As I look back over my life, I realize that confidence is something I rarely had growing up. I was unsure of myself, unsure of my abilities, and unsure of my potential. I often depended on the opinions of others to develop my opinion of myself, and needless to say, my peers were not the best judges of who I was. But like most kids, I put a lot of stock in what others thought of me and as a result lacked the self-confidence to try anything out of my comfort zone. And my comfort zone was very small: playing video games, spending time at home, and going to church.
Most other activities I didn’t try for fear of being embarrassed, and with my social ineptness it just made matters worse. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted to fit in: I tried out for the basketball team but did not make it; I worked hard at school but just enough to get by; I tried to engage in other activities as well, but often I found myself just giving up because I didn’t fit in or wasn’t good enough.
As a result of all of this, I struggled to make friends and locked my emotions away to protect myself from other hurt and pain from my peers. Needless to say, I had no self-confidence and consistently looked for approval from anyone I could find which was usually the adults in my life. I would constantly seek compliments and praise from my teachers, parents, professors, and whoever else I could find.
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I finally discovered that I had some self-worth, and as I discovered that I had self-worth, I also started to realize that I had some talents and abilities that I could share with others. This only began the journey for me.
Initially as I started on the journey, my self-confidence came out as arrogance in an activity I was good at like a game or sport. I would use my ability to seek approval and to try to make people like me. The problem was the messages that were still going through my head. I was still so low in my self-perception that I still thought that my performance, my abilities, and other things outside of myself were necessary for people to like me.
Many times, I couldn’t understand why people did not connect with me when I had done a good job or said the right thing or convinced them of a better way of thinking or doing something. It wasn’t until much later that I would start meeting with a small group of guys a couple times each month that I discovered what true relationships looked like that were not dependent on ability, knowledge, or anything else. These guys just wanted to know me, to support me, to encourage me.
It was during that time that I came to realize that I was valuable as a person. I had something to contribute that was not just an action, but I could contribute myself. This understanding led me to the awareness that my best gift to the world is being me. I do not need to impress others with my intelligence or my abilities or anything else. I need to truly be present to the people I am with and encourage them by being me and allowing them to be them.
And the more I do this, the more confidence I find to enter into relationship with people. I find that I am more willing to speak up, to use my talents and abilities, and to help people grow in their awareness and confidence.
If you have never worked with an executive coach, I would challenge you to schedule a session with me. I would love to hold the space for you to explore your authentic self, to find your answers from within, and to learn how to express yourself in this world. I look forward to seeing the difference you will make in your world!
I floated in life for over 15 years, stuck in negative thinking patterns and addictions. Now after working with coaches, training programs, and a variety of other authors and mentors, I have broken free of many of my destructive patterns by taking intentional Next Steps toward my preferred future! I can't wait to help you do the same!