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If I only had the confidence…

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… I would get over my fear of not wanting to waste other people’s time, and ask them for their help
… I’d speak in front of large groups of people and tell them what I do (because I love what I do!)
… I would promote myself and my business without feeling self-conscious

You can add to this list what you would do, if you only had the confidence.

And if you’ve ever caught yourself saying something like this, my question for you is, how do you know that you’re “lacking confidence”? How did you come to this conclusion—based on what?

Here’s why I ask. At a conference I attended a while ago, the speaker at one of the sessions paused to see if the audience had any questions.

One woman raised her hand. She started by saying that since her heart was thumping hard, it meant that she had something important to say. So she’d better stand up and say it.

I was stunned.

I didn’t hear much of what she said, because I was too busy processing the implication of her opening remarks. All these years, when my heart started thumping during similar situations, I had interpreted this as being a sign of nervousness, fear, anxiety—in other words, lack of confidence.

So unlike this woman, I often didn’t speak up when this happened because I was sure that I was too afraid or nervous to speak clearly.

And if I did speak, I was so focused on my thumping heart and related discomfort, that I couldn’t pay much attention to what I was saying. As a result, I ended up doing exactly what I was afraid I’d do—not speak clearly or coherently.

So I concluded that I just didn’t have the confidence to speak in front of large groups, or start conversations with people I didn’t know.

However, hearing this woman’s comment I wondered:

  • What if my thumping heart is an indication something else?
  • Have I been misinterpreting this as “lack of confidence” all these years?
  • Is it possible that I don’t lack confidence after all, and have been holding myself back unnecessarily?

It seems possible that often our “lack of confidence” is a result of how we interpret a particular situation. So is gaining confidence then a matter of re-interpreting the same situation from a different perspective?

Intrigued? Check out The Fear Book: Facing Fear Once and for All by Cheri Huber.

(Photo by Petr Kratochvil)