My iron died. I waited until the morning of my volunteer shift to iron my uniform but my iron clunked out on me. Which meant I wore a wrinkled uniform.
The whole day, I was self-conscious. I tried to cover up with an ill-fitting sweater and ended up awkwardly pulling and tugging on it all day, trying to hide my wrinkled shame.
I wasn’t looking my best or feeling my best and therefore my performance suffered. As the day of my shift approached, I would mentally note that I needed to prepare my uniform so that I didn’t have to rush in the morning.
The thought of preparing my uniform the night before was always in the back of my mind but typical me, I left it to the morning of.
It only takes one small set-back to throw you off your game.
Had I taken the time to prepare the day prior I would have had time to correct any issues that arose. I would have known that I needed a new iron. I could have avoided a hectic morning that led to a less than successful day. If only.
“Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” Stephen Keague
A sure-fire way to kill your confidence is to arrive unprepared. Self-confidence is one of the most important aspects of our lives and so many of us struggle with it. Whether we are inherently shy and introverted or whether we sabotage ourselves by procrastinating, we struggle with confidence.
We admire confident people. Confidence breeds trust in one’s abilities. We seek confident doctors, bosses, and leaders because to us, their confidence indicates competence.
We all want to put forth a confident image because we want others to have confidence in our skills and capabilities.
When you lack confidence you become hindered by feelings of anxiety, fear, and insecurity. These things can stunt your personal and professional growth.
There are several things we can do to enhance our confidence.
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”-Arthur Ashe
Prepare For Success
When I was in the military we had uniform clothing inspections that were planned and airmen would still show up with items missing, some were even missing name tags.
We all had more than enough time to prepare but there was always someone that showed up ill-equipped. These inspections were indicative of who would eventually succeed and who would fail in the service.
A lack of preparation thwarts our journey to success in many ways. Have a speech to make but didn’t prepare, forget about it. You are doomed before you start unless you’ve been blessed with natural oratory skills, you are going to fumble.
Sharon Singh Sidhu wrote about how she earned her confidence stripes by working hard, preparing, and being willing to learn from her mistakes here.
“Most of the time, I’d end up talking about only 20% of what I’d prepared. But I wouldn’t be able to talk about the 20% confidently if I had not put in the other 80% of work.”- Sharon Singh Sidhu on giving a presentation.
Even at home, we fail when we don’t properly prepare. If you’re planning on making dinner tonight but didn’t take the time to ensure you have all the ingredients you need then you may face some obstacles.
You may end up scrambling to find time for a quick grocery stop. You may just decide to risk substituting ingredients and just pray that the meal turns out edible.
We lie to ourselves. We find comfort in the excuses we use as to why we didn’t take the time to prep. In reality, we failed today because we squandered away the hours of yesterday.
Confront Feeling Uncomfortable
Some people will go out of their way to avoid feeling uncomfortable. They’ll take the long way around to evade people and situations.
A confident person doesn’t let the presence of others dictate their actions. They stand tall and confront the uncomfortable situation head-on.
Do this by stop caring what others think. The truth is they aren’t thinking about you. While you’re busy, calculating ways to avoid them, they are busy mentally going down the list of things they need to pick up for dinner.
When you understand that we are all human, experiencing the same stuff then you spend less time worrying about the opinions of strangers.
Embrace Your Weaknesses
We all have strengths and weaknesses. To overcome a lack of confidence you need to embrace those weaknesses. Focus on ways to overcome the weaknesses that hold you back.
You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. The power lies in acknowledging weaknesses because only then can you work on change.
Build Your Tribe
I’m aware that not everyone has someone in their corner cheering them on. I am fortunate to have a Mom that has always believed in me no matter what I pursued. Her faith in me has helped me tremendously, especially when I felt extremely insecure.
Build a tribe of supporters. The beauty of technology is that we can connect with like-minded people across the globe. If you don’t have supporters in your everyday life then join meetup groups and online platforms where you can connect, share your passion, and build that support network.
You can fake the appearance of confidence but you can’t fake the feelings that go along with it. Even if you appear cool, calm, and collected to the outside world, you’re still a sweaty mess on the inside. You want your insides to match your outside. You have to feel your best to be your best.
We’re In This Together
You are not the only one that struggles with confidence. Even the most boastful person you know experience moments of uncertainty.
It’s important to know that there isn’t some magic solution that will wipe away your feelings of insecurities forever and you’ll become some confident powerhouse. Even the heavy hitters experience a case of the bubble guts when it’s showtime.
Just remember, take the time to prepare so that you can give your best every time. As you master your trade, faith in your abilities will increase and your confidence level will rise. Confidence flows when you’re at peak performance so always prepare to display your best and you’ll garner genuine credibility for your efforts.