Have you ever noticed there are certain things you have no problem doing and other actions that even the thought of them scare you to death?
We all have those things that we admire about others because we could never think about doing them ourselves.
We’ll share a few of our personal examples:
I, Marisa, have absolutely no problem getting on stage in front of people. Could be 10 people could be 100. I get a mild adrenaline rush right before I’m about to go on and then I’m just up there doing my thing. However, if you ask me to do karaoke alone, I'll never do it, because it terrifies me! You’d have to pay me a lot of money to get up there and sing in front of people by myself.
As for me, Hannah, I fear giving speeches. It’s something that definitely makes me nervous no matter how much I prepare! On the other hand, I never had a problem going after the guy I wanted or applying for that dream job I may not be qualified for.
Isn’t it interesting, how we fear certain things and not others? How we feel confident to take certain actions, while we get completely stopped by others?
Well there’s a simple explanation, it has to do with your past. Every experience we have positive or negative impacts the way we make decisions right now.
When you have a positive experience as child with a specific action we usually develop the confidence to do it again. If you had a bad experience with a particular action, chances are it makes you so nervous you can’t take the action or you’re ridden with anxiety.
Then we build the evidence over time that we are actually bad at it or we can’t do it, even though what’s really happening is your past fear is getting in your way. This fear either keeps you from taking the action or keeps the action from being effective (think fumbling awkwardly through a job interview).
We’ll give you an example, as a kid, if you raised your hand, gave the wrong answer and everyone laughed at you, you might think you should never raise your hand again! To this very day you might not share at all! That very experience changed everything! One experience and that was it!
Wouldn’t it be crazy if we decided to stop playing monopoly because we lost one time? But it happens, experiences feel traumatic and then we decide never to do them again!
But there’s good news!!! You can overcome this fear and get the confidence you want to do anything by shifting your mindset about the activity.
So how do you do it?
- Imagine all of the worst possible scenarios that you could do to mess up the action. Ask yourself if that happened, would anyone be physically injured, would your life end, will you really die (since that’s how you feel about it)? What are you really afraid of?
- Visualize yourself taking the action before you do it. Imagine what you’re going to do in a perfect situation, what you’ll say, how the person will act, and how it will end up the way you want it to.
- Think of it as a game and make it fun! Remember that the only reason you think you can’t do it is because you failed at it in the past, but would you stop playing monopoly because you lost one time?
Our brain wants to help us survive, so it wants us to avoid any action that ever hurt us, embarrassed us, or disappointed us so it causes nervousness and anxiety (our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises, as if we are preparing to be chased by an animal!).
So when this happens you get to reason with your brain (i.e. tell it you’re not being chased by an animal and you’re not literally going to die when you take the action). Voila confidence! You might still feel nervous, but you have the courage to take the action anyways!
And as we always say, confidence is a byproduct of action! So if you can just practice taking the actions you will always build your confidence!
If you take the action and it doesn’t work as expected, it just means you need more practice just like any sport or game you might play.
It’s when we make situations “life-threatening” because of our past that we stop taking action or we sabotage ourselves.
In our online course, Eat for Love, we dive deep into why your confidence has disappeared, why you don’t trust yourself anymore especially with food and relationships, why you’ve made yourself feel like a terrible person for being the way you are and how to give it all up and move forward with your life (all in module 1).
You are capable of having everything you want in your life. It’s all about taking the actions that can get you there. You’re going to be faced with fear sometimes, but it doesn’t have to stop you from trying!
So get out there! Try something you’ve been wanting to, try something new, and know that if it doesn’t turn out as you expected it’s just a game, and you get to try again!
Share with us what action you’re going to take today and how it goes! If you know anyone who is stopped by fear be sure to share this article with them!
You’ve got this!