Last week I shared a post about confidence. Tomorrow is the next step in my journey–I am going to give my first speech at Toastmasters. If you aren’t familiar with Toastmasters, is a place where members develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
So, last night I’m reviewing my speech for probably the 20th time and I start feeling anxious. “What if I get up there and freeze? What if I can’t remember what to say?” The what-ifs bring back all the old emotions and sensations of anxiety.
Before I let my mind disintegrate into what-ifs, I told myself–I might freeze. And if I do, that’s ok. I didn’t join Toastmasters because I had confidence and was a great speaker, I joined Toastmasters to gain confidence and learn to speak in front of people. I’m not there to give a perfect speech. If my gestures aren’t great or my time is too long—or even if I freeze and have to catch my thoughts, that’s ok. If I show up and finish my speech tomorrow—I win.
I wonder, to gain confidence do you have to show up and do the thing even when you feel like an impostor? That has been true in other areas of my life. I felt like an impostor the first time I stood in front of a classroom–like I was pretending to be a teacher. Then, as a young wife, I felt like I was playing house. When the elevator closed at the hospital, and I was left alone with my newborn, I didn’t feel at all like a mom who was prepared to care for this helpless child.
To overcome fear, I know you have to do the thing you are afraid of. I think the same thing might be true for confidence. Confidence isn’t something I can read about, take a course in or follow a step by step program. To gain confidence, I have to show up and do the thing when I feel like a fraud. Because if I don’t, I’ll never be what want to be. It’s a vicious cycle.
Action breeds confidence, and inaction breeds fear.
So tomorrow I’m going to:
- Act like I belong, and I know what I am doing
- Be prepared (Prior planning prevents poor performance)
- Have fun. Smile.
Do you have any tips for me? What do you think? How do you gain confidence? What thing do you need to stop waiting to do perfectly and just do?