This is a topic that I often need help with myself. Confidence. In fact, I’ll be completely transparent and tell you that as I was writing this I began doubting if what I had to say would be even be relevant. Yep. I lost confidence in myself. The struggle is real. Especially if you are working hard toward a dream that seems big and audacious. The “unknown” forces us out of our comfort zone, and finding the confidence to press on can be challenging for all of us. However, I also think it is something each and every one of us can work on, and overcome.
It’s easy to portray confidence on the outside, but inside we are often timid, or in some cases, flatout terrified. Maybe for you it’s a struggle to even feel confident in any situation let alone trying to act that way. I want you to know that you’re not alone. And more importantly, I believe you CAN be that confident person you’ve always dreamed of being with a little hard work.
You have been created to live and operate in confidence. It’s time to tell yourself to “STAND UP!”, because you have everything it takes to walk in the assurance of your purpose. No more sitting on the bench for you. Here are six simple tips on how to begin doing just that.
But, before you can be confident you need to know what that means. Confidence is “the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.” Your truth should be, “I AM ABLE!” We all need to learn how to have a mindset of certainty in ourselves and our abilities. Which brings me to my first tip.
Believe in yourself.
You are here on this planet for a reason, and you have gifts and abilities that are unique to you. No one else is YOU! God created each of you with a meaningful plan and purpose for your life. You have significance! And it is important for you to be your own encourager, and to frequently tell yourself, “I can do this!”
Begin learning how to stand up for your own talents and potential. A good homework assignment that I challenge you to do is to make a list of your strengths. Are you a great communicator, an encourager, extremely organized, or a people person? Write those things down and review your list frequently. Especially on those days when you are doubting yourself. Seeing your strengths in writing is powerful.
If you’re struggling with knowing what your strengths are, ask a trusted friend who will be honest with you. Oftentimes, others are better able to see and recognize our strengths and giftings than we are ourselves. First and foremost, believe in yourself.
Find Your Cheerleaders.
When you are pursuing a dream it can be scary. I was deathly terrified to launch my blog. I also doubted my ability to write a book. However, I knew I was being called to do both of those things. Doubt and fear crept into all parts of the process. Those nagging voices kept chirping in my ears and made me second guess my dreams. To keep my dream alive, I needed people around me that I knew would support me and cheer me on. I sought out family and friends that I trusted to encourage me, especially on those days when all I wanted to do was chuck my computer over a highway overpass.
Find those people who will stand up for you, and ask them to hold you accountable when you’re lacking confidence. Ask them to give you frequent pep talks, and allow them to speak truth to you that will keep you going when you’re feeling those pesky doubts creep in.
Understand the Difference Between Internal Opposition and External Opposition.
External opposition are those things or people that say you can’t do something or keep you from accomplishing a goal. An example of external opposition is someone voicing that your idea isn’t good. Or, that you lack the talent or ability to get the job done. External opposition is for the most part, relatively manageable and can be overcome if you commit to ignoring it and pushing through.
However, internal opposition is what can really be deadly for your confidence. Internal opposition is when YOU tell yourself you can’t do something. This is the real beast you need to tame. Where are you sabotaging your own success? What lies are you telling yourself that are keeping you from moving forward. Are you convincing yourself that no one wants to hear what you have to say? Or maybe you believe that your gift isn’t unique. Do you think that it can’t possibly be used to positively affect someone else? This is where you need to stand up to that lying voice in your head and commit to breaking down that internal opposition. Stop being the one holding yourself back!
Know Your “Why”.
Your “why” is like gas for your car. A car can’t get to its destination if it doesn’t have fuel, and your “why” is the fuel that is going to give you the confidence to get out of your comfort zone. Really think about why you have committed to your dream. Each and everyone of us has a story that is at the heart of what drives us. Know your end goal. Maybe that is securing financial freedom for your family, or empowering other women to find their voice. Whatever it is, keep your focus on the horizon, and not on the momentary roadblock in front of you. If you can see the bigger picture, you will have confidence to continue pushing on.
Fight Your Fear.
Fear is the arch enemy of confidence. What you are afraid of? Are you afraid of failing? I remember when I first began working as an independent consultant for Beautycounter just over three years ago, my husband bought me an ipad for my new business. When he ordered it there was an option to have it engraved with my name and phone number. Unbeknownst to me, he also had “Beautycounter” engraved below my name. So thoughtful, right? Wrong! I totally panicked! My first thought was, “Oh my gosh! Why did he do that?! What if I fail and end up quitting! Engraving is so permanent!” I immediately let my fears take over and they began sabotaging my confidence.
Fighting your fear is just that, it’s action. It’s not passively sitting back and allowing your fears to paralyze you. You have to take one step everyday, even if it’s small, toward overcoming your fears. That may be signing up for that class you always wanted to take. Perhaps it’s going to the library and learning how to start a non-profit. This goes back to getting out of your comfort zone and allowing that stretch to grow and strengthen your confidence. It takes time, but each action you make will begin to chip away at those chains of fear that are preventing you from moving forward. Stand up to fear!
“Don’t Worry About What People Think!”
As women, I think this is something a lot of us struggle with the most. Myself included. I got a crash course in overcoming this particular confidence destroyer in March of 2017 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. With my diagnosis came a pretty harsh treatment plan that consisted of four rounds of intense chemotherapy and an extensive surgery.
This was a dramatic season of loss for me on so many levels. Loss of my physical strength, loss of my ability to take care of my family, and most noticeably the loss of my hair. Now as a woman, you can imagine how devastating that can be. Never did I ever think I would one day look in the mirror and see a bald headed woman staring back at me. That vulnerability taught me to dig deep inside of myself and really discover who I was.
