Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Confidence In A Nutshell

To feel confident, you need competence. To feel competent, you need proof of your abilities. To get proof of your abilities, you need experience. To get experience, you need to do the thing.

Child’s play, right?

So why do so many of us still struggle with confidence issues? Because the areas we want to feel confident in are often big and hard to define. 

Suppose you want to feel confident speaking in public because you tend to hold your tongue in group settings. An excellent incentive. But where do you start?

Speaking up with the experience you have now will probably feel scary and overwhelming. And even if you muster all your courage and go for it, it probably won’t go well. So instead of proof of your competence, you find proof of your ineptitude.

Ielgh. Any confidence you had is now flying down the drain.

To build confidence effectively, you need to go slow and pick your challenges carefully. Nothing that pushes you to your limits. Pick something that’s just slightly out of your comfort zone and feels a little challenging.

Let’s return to our goal from before, speaking in public. 

If holding a presentation for your shrewd co-workers gives you the willies, don’t practice by giving presentations. Go for something easier. Perhaps just saying something every work meeting. 

That too easy? Voice something a little more uncomfortable and specific, like your opinion. 

By repeatedly putting yourself in a position of mild discomfort where you’re almost guaranteed a positive result, your competence and confidence in public speaking will grow. 

But much like the neglected aloe vera plant in your living room, confidence grows slowly. So be patient. 

If you keep putting yourself in exciting (not terrifying) challenging situations, you’ll eventually get the confidence you want. 

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach