Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
If we want to be outstanding in what we do, confidence is critical.
Confidence is about believing in yourself. Sometimes this comes naturally, and sometimes it needs to (and can) be learned.
Let’s look at the opposite side of the coin; fear. Think of skiing down a mountain for the first time, or riding a bicycle. When fear is in the driver’s seat, we tense up and become unable to respond well to a situation. In many cases fear (or the lack of confidence) is an old habit.
I learned how to downhill ski just a few years ago. I had only recently made major progress in my life-long fear of heights. Learning how to ski was a celebration of the fact that I no longer “suffered” from the fear of heights. Most of the time, I am incredibly calm in the face of chairlifts dangling over precipitous snowy cliffs and steep edges at the sides of the ski runs. I have even been known to brave black (advanced) runs here and there.
However, every once in a while when I arrive at a new, particularly steep run, I freeze up with the old familiar sensation of fear. My shoulders tense, I can feel my heart beat pounding in my chest, my palms start sweating, my hands shake and my mouth becomes dry.
At that point, I stop. And I breathe….
I have trained myself in those moments to take a few deep breaths and remind myself “You are not afraid of heights anymore! You can do this; you don’t have to be afraid.” It is incredible how powerful these mantras that repeat to myself are.
“You know how to do this, this is just a memory of fear, and there is no longer reason to be afraid.” Time and time again, the fear melts away and after a few deep breaths and I sail down the hill with ease and joy.
Confidence requires continuous work. Notice when your confidence is slipping and fear is taking over. Stop, take some deep breaths and remember that you can do this!
I would love to hear your experiences of losing and re-gaining confidence. Perhaps you have other tips to share with our readers? Please leave a comment below.
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And of course, if you haven’t already read my book about confidence, The Four Channels, it is available as kindle version and print version. To go further in-depth, check out my Cracking Confidence e-course.