There are many times in my life when I've chosen to be confident when I didn't necessarily feel confident. It just seemed to me a better alternative than allowing my fear to be in the driver's seat. I had never heard it put this way though until recently in a podcast and then again in a book: Confidence is a choice. You know how in life a message seems to come to you repeatedly at times as though it wants you to take notice? When that happens, I do take notice and often write about it here in the newsletter. Especially since confidence relates so much to creating or believing in ourselves in any creative endeavor.
Pretty much all of us want to feel more confident at least in some areas of our lives. We may feel very confident in some things, like making a good meal, making cookies, planning a trip, etc. It's no coincidence that we feel more confident in the things we've done more of. Experience and success lead to confidence, right? We feel less confident in new things, things we are learning or don't have much experience in.
For example, I am now very confident in designing, recording and producing online art classes. But I certainly wasn't the first time I did it back in 2019! Now I'm designing my first live class that we may do in April and it's taken me lots of thinking, research and frankly procrastination because it's new to me. Mostly I worried that the technology would fail in the middle of it because I love talking to you all while painting! There are a few strategies I've learned along the way that help me forge ahead on things when I'm not at that "experienced" level of confidence yet.
1) Set the right intention. This one is big. It seems obvious that we benefit from being intentional but we often just get caught up in our emotions and bypass this. For example, "My intention is to practice painting leaves for 30 minutes today" is much more productive than "My intention is to paint something great today."
2) Focusing on how good it will feel to have done the particular thing and eventually get to that "other side" where it's not as new or scary.
3) Being fully confident that I can always learn. If it doesn't go the way I'd intended, I learn. I can ALWAYS count on learning, that is comforting and calming to me. It also redirects the goal from doing something well to just learning something instead.
4) Is there anything can I research or learn or solve that will increase my confidence? This one can quickly turn into procrasti-learning, so be mindful lol. We can avoid all kinds of things with research, watching videos, reading about it, and never actually doing it right?! Raise your hand class collectors 🙋🏻♀️
5) And finally, just do it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear exists in our brains to protect us from danger. It's like our brain has missed a few updates and hasn't gotten the good news that painting or learning something new is not actually dangerous. Fear is just a feeling and a feeling can't actually hurt us. We do a lot to avoid feelings we don't like but those feelings are just brain synapses connecting creating these feelings, they aren't anything actually there. This helps me see fear for what it actually is. For more on this see my blog post, "Putting fear in its place."
The crazy thing is that somehow we think that confidence will be instilled from someone on the outside. If we receive enough praise for something, we think we will feel confident but that doesn't really correlate, there are lots of public personas who get lots of praise and still lack confidence. Confidence isn't about truth either. Who knows what "truth" is anyway? No one can ever define or agree on it (especially when it comes to art and creating) so it's a concept that doesn't serve us in this context. Confidence is an inside job and we can choose it right now.