It was 5 minutes before I was about to present in a large presentation, my throat was dry, and I was replaying what I had practiced in my head. I was feeling doubt. Although I knew the material and spent plenty of time preparing to crush the talking points. I felt uneasy. I had taken meticulous notes with diagrams to back my arguments and the crucial data as an added bonus. The time came to pass the bouton to me, and I blanked. The slides looked like hieroglyphics, which caused me to pause, glancing at my notes. I hadn’t even introduced myself yet. It wasn’t due to not preparing or not knowing the information. It was my self-doubt and my lack of confidence. I remember this day clearly because I had painted a picture that couldn’t be erased.
I believed I wasn’t able or worthy, regardless of how much I practiced.
This stems back a long way for me being an avid athlete I have had to compete at various levels. In high school, I was top in the state for track and field, but was terrified every time I got to the starting line. I would even make myself sick prior to races to try to avoid the pressure I felt from my lack of confidence. I became my worst critic, and it impacted my performance, although I was faster than most of my competition. I had to learn to fight my inner demon.. confidence.
It is not to be confused with hubris. It is the belief that you can accomplish what you are made to accomplish. Here is the hard part, people can see your ability, intellect, capability, talent, and experience, but if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. You have to create a mantra or a CAT (CALL TO ACTION). I am able. I am ready. I have the ability and passion to succeed in whatever I am faced with.
See, that day I walked into that presentation or that track meet, I didn’t miss out on the training. I missed out on the mental practice and respect for myself. You are how you perceive yourself to be, so when sitting before that meeting if you are doubting how you sound or what others will think you immediately become your worst critic in the room. You are predestined to fail. Confidence takes patience and diligence, it takes work and for me, it took a lot of work, but I was determined to succeed.
I created 5 powerful strategies to beat my inner demon and boost my confidence.
1. Repeat consistent affirmations when in practice mode.
2. When feeling doubt or unworthiness, I smile in the mirror. Hard to feel doubt when smiling at yourself.
3. Find a power move. Dance it out. Skip. Frolic. Put yourself in a stance that prepares you physically.
4. Meditate regularly.
5. Exercise. We all feel more confident even with 15 min of basic exercise. That quick run around the house will have you coming back feeling like you hiked Kilimanjaro.
If you take away one thing from my experience it is that confidence can’t be given or earned. You have to believe in yourself without a shadow of a doubt. Now go confidently in the direction of your dreams I know you will crush it.
About the author
Joel Wadopian is a master leadership and career coach with over 12+ years of leadership experience at Fortune 500 companies and startups such as Pepsico, Carvana, and Director at Oscar Health Insurance. He has made it his life's mission to help people all around the world transform into the leader they are meant to be.