I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, until I was 15, when I moved to the United States. Through out my secondary school experience, I was always elected to participate in school functions like debates and quiz competitions. I remember the experience of these events that put me on a stage in front of my fellow students and teachers, sometimes the competitions even aired on national TV stations in Nigeria like AIT (African Independent Television). This was nothing to me. I would excitedly rehearse these debates and would confidently stand on the stage with my fellow school debaters and our competition from other schools. I would walk to the stage confidently, grab the microphone confidently and own that stage without thinking twice about it or what others were thinking about me. All that mattered was that I wanted to justify my points on that debate, and deliver a great talk.
When I think of organic confidence, the image and feel of this secondary school debate experience shows up in my mind. No faking, being my real self because I didn't have any other self I could have been. I focused on the points of my debate, optimistically as I always felt adequately prepared to go on stage. I was excited because it truly made me feel relevant and privileged that I was chosen to represent my school.
So why is it that today, that story is different? For the past few years I feel like I have shrunk, played small and have not allowed myself the glory of shining my gifts like the child I was at that time.
"You are alive for a purpose, and you must not die with that purpose buried in you. The only way to live that purpose is to confidently own your gifts and talents."
We all recognize what is ours. We recognize our innate potential. We recognize our gifts and talents, we recognize the things that we know and the ones that we don't know. We know ourselves better than anyone else can ever know us. Why is it that we are not all being recognized fully for the things we carry that we can offer to the world and add value to the world with? What is stopping us from fully owning it and living life to the fullest the way we would absolutely love to?
How we show up in the world really matters. We show up small, petite, fearful, weak, apologetic, sorry, shameful, confused, uncertain and we get feedback that reflects the exact same thing. We wonder why we can't get the sort of value we feel we deserve? It's because we are not owning who we are and what we know which is how the story of "I am not good enough" holds us down in bondage.
Here are some simple and quick tips I am practicing for myself but would love to share with you if you are in the same boat:
Identify outrightly what you feel you are best at : Even though you already know, ask yourself in plain terms what it is about you that makes you YOU. Identify your skills such as writing, speaking, maths, people skills, helping etc. whatever they are, take huge note of it.
Know it is possible and make a decision: The confidence loophole constantly says "It is not possible." That is what the loophole really is. So why try? Why take risks? Why put myself out there and for what really? The thought that what we want and what we desire is impossible is what makes us forever abide in lack and want. it is what permits us to continue to play small and remain small. it is what steals from us for all that richness we have to offer, so we remain BROKE! Know that what you want and desire is very possible and make a decision! Decide to pick an area of focus. Decide to set realistic goals with a timeline. Decide to plan, decide to pursue, decide to prioritize, decide decide decide! Just decide on something and save yourself time from indecision. Indecision is a time waster and it's a decision by default!
What's the worst that can happen?: Lack of confidence mostly stems from fear; fear of failure or fear of success. One way to overcome the loophole is to keep learning the wheels required to adjust the mindset -- the mindset of what practically can possibly go wrong if you do or you do no based on the scenario. When we frame our mind with a practical understanding of what's the worst that can possibly happen, we combat fear right in the face because we see that we have absolutely nothing to lose but everything to gain; even when we fail we are still gaining because we are learning.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Confidence is an action word! To be truly confident in any area of our pursuit, it requires us to keep doing. So my advice is to KEEP GOING. Keep up at what it is we desire to be confident in. If you're starting a business and not feeling confident in your business, keep at it and don't give up. With each sale, each productive outcome, confidence will emerge. We need confidence to put our ART out there, we need confidence to feel like we are worthy of appreciation for putting our art out there...ENOUGH OF PLAYING SMALL, FEELING SMALL AND NOT FEELING CONFIDENT ENOUGH!