You will never have enough confidence to begin. I’ll tell you why.
What are you afraid of? Public speaking? Recording a vlog? Asking that cute boy out?
If you wait until you have enough confidence to take the leap, well, you’re gonna be waiting a long time — maybe forever.
The confidence myth
“So, when are you going to begin?”
“Erm, well, when I have enough confidence to do it, I will.” 😁
Erhm. That’s exactly where we are wrong. Let me tell you how.
Fact: If we have more Confidence, we perform better.
Myth: We can wait to begin doing something until we have enough confidence.
The brutal truth
Confidence is a by-product of success.
Confidence will not come to us if we sit and do nothing, waiting for it to fall from the sky.
Now, before you brand me a heartless bugger with no respect for your fears, let me tell ya something — I know exactly what this fear feels like.
Ask me. 👇🏻
My experience with the fear of getting started
I was a terribly shy boy in middle school. The mere thought of having to speak in front on my own friends gave me jitters. I had an acute case of glossophobia.
But I wanted to improve. I saw the dream of being a good speaker and all the benefits that came along with it. I wanted to live it.
But I was getting nowhere at my own pace. At every opportunity to speak before people — despite repeated pushes from my friends — I thought, “Next time, brother. I’m just not confident enough.”
I would have gotten nowhere, had I not been pushed to do it. One fine day, my high school English teacher called me up to read out a letter I had written for a class exercise before my friends.
Daaamn! Heart in my mouth, I proceeded to the podium. With shaking legs and a trembling voice I did my best to overcome, I read out the letter.
Guess what? I survived, without any major embarrassment. 😁
That experience — of being pushed to do something I dreaded — kick-started my journey of overcoming my glossophobia.
I have spoken in public many times hence — in front of my friends, my class, the entire school auditorium. Some of them were excellent, some ordinary, some completely bland.
So when I spoke during my English Oral for my board exam, one of my former class teachers — who was one of the examiners — called me out for my confidence, something I lacked when I was younger and in her class.
I don’t pretend I’m a great speaker. I’m just good enough. And I think I kinda love getting my thoughts across — by speaking to groups.
But to me, overcoming my glossophobia — which, to be honest, took two whole years — taught me one big thing.
Which leads me to…
What does this mean for you?
What are you afraid of? Public speaking? Asking a girl out? Negotiating a salary raise?
If we sit and wait until we have enough confidence, then we’ll achieve nothing.
Heart in your mouth, legs trembling, the sweat on your browser — jump in.
Take the plunge.
I promise you, you’ll survive. And I’ve noticed something weird but awesome — all your nervousness will disappear a few minutes after you plunge in, once you become oriented to the situation. 🤗
The heart-trembling moments after this maiden experience may not make you feel like you’re on cloud nine, but it will give you just enough confidence to get started.
This newfound confidence will motivate you to take it all to the next level. At the next level, you will get yet another bout of confidence, and this process will continue — increasing your confidence and competence in fits and starts.
Call to Action
Want to do something you’ve always dreaded? Take the plunge.
- Begin small and slow.
- As a result, gain just enough confidence to kick-start your growth.
- Continue exposing yourself to more challenges, each progressively more difficult than the one before.
- Grow. And keep growing.
Best wishes. 😉
Like my writing?
Here are some other stories I’ve written I think you’ll love.
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You need to jump in and face your fears was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.