Having confidence, to me, is this awesome feeling that feels like you are walking on steady and solid ground, 10 feet tall.
Wanted to share with you some of my thoughts of how to have that feeling.
One of my favorite movie scenes is from the movie Chariots of Fire, where the runner Eric Liddell is running in a race by the ocean. As the wonderful music of Vangelis plays, he asks himself, “Where does the power come from, to see the race to its end?” He then hears his inner voice respond, “The power comes from within.” (If you haven’t seen the movie, give yourself an inspiring treat and watch it!)
When you are feeling confident, it’s like having that inner power propel you forward, and all parts of yourself are conspiring in your favor, cheering you on. It feels like an inner dance that has nothing to do with the externals and how we are doing with our outer achievements. (Interesting that the word confidence at the end sounds like dance!) You just feel good about yourself. That power is in the core of our beings. It holds us, walks us, breathes us, and when you find that core, you also find the confidence to do things that you never thought possible.
Rumi said it best: Life is rigged in your favor! And having that belief makes you feel confident to take action, without second-guessing or doubting yourself.
I want to share with you a specific moment in my life when my confidence was shaken, and how I regained it. It was during the time I was writing my first book, Conversations With the Goddesses. I was feeling terribly insecure and doubtful about my ability to write or think that I had anything to say.
In the middle of this uncertainty, quite unexpectedly, a friend from out of town came to stay with me for the weekend while she attended a neuroscience seminar in the city. She was rather unusual in the way asserted her authority, and had a sixth sense about things.
The night my friend arrived, I shared the doubts and difficulties of my writing with her, and to my surprise, I found that she was listening to me without offering any advice. I was a bit surprised when she knocked on my bedroom door the next morning, while it was still barely light outside, asking me to wake up.
She urgently said, I have an insight about your book and it can’t wait.
She said to me, you have everything you need to write this book. But you lack one thing: confidence. And the reason you lack confidence is that you think you are going to do it on your own. You are forgetting that you have inner support, inner allies, inner knowledge that comes from something beyond you. You are not alone. You already have the information in you and you need to trust it. If you are open to receiving this assistance, all sorts of support will come your way and you are going to write a wonderful book.
I wrote everything she said down in red marker, every word. It was a catalytic moment, and I felt so alive that to this day I have saved that paper as a reminder that confidence and strength come from the knowledge that we are never alone. It comes from that power within. She was absolutely right. Once I opened up to that knowledge, my creativity was unleashed and I was able to complete my first book.
How do we find that power within? That is the question and the inner work that each one of us has to do — to go inside and get a hold of our core. We all struggle with the issue of confidence. It leaves us when things don’t go our way. Like a negative current that tries to consume us and spiral us downward, before you know it you can sink into the quicksand. Reconnecting with that wiser part of us — that knows our value beyond our achievements or outer recognition, and has a larger perspective — is the winning strategy that changes the negative current that comes against us, and transforms it into a positive wave that pushes us forward to our next committed action.
Our negative voices, which play in our head, say to us that we are not good enough.
They lie to us, making us feel that we are less than others and deplete us from the most valuable commodity a human being can have, trusting oneself and one’s inner wisdom. The antidote is radical self-acceptance. I don’t know if you know the character that Al Franken played in a television series called Stuart Smalley, but he famously said “I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” It is a good mantra for all of us to run inside our heads.
I have learned from my mother, who had unshakable inner trust in life, that the ability to create the life you want is not based on resumes and degrees, but on giving yourself permission to be who you are; accepting yourself the way you are; trying new things; not being afraid to fail; and using this world as your playground, knowing that you are writing the script as you go along. But often in our minds and creative imaginations, we start to write scripts that have negative outcomes that undermine us. Our critical voice stops us from attempting something new and following the spark of a new idea. I think Shakespeare said it best, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
There are four principles I have discovered that help me get back to my confidence when it falters.
1. Affirm that you are not alone. What that means, is that we often abandon ourselves, and that creates a feeling of tremendous insecurity. You are the one who has got to have your back and heart. There are three factors to knowing you are not alone: you reach within and you grab hold of your core self; you reach outward and you ask for help; and you reach to others and offer help.
2. Move into radical self-acceptance. Start appreciating every little thing about you, reinforce the positive, and refrain from focusing on lack. When you are feeling insecure, tell yourself, “I can’t afford the luxury of indulging in my own insecurities.” I often play the Bruno Mars song “Just the Way You Are,” which energizes me (and I wonder if Bruno wrote it for me).
3. Don’t wait to be perfect before you take action. You are always going to be a work in progress. Don’t wait for perfect circumstances. We put conditions on our happiness and well-being that distract us from being open to the opportunities that are in front of us.
4. Your presence is required. Call your heart energy present as you are living your daily life. Bring it present in your conversations and all your interactions. Do not disconnect from your heart. It is what brings fulfillment in your day.
Let’s get into that sweet spot of really accepting and cherishing our vulnerabilities, our humanness and ourselves! Let’s embrace the whole package, the things we are good at and the things we are not so good at, because that is how we find our confidence and how we make the ground we walk on not only steady, but sacred.