Addressing Self-Doubt & Finding Confidence

Self-Doubt, confidence, failure, more than dreamers, dreams, entrepreneur, motivation

“Hi, I’m a Life Coach, well, I’m trying to be…”

I said, after introducing myself at a recent networking event. For some reason, I felt completely uncomfortable giving myself this title that I had been working so hard for. It was my first time presenting myself to others AS a Life Coach. Not just saying I had been in school to become one.

It was this moment where, clearly, I seemed to lack all confidence and assumed I was being internally judged for having such a lofty title. “Life Coach.”

The word vomit kept coming. “It’s just really hard trying to juggle school and my day job and trying to take on clients…”

Blech! I wanted to punch myself in the face so that I would stop talking. It was a moment that replayed in my head for days. Why was I putting so much weight on this title? Why was I lacking so much confidence?

Recently, I did a survey and asked , “If you could improve 1 thing about yourself, what would it be?” An overwhelming response was: confidence.

Me too. Me too.

So I spent days thinking about it. Talking about it. Reading about it.

Here’s what I found.

When I was promoted to a Management position at my job almost 6 years ago, I had no formal experience (well, once I was a Manager at a Beanie Baby store when I was 17, but then my Mom called the owner and told them I couldn’t work there anymore because I needed to go to sleep earlier because I was still in high school. Anyway…). I was what was referred to as a “known risk.” I’d been around a few years, people knew my reputation, my personality, my strengths and my shortcomings. In my interview, I was asked if I was “ready?”

Surprisingly, I considered the answer to that question a lot. Was I ready to do a job I had never done? But this question was often interpreted as, “Do you think you can do the job?” My response was, “‘Ready’ is a relative term.” And then went on to explain that I was aware there was a lot I didn’t know and would need to learn but that I was 100% committed to doing whatever it was going to take.

I wanted to be this thing, so I was committed to growing myself to become it.

Basically, my decision to be something + my actions = I am that thing.

There’s this saying in the church.

“God qualifies the called, not calls the qualified.”

If we remove the biblical context, it’s the same as the earlier equation. The decision to be something almost always comes before the ability to do so. But we sure do put a lot of pressure on ourselves to flip it around.

Ultimately, our ability or skill level has nothing to do with who we say we are. Referring to oneself as a Photographer has nothing to do with whether you are a mediocre one or an extraordinary one (unless you specifically state that part of it…but that’s weird. Who does that?). Let’s break it down. When I had a Photography business, I had a camera, I took pictures with it and people gave me money. Sounds legit to me. That’s really all that’s required. It’s up to me to hone my craft and go from a “good photographer” to an “incredible photographer” but, regardless, I am a Photographer.

Here’s one more that a larger population might relate to (Danette might say otherwise).

A woman discovers she is pregnant and is going to keep her baby. The moment the child is born, she is a Mother. Whether she is a good one or bad one is irrelevant. But she’s committed herself to figuring it out. She is a Mother. For better or worse.

Decision + Action = Result

Here’s what I’ve finally decided about this whole confidence or lack thereof thing:

We should not gain our confidence from our abilities, but gain our confidence from our commitment to improving/evolving our abilities.

When I was 18 I made up my life’s mission statement (who does that? Me. Nerd, I know.), “I want my life to be a catalyst that propels others into their destiny through a foundation of belief.” (Sounds like a Life Coach mission statement if I ever heard one). I will be 33 years old in 4 days. Because I’m a Math nerd; That’s a 15 year commitment. I’m committed. No question. And for most people who know me, my actions (or behavior) are also in alignment. Regardless of whether my title is Life Coach, Leader, friend, sister, Mentor, blah blah blah. I should be confident that I’m committed to this thing!

I have no reason to lack confidence. I am a Coach. I’ve been acting like one for years, it’s ok to start calling myself one.

Here’s why all of this is important: only you know your true level of commitment. Nobody else can tell you otherwise. It cannot be compared to another’s. Nobody else can tell you that you are or you are not committed. Ability can be assessed, commitment not so easily. We can, however, assess our own levels of commitment. We know how serious or not seriously we are taking something. And if we aren’t seriously committed, then we probably shouldn’t call ourselves such.

But if you know you are COMMITTED to whatever it is you’re doing, whether it be starting a business, being your 100% authentic self around others, or deciding to become healthier, be confident in your commitment to giving it your best…and have grace with yourself when you aren’t (don’t confuse discipline with confidence).

