Courage over confidence

woman jumping over gap with courage

“We need our women to be a bit more confident”

“I’ve been told all I need is a bit more confidence”

“I wish I could be more confident in myself”

How many times have you heard phrases like the above?  How many times has someone given you this kind of feedback?  Maybe it was in relation to speaking up in a meeting, volunteering for a presentation, going for a promotion or a new role?  “If only you could be a bit more confident…”

Well, I have news for you.  Confidence isn’t the issue.

Confidence is a feeling

Confidence is a feeling.  If you feel confident, then you feel sure about your abilities, qualities or ideas.  But feelings are not things that we control.  Feelings are generated in our bodies and our minds, based on what we anticipate or have experienced.  And they change all the time.

Think about some examples…

  • Sometimes it depends on what you are being asked to do.  For example, you might feel utterly confident in your ability to make toast, but have no confidence in your ability to make a soufflé. 
  • Maybe it varies depending on where you’re asked to do it.  You might feel confident about belting out a solo in a karaoke booth with your best friends, but not in front of the church congregation.
  • Or maybe it changes based on when you’re asked to do it.  You might have had all the confidence in the world to bungee jump off that high bridge in your twenties, but not so much in your fifties.

Confidence can come and go, depending on so many factors, just like any of our feelings.  Think about when you feel sad, joyful, scared.  Someone telling you that you should “just be a bit more” of any of those is ludicrous.  It is like they’re asking us to control clouds in the sky or currents in the sea. 

Courage is a quality

In contrast, courage is a quality.  If you are courageous, then you are someone who decides to do something, even though you may feel afraid. Even if you have no experience, or you anticipate difficulty or danger, you are willing to take action.

So, when you decide to act with courage then…

  • You have that difficult conversation, even though you feel anxious about it
  • You step up to the podium to give that speech, even when your knees are knocking
  • You put yourself forward for a promotion, even though you fear that you won’t get it

Courage is a quality that you can have at all times.  It is a value that can help you to make decisions about how you want to live your life.  It can guide you and support you to follow your heart, even when your head is warning you not to.

Don’t wait for confidence, act now with courage

If we wait to feel confident about something, then we put off the possible.  We avoid the awkward, the uncomfortable, the anxiety-inducing in favour of the safe and known.  And we lose out on what could be. So don’t wait to feel confident.  Act now with courage, and let confidence ebb and flow like all your other thoughts and feelings as you gain new experiences and follow your true path

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