!
  9. Work out. The movement will kick in the “I can accomplish anything” feel-good enzymes.
  10. Never make decisions when you are in a vulnerable state. Make a Ben Franklin list, then walk away from it for a day or two.
  11. Make a plan of things that matter to you and how you are going to acquire them.
  12. Ask yourself who you are, what you stand for, what you will not tolerate. Then evaluate situations where you are allowing things you should not and do not do what you desire and change them.
  13. When you are afraid of looking foolish, embrace the idea that if you knew how little others think about others, you could move through mistakes easier.
  14. Break big projects that scare you into smaller pieces and just do the first step and then the next.
  15. When it comes to fear holding you back, do whatever it is that scares you before you have a chance to talk yourself out of it.
  16. Acknowledge your doubts, then train them or prepare better, then move forward anyway.
  17. Ban the word “can’t” from your vocabulary.
  18. Stop people pleasing because you are afraid of ___________ (you fill in the blank). Please people because you choose to, not because you think you must.
  19. We all run our lives and values on self-created rules. Make your rules answer to your needs today. They may have been good ideas in the past but no longer serve you anymore.
  20. Insert yourself into new experiences. Multi-faceted people have more understanding of who they are.

We may move from one type of confidence to the other depending on the seasons in our life we are experiencing. If you predominately operate from a defensive spirit, perhaps understanding why will move you to a confident offensive mindset. The “why” may not be immediately clear, so move forward by practicing one of the tips above until you can determine the “why.” If nothing else works, build your bucket list, and hit the gym!

What are some things confident people do in your circle of influence that you can emulate? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________