“Oh the minute they made the announcement, I knew she’d be down on the field,” my husband told my parents over wine and brie. My parents both just smiled. As wacky as it sounded, they weren’t shocked either. In hindsight it was an audacious move, but I’d always wanted to sing the National Anthem over the microphone in a big stadium.
So when the master of ceremonies at my son Sebastian’s jujitsu tournament announced that their singer had bailed and they were looking for a volunteer, I raced down from the stands climbed up on the podium and grabbed the mic.
I sang. It wasn’t perfect, but I’ll never forget the sound of my high G reverberating through the stands, or the look of astonishment on Sebastian’s face.
“You’ve always been like that,” my mom shared. “I’m not sure where all that confidence comes from.”
As I’ve been helping others build their confidence, I keep coming back to that question. Just where does confidence come from? How do we best help feel more confident to give their dreams a go?
I’ve gone back and dissected a number of my other more ballsy moves. Here’s what they have in common.
A Simple Process To Increase Your Confidence
Have a Clear Vision of What You Want
Now, of course, I hadn’t been walking into every stadium hoping for my big break. But, singing the National Anthem was clearly on my bucket list. And each time the Orioles would broadcast a call for audition tapes, I’d always start practicing when I was in the car alone, knowing that someday, I’d send one in.
If you know what you really want, your heart will be ready to go before your rational mind starts chattering about why you should stop.
Guarantee Yourself it Won’t Be Perfect
I’m always humbled when I go back and read some of my earliest blog posts. I would never publish them today, and in fact have even considered taking them down. But I realize that doing so would be a huge disservice to anyone else working to build a platform. You become a better writer by writing, better leader by leading, better singer by singing, better lover by loving. There’s not much that doesn’t get exponentially better with practice. Starting messy is vital. If you wait until you’re perfect, you’ll get passed by the courageous fools out there practicing in the real world.
Change “Which Means” to “And So”
It’s easy to lose confidence when we’re a rookie. Change, “I came in last in the race WHICH MEANS I’m not very athletic,” to “I came in last in the race AND SO I’d better start running a bit more hills to increase my endurance.”
“I didn’t get the job WHICH MEANS I’m never going to make it in this field” to “I didn’t get the job AND SO I’d better double the number of applications I do each week.”
Confidence begets confidence. We become better human beings by being human. We get better at doing by doing.
Know what you want, give it a try, and ask yourself “and so” after each setback.
In Other LGL News
Speaking of overly confident first steps that worked out just fine: I laugh now at the audacity I had to send Seth Godin (whom I’d never met) my first blog post (as you heard above, it was terrible). He was gracious enough to write back with encouragement. As I’ve kept working on my craft, I’ve had some nice opportunities to interact with him (same wonderful encouragement). Now we’re both involved in this exciting new launch. Pandora for leadership thinkers. I’d love for you to check it out and see what you think.