So, where have you been falsely placing your confidence (or sense of self worth) in your abilities? I encourage you to re-assess. Commit to yourself instead. Remind yourself you’re learning and will be learning for the rest of your life. Mastery will come, perfection is not required.

Wake up, Sleepy head. We’ve got work to do.

cat sleeping, sleepy head, time to wake up, action breeds action

What’s the best way to wake up a stubborn person to get the most out of them?

This is basically what my life’s work consists of. Figuring this out.

People full of unique potential who are stuck in their own ways and need to be shaken to wake up and take advantage of the gift and talents that the universe has bestowed upon them.

Trouble is, it turns out that not many people actually want to live a life doing what they love. Or so it seems.

I can probably count on one hand, people I personally know (and I like to think I know a pretty decent number of humans) that are actually living a life of pursuing work that matters to them.

It’s absolutely bonkers to me.

What it tends to come down to is one of 2 things: lack of belief or pure laziness.

Some disguise it with “I have no idea where to start…”

I get that. I have been there with many things, such as writing a book. Especially when you’ve never written one in your entire life.

But you know what uncovered one step and then the next and then the next and then the next? Action.

Action discovers more action. Action breeds action.

Stuck is generally a result of inaction.

Example: my brain place says, “dominique! You need to write a book on overcoming excuses and pursuing your dreams!”
Me in response to myself: “dominique! That’s absolute insane. What would you even call it?”
My brain: “So What!”
Me: “okaaaay. That’s not a bad title. But what the heck would I say?! How do I even get started?”
My brain on my drive to work that day: *information being downloaded to my brain at an overwhelming rate*
Me: “Ok, what next? Do I just data dump?”
My brain: start with a skeleton of chapter breakouts of the main points

Then chapter breakouts led to a skeleton of a book. Then I did a whole bunch of research on how to write a book. Learned that I need a book proposal to create clarity. Made one. Did some writing (by “some” I mean a WHOLE LOT). Started by practicing with a blog. Developed my voice. Asked people lots of questions. Learned more. Learned I needed a Literary Agent. Currently looking for one.

The point is, I didn’t stop. Even when I had no clue what to do.

Taking action will always uncover more action.

Sometimes too much action. Action that will make me distracted. And then I have to get back on track.

Today, people want the results without the action. Generally, laziness disguised as a limiting belief or vice versa.

Here’s the deal. Just START somewhere.

I’ve come to a point in my life where I have realized that regardless of WHEN I finish, I WILL finish as long as I keep going. It doesn’t have to be on a specific date by a specific year and hit this gigantically overwhelming milestone. I will get there when I get there as long as I keep taking action.

Are goals and milestones good? Sure, deadlines are helpful to assess progress. But I can’t live or die by them. Or make myself think, “There’s no way I am going to get this done by then!” And then do nothing at all. Because why even keep going?

And that’s where I needed to throw cold water on my face to wake myself up.

Why? Why do I need to be done by a certain date? Sure having praise and accolades would be super cool but there’s literally no answer other than, because “maybe I’ll never finish.”

Ok.

That’s a possibility. If I die tomorrow, I definitely won’t finish. So that could be the result whether I take action or not. But If I do continually take action and I don’t die tomorrow or some other crazy thing doesn’t intervene…I’ll hit it.

And so, resume action. Always.

When we take action, we will inevitably run into the next step. Just like driving to my Mom’s house. Eventually, If I keep driving, I will have to turn out of my neighborhood and keep driving. When I get to the stop sign, if I don’t turn right, I won’t get there. But I know I need to turn right. And if I didn’t know, I can ask Siri. Or call my Mom and ask her. Or find a map with her address on it. There are actually many ways to find out and discover what the next step is. And then, I leave the stop sign and keep driving towards her house. Until I get there.

We are terrified to do anything without knowing all of the exact steps of how to do it. And so we don’t even try. Inaction. Stuck.

But here’s my thought:

What a boring life.

And so, I will spend my life taking action in finding ways to wake you up.

Some, I might need to jolt you awake. Some I might shout at. But, some I might have to do it gently, lovingly and maybe entice you with the aroma of a delicious breakfast. Then once we are there, we can have a great conversation about your thoughts, fears, limitations and what it will take to get you to take some action.

What I do know…is that I am tired of talking to myself about it. I’m already convinced you are great. Let me convince you. I mean, who doesn’t like hearing how great they are?