Weekday Wisdom, Episode 9
Would you like to know three things you can do to grow your self-confidence and your self-worth?
Happy MLK Day! Do you have the day off? I do — but my husband doesn’t. So I’m sitting back in my comfy sweater and sharing with you my first Facebook Live video, shot on February 23, 2017. It is jam-packed with good, actionable information!
Here’s the backstory: On February 17, 2016, I was walking across the street, minding my own business, and bam! A car hit me. I flew a few feet, broke a lot of bones, and in that whole experience my self-confidence and my courage took a really big hit.
I was afraid to cross the street — actually “afraid” is a very calm word. I was terrified to cross the street. And I was afraid to do a lot of the things that I had been regularly doing in my business, like speaking in public, being on video. This kind of stuff.
I grew very self-conscious about the way I looked and the way I felt. And I decided that this situation was not where I wanted the rest of my life to be. So, I used tools that I’ve used in the past to rebuild my confidence and rebuild my courage.
This is what I’m going to share with you in this post, video, and audio. But before I get to those three things I’ve promised, I’ve got to tell you the foundational thing. Because, without this foundational thing, those three techniques are not going to work. They just simply won’t work, because you won’t do them, or you won’t do them with any measure of efficacy.
The Foundation: Make a Decision
The first thing you need to do is decide that you want to build your confidence or courage in whatever area you’re going to do that.
For example, I’m afraid of spiders. I really don’t care that I’m afraid of spiders. I’ve decided I don’t really care and I’m going to continue to be afraid of spiders because it doesn’t affect me. If I happen to encounter a spider, I avoid it, or I go, “Sweetie!” and my big, handsome husband will come and get it for me. It’s really not an issue. So, I don’t work on conquering my fear spiders.
But, my fear of crossing the street — that I couldn’t allow to continue. That I needed to overcome. So, I decided to face my fear and work on overcoming my terror of crossing the street.
I’ve also decided that never being on video again and never speaking in public again was not something I wanted to let slide. And so, I also decided I would work on fixing those fears.
Do you see the difference?
Without the decision, nothing else will work. It’s the decision that drives you, that keeps you working when you encounter setbacks. And that leads me to the first point.
Technique 1: Be Kind to Yourself
The first thing you need to do is be kind to yourself. When you are kind to yourself, you are allowing yourself to have failures and let that be OK.
The first time I attempted to cross the street, my husband was with me. He was holding my hand, and I was still so terrified. I was crying like a little girl. I mean, a really little girl. I simply fell apart.
But I didn’t let that stop me from trying to cross the street again. Things happen and you’ve got to be kind yourself because if you aren’t kind to yourself, you won’t move on.
Once you’ve got this foundation — you’ve decided you’re going to face a fear or face something that scares you and you’re going to build your confidence and courage with it. You’re also committed to being kind to yourself so that you can move on. You can now layer with the second technique.
Technique 2: Take Baby Steps
The example I like to use when I explain this idea comes from the TV special Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. There’s a scene where Kris Kringle gives the Winter Warlock a little choo-choo train. And they break into song:
- “Put one foot in front of the other, and
soon you’ll be walking across the floor!
Put one foot in front of the other and
soon you’ll walk out the door!”
That’s what I’m talking about with baby steps. You got to put one foot in front of the other. Break your big thing that you’re trying to accomplish into tiny steps. Then, you can accomplish one step at a time.
Using my crossing the street example, the way I’ve faced that fear — and got to the point where I can cross the street alone again without having a panic attack, without crying, without hyperventilating — I took it one step at a time. The first step was I would cross the street with my husband holding my hand during a time where there was no traffic. We did that a few times. And then I crossed the street with him behind me — but it felt like I was alone. The first time I did it was absolutely terrifying. I was crying it was so terrifying. But I did it and I was kind to myself.
And because I made the decision, I tried it again. And so, over time, crossing one street at a time, with increasing amounts of traffic, I’ve gotten to the point where I look both ways to make sure all the cars are stopping and then I cross the street. I’m able to do it.
Again, with video. When I first started going back to work, I got requests to be a guest on podcasts and webinars and I turned them all down. Why? Because I didn’t feel like I talked right (my teeth were mangled in the accident). And I didn’t feel like I looked right (I have a scar down the middle of my forehead and, at the time, my nose was still bent to one side from being broken). And then I started realizing I was missing opportunities to build my business. Therefore, I started working on building up my confidence.
One of the first steps I took was shooting a raw video where I let people see me and my scars. And I talked about how I was struggling with all of this. I got a lot of really good feedback on that one. So, I thought, “Well, OK. This isn’t so bad.”
Now I’m at the point where I’ve done numerous Facebook Live events and now have a 5-days-a-week vlog!
I’m moved forward because I took one step at a time. I accepted challenges. I pushed myself.
However, I wouldn’t have done any of that if I hadn’t made the decision to face my fear, and if I hadn’t been kind to myself when things didn’t go right.
This leads me to the third tool in your courage-building tool belt.
Technique 3: Fake It Until You Make It
Of course, I also have a musical reference for this concept. (I love music!) There is a scene at the beginning of The King and I where Anna is talking to her son. They’re on the ship and have just arrived in Siam. She sings her advice to her son:
- “Whenever I feel afraid, I hold myself for erect.
And whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect I’m afraid.”
The thing is, when you pretend you aren’t afraid, you do things that feel like you are not afraid. Eventually, you’re not afraid anymore.
Again with my crossing street example: I would focus on my breathing. I would breathe slow and deep because when you’re afraid you breathe very rapidly and shallow. Therefore, even though I felt afraid, I breathed deeply to try and fool my body into believing I wasn’t afraid.
I also walked erect, because when you’re afraid you pull yourself in and slouch.
Basically I did all these outward things to convince my body that I wasn’t afraid. And that helped me take those baby steps.
- You start off with a decision. Decide that you are going to face your fears, that you’re going to build your courage and your self-confidence.
- Then commit to being kind to yourself. Without that kindness, you’re going to let failures be the end of your journey.
- Then break everything up into baby steps. Take it one step at a time. Be kind to yourself when you fail at some of those steps, and then try those steps again.
- And finally, fake it till you make it. Do things that show your body that you aren’t afraid. Another way to look at it is, “What will you be like when you have become more confident and courageous?” Start acting like that now. Pretend you are already there. And eventually, your mind catches up to your pretending.
That’s it. That’s my four techniques. With those four things in your tool belt, you can build your courage and confidence. And believe me, I’m not anything special. It’s not like I’ve got some magical pixy dust that makes these techniques work for me, but they won’t work for you. I spent a lot of my life being scared and having a low self-worth. If I can do this, you can too!
Please comment below with your thoughts on today’s video? Do you have any questions about the content? Do you have any questions or ideas for what you’d like me to talk about in a future video? Please share your thoughts and wisdom below.