Have you ever heard the phrase, “do it scared”?
This is one of those phrases I keep at the back of my internal filing system and pull out any time I need an extra dose of confidence.
In my youth, I was actually a competitive pianist. Starting from the age of ten, my mother would drive me all over Arizona to compete in the statewide music competitions where I would perform and receive ratings against other kids in my division.
When people thought I was confident, but I was really terrified
This may be the first time in my life where “do it scared” really played out. People would always say I was a good performer and how I had this knack for making it look so easy.
Well, it wasn’t. I was terrified every time.
I remember how cold my hands would get before I played. My teacher would even bring gloves but they didn’t seem to help warm my icy fingers.
The worst was when I had to sit and wait while the other performers would play while my fingers grew colder and colder – especially when they were incredible. Talk about making it look easy!
I remember one year, there was some kind of leak or burned out electric unit in the building… I don’t remember exactly what the issue was but it was bad enough that they decided to open up the doors to the performance hall.
Typically these rooms were dark, