Confidence is a Choice

One word that people have always used to describe me is “confident.” And I am, mostly. Partly because I have failed a lot. 

I’ve performed comedy to crickets. I’ve been dumped, a few times. I’ve been fired. I’ve also performed in front of thousands of people, created a loving marriage, and sustained a well-oiled six-figure business for a decade. 

My confidence doesn’t come from wins or losses though. It comes from a choice, not a feeling. I choose to act confidently, regardless of how I might feel in the moment. In spite of how I feel in the moment.

Where most people get stuck is when they wait to feel confident before they take action. This is a Catch-22. They are not taking action because they don’t feel confident, and they don’t feel confident because they’re not taking action. 

When people come to me and confess this conundrum, one of my first questions is, “What if you WERE confident?” Assuming a state of confidence gets you into imagining what you want to experience outside fear and “stuckness.” 

Our unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between real or imagined fears. 
Our reptilian brain (the amygdala) is designed to pay attention to danger, threats, and worst case scenarios. It doesn’t know the difference between a tiger about to attack or a silent audience. BOTH are experienced to the brain as real threats. 

Our creative mind (the frontal lobe) counteracts our survival instincts and makes rationality, organization and imagination possible. To take healthy risks, like public speaking, requires us to override our fears with this logical and creative part of ourselves. But this tug of war also causes self-doubt, which results in us not “feeling confident.” 

So, when you get stuck in this back and forth in any area, here are a few questions to consider: 

“If I knew I could not fail, I would…” 
“Is there a better way to look at this?”
“If I WAS confident, I would…” 

In this way, confidence is a powerful state of mind you can imagine yourself in and then work from, not toward. It’s a true mindset shift from where new actions and new results take place. 

The result of that? 

by Taren Sterry, MA,CT, PCC
Professional Certified Coach & Trainer
Founder, Big Time

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