My workshop participants compliment me after our sessions – that I seem confident speaking in front of an audience.
Little do they know that there are times where I’m just shaking and afraid to face them. Because of that, I believed that I had no confidence.
Because confidence looks and feels different for other people, and from one person to another.
But what is real confidence? And what are the ways that we have, or do it, but not acknowledge it?
Just being who you are
This is the most ambiguous piece of advice I’ve ever heard from people, not because they don’t know or feel what this is, but that they don’t know how to explain and articulate it.
When I share my personal stories to share points and lessons in my workshops, me and my participants notice how it just flows. I just catch myself reliving the moment, and sharing what happens.
That’s one element of being who you are – being unafraid to share what you went through, what you’re feeling, in the language and manner of how you’d say it.
You’re unafraid to share all your good points, and even your bad points. Where you succeeded, and where you fell short.
Just being who you are, also means to accept your flaws and strengths, and to be unafraid to share them with others.
Think about it – nobody’s perfect. Everyone’s getting by with what they’ve been given in life, some more than others. Just being you, means not being fixated on what you don’t have, but accepting and focusing on what you do have.
It’s not about becoming another person, but becoming more of who you really are.
The typical image of confidence is one of presentation and poise – of magnetism and charisma as a person enters a room, and speaks.
In my experience, just because a person is able to exhibit and show to others that they are confidence, doesn’t mean that they really are.
In the first few years of my facilitator and coach career, I’d work hard at portraying an image and presence of confidence and charisma, only to find that it doesn’t work all that well.
You can only “fake it ’til you make it” so much.
The real you begins to show through the cracks of the facade, until you encounter challenges and hardships that would make it all tumble down.
Real confidence, I’ve found, is one based on faith – in one’s self and abilities, in other people, and that things will turn out for the better.
It’s the image of my grandfather who just sits on his chair, looking at all of us, exuding a presence that he’ll back us up with whatever we choose to do in life.
I remember him asking me what’s my plan, and what support I need. I recall not having confidence in my plan or in my execution, but he just sat there, quietly gave me a few tips, and just asked me and followed me up.
But he never panicked or got mad. He just had faith and confidence in me.
Have faith in yourself, and in your capabilities and choices – in little ways at first.
Then on to bigger and bigger things.
I prefer to think of confidence as an energy of acceptance, of who you are, of what reality is, and of what’s happening.
Rather than an energy of pushing – pushing for something or someone.
If there is true acceptance, then it becomes easier to be confident to move things forward from where they are now, to where you want to be.
When I was “faking” my confidence, making it all an act, I acted that way because I couldn’t accept that I was the one teaching in front. That I had less corporate experience, that I was younger, or that I didn’t believe in myself all that much.
That led me to keep on pushing for an image, of which I got tired, grew tired, and couldn’t keep up.
I’ve found that by accepting where I am, my flaws, and my strengths, it becomes much more easier to just be me in front of an audience.
I accept that I won’t be able to win over everyone.
I accept that there will always be detractors.
I accept that I won’t be able to please everyone.
And that’s ok. That ability to let go and say it’s all ok – that’s acceptance.
How don’t we see confidence?
Because I was so much bedazzled by charisma and grandeur, that I forget the in essence, confidence is having faith and acceptance of one’s self, and in the situation.
We don’t see confidence because we focus on big showy actions, instead of the consistent little ones that build us up and others.
We don’t see confidence because we’re so focused on the lack of it – our lack of it.
Confidence is focusing on what you have.
See, the confidence.
See the confidence, in you.
When are you most confident? Let me know in the comments below!