I want to talk about confidence – how it can help you to get things done and how a lack of it can considerably hold you back.
Taking myself as an example, I was your typical “wallflower” when I was a child. I was shy, I was quiet, I would shrink in to the background and that is exactly where I wanted to be. I would say that I was like this up until the age of around 20. At that age I was in my final year of university, I had a job and had started to get seriously in to fitness. That is when I started to “come out of my shell”. So I went through primary school, secondary school and most of university, feeing like I didn’t have a voice and that my place was to be in the background.
So what changed? A number of things really. Personally as I got older I started to realise that the majority of people are more concerned with themselves and their own lives to be judging you. Obviously society does judge you to a certain extent, especially if you are a little different, but all in all other people don’t tend to have an opinion of you either way. They are just getting on with their lives just as you should.
Another factor for me was weight loss. The biggest source of my shyness at a young age was that I was overweight. Particularly at the age of 26 when I lost 34 pounds through following a workout plan, I gained a huge amount of confidence. And when I talk about confidence here I don’t mean the kind of confidence where I can walk in to a room and be loud or stand up and talk infront of a crowd. I’m talking about the kind of quiet inner confidence that allows you to do and achieve things that you want. As my inner confidence has grown, I can identify just how much shyness can hold you back and stop you doing things.
With the inner confidence that I have gained, mostly over the past 5 years, I have achieved so many things; qualifications, I passed my promotion exam at work and was given more responsibility before I went on my career break. I talk to people when I am out and about, I go in to the weight areas of the gym that are male dominated. I know what I want to do and get it done.
Do I still find it hard to overcome a natural shyness? Yes of course I do. All the time I find it hard. Today for example I was given the contact details for somebody who could potentially help me with some work in gyms to gain experience. But I haven’t made the phone call yet. For some reason I find it really hard to call people that I don’t know. I always have, and it has to do with my shyness. I will make the call once I have psyched myself up, but I am just not naturally confident enough to pick up the phone to somebody who doesn’t know me and who isn’t expecting my call.
I did however have the confidence to start up a conversation with a gym instructor at my gym, and that is how I got the contact details in the first place. I am a huge believer in creating opportunities and taking them when they come. Talking to people, making contacts, creating opportunities; it all takes an inner confidence. I do things now that I would never previously have done, but I do still find it hard to overcome that natural shyness.
It all boils down to realising that you are a human being who has just as much right to be here as anyone else. You have just as much right to have dreams, to make plans and to do the things that you want to do. I find that it helps to think of each step you take as a small victory. Each thing that you found hard to do but did it anyway, that is something to be proud of. And that is the way to build your inner belief and inner confidence.