BEAUTIFULLY BOLD ::

What is confidence? It seems that for some people their level of self doubt is almost non-existent, especially in comparison to the rest of us on the planet. Where does it come from? Is it a genetic trait passed on through generations, like a chiseled jaw line? Or, something more random than that, just the luck of the draw that some people have it, but others don’t? What if confidence isn’t inherited or the whim of fate? What if it can be fostered and grown? If there was something you could do to create, build and grow confidence? What if there was a magic formula? I have good news! Read on.

I have a friend who, ever since I have known her, just exudes a level of boldness and inner self worth that leaves me in utter awe. She is a marvel. Nothing seems to shake her, make her question herself or waiver–even when being challenged. After several years of friendship, and a few glasses of wine, I broke down and asked her, “What is your secret? How are you so confident and sassy? Do you not truly care about what others think about you?”

Her answer was simple, clear, concise and confident (of course).

“Of course, I care what others think about me, who doesn’t? … But, I care more about feeling good than pleasing others.”

Great perspective, right? Isn’t this the point of view we all want? Most of us “know” that this way of seeing the world is powerful and freeing, and we want it for ourselves, but why is it that when it comes time to live it, everything changes? It seems like at that moment when we want to choose ourselves and be bold, we cave and choose to please others, look good, or just hide out. I see choosing ourself over others as a move of confidence. {tweet that, baby!}

Then, I think, there are two questions: Can we grow confidence and self esteem? And, if we can, how?

Confidence = the familiarity of repetition. Confidence = the power of habit. Confidence = feeling and living your best self. {tweet that, baby!}

Repetition is one way to build confidence. Being persistent, practicing consistently, and not accepting “no” are key to the confidence building strategy that Dr. Ivan Joseph shares in his TED Talk, “The Skills of Self Confidence.” Just like anything else we are good at, being confident in something new takes repetition. Nothing comes overnight, it takes dedication, discipline and consistency to build a new skill or behavior. Think about learning a new language—whether that be French or HTML—you can’t really cram for it. It’s the slow and steady, daily attention to learning new vocabulary and grammar, and then practicing using it, that wins in the end.

We can use decision-making to choose the habits we want to form, use willpower to get the habit started, then — and this is the best part — we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. At that point, we’re free from the need to decide and the need to use willpower.

Gretchen Rubin

If you’re not already familiar with Gretchen Rubin she is a the thought leader on happiness and habit. Rubin has studied how habits are formed and also how they are maintained. Its not just about just desire, although it starts with there, its actually about what makes it stick. (check out my post on habit).

We often think too radical–that change happens all at once. Sure, we may have an “aha” moment that immediately opens up a new perspective, but moving it from an insight into a new way of being, forming a new habit or a new neural pathway, is a slow and consistent thing {tweet!}. Confidence isn’t talent, genetics or a special secret knowing, it’s simply the result of starting and building a habit, skill or knowledge.

“Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent. Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men — and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.”

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman talk about women and confidence in their book the Confidence Gap. They discuss how women have more self doubt where as men level of inner self talk seems to differ.

Confidence is where your deepest desires and strengths meet. Confidence is really about feeling amazing and not being so hard on yourself–having compassion for your weaknesses while you focus on what you are great at. I think true confidence is about faith. Faith and belief in ourselves enough to trust our intuition our creativity and live a life with awe and wonder.

What could 2015 be like for you if you resolved to be your most risky, awesome, confident self {tweet it out loud!}? What if you were able to be in your dream–to own it, revel in it and build it–not allowing what others think to affect how you live your life or make your decisions? What if you allowed yourself to feel good and enjoy? How much goodness can you stand?

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Originally published at www.amymattila.com.

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