I was able to see that my worth and my value as a woman was not my outside appearance or my accomplishments, but rather the person I was in my heart. It forced me to learn how to be confident in who I was, not in how I looked. It stripped me of “hiding” behind something we all often take for granted, our appearance.
Being bald taught me not to care when people gave me strange looks or when kids stopped and gaped at me in the grocery aisles. Having this confidence wasn’t something I rocked on day one, but the more I told myself that I didn’t care what people thought, the more that confidence began to grow. Once you stand up to your worry about what people think, you will find a freedom that will unleash a whole new level of potential.
You as a person, and as a woman, have so much to offer. You may have never been told that, but it’s true. And now is the time to stand up for yourself, and begin understanding the ability that you have to positively affect your family, your friends, your community, and beyond. You are the only one holding yourself back, but now is the time to change all of that. Begin walking confidently in your purpose today, and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
My husband took this picture of me years ago in the Egyptian Sahara Desert not long after he and I were married. It is still one of my favorite pictures because it symbolizes so many things for me. Especially as we leave 2018 and toward a new year.
Reflecting on this photo again makes me think how a new year is often a time to look forward. It also gives me a sense of excitement for what the next year has in store. However, sometimes it’s easy to look back and wish for a previous “life”. Or, maybe it’s an old, and comfortable routine you used to know. Maybe because it was easier, without major challenge or struggle.
But, I believe that God brings us into new seasons of our lives for a reason. Often times, these seasons are meant to teach us, grow us, and protect us. Even difficult seasons can bring us more into His fulfillment of the glorious plan He has for each and every one of us.
Even the Israelites, a people that God brought out of slavery in Egypt, had to to wander in a difficult desert before being shown the Promised Land.
Sometimes He takes us out of “comfortable” situations to challenge and teach us. And ultimately He allows us to go through difficulties to strengthen our resolve and show us how to fully trust Him. It’s during these times that we often see His incredible miracles manifested in our lives.
I felt like someone needed to hear that today. If you’re feeling like “going back” to a way of life you knew, but in your heart know it isn’t where God is calling you to be now, stop. Let yourself trust Him and keep putting one foot in front of the other. The road may feel long, but He will never leave you.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.”
It’s sweater weather already? What happened? Yesterday’s cooler temps had me searching for my warmer clothes. I had a panicky moment realizing I had sent my daughters to school without any jackets!
I’m just not in that “mode” yet, even though fall is barreling down on us like a freight train. Today is officially the first day of fall and it got me thinking. It occurred to me that there are similarities between the earth’s seasons and the “seasons” we go through in our lives.
There’s a shift that happens when we go from summer to fall. Even though fall is a beautiful season to be in, (one of my favorites), that transition can be tough.
There is often a lot of work that needs to happen to be ready for that new season, and it can feel overwhelming. For example, there is a decent sized list of things that we typically do to around our house to get ready for fall.
Honestly, this is just the beginning of the list, and it gets overwhelming. All of this feels like a lot of work just to get ready for the next season.
If you feel God is bringing you into a new season of your life you may be feeling like, “This is a lot of work!” Maybe you are working on a new project, or you’re starting a new job. Perhaps you’re feeling called to move to a different part of the country to pursue a dream God has put in your heart.
This can be scary, and you may be tempted to give up. I want to encourage you that all of that hard work and perseverance is worth it.
Everything you are doing right now, is setting the stage and laying the groundwork for what’s coming next. The thought may be crossing your mind, “But I don’t know if I have it in me to do what I’m feeling called to do.” Guess what?
Did you know that the leaves we so enjoy watching change color each fall ALWAYS have those brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows in them? Yep. They’re always there.
During the spring and summer the chlorophyll in the leaves gives them their green color, but when summer ends the decreased sunlight and cooler temperatures cause that chlorophyll to break down. When it does it exposes the other pigments that we see as “fall colors”.
So everything you have to be brilliantly colorful is already inside you! You just need to “die” to the things that are covering them up, like doubt and fear. Let your colors shine!
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
What new thing is God bringing forth in your life? What in your past do you need to let go of? Do the hard work, start breaking a sweat, and keep your eye on the Creator. He designed the seasons, and let Him bring out your beautiful colors that will declare His glory!
This past weekend I luxuriously spent one morning in my robe, drinking coffee, and putting together a Christmas puzzle with my girls. We broke open the box and spread all the pieces out on the table.
I became overwhelmed with gratitude for this moment. To be able to spend time with my daughters, doing something I love without the cloud of illness hanging over my head was wonderful. Just a few short months ago I could only dream of moments like this.
We began working the puzzle, and I was also struck by the symbolism of those 500 random pieces staring back at me. How similar our lives are to this table full of pieces.
Each one reminded me of a chapter in my life. Some of those chapters were brightly colored and full of joy like the smile on the little girl’s face in the picture. Then some of those chapters were dark and difficult to identify like the blackness of the night sky at the top of the wintery scene.
And yet, each piece eventually fit perfectly together to create a gorgeous story.
When the “puzzle” of our life is completed someday and the whole picture is revealed, there will still be visible cracks between all of the pieces. I think these “cracks” are a good reminder of our imperfections and how we are all broken and in process.
God loves you despite your faults and failures. Christmas is a perfect time of year to be reminded of that.
1 John 4:9-10 says, “This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved US and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
I can look back at my life thus far and see all of those pieces. I am able to see how those pieces are creating my story. We all have happy seasons and dark ones. But, without that variety our picture wouldn’t have the depth and interest that I believe God desires for all of us to experience.
So here’s to the lifelong process of completing the puzzle of my life, good times and bad, yet all the while knowing that God loves me and is creating a beautiful picture that only our Creator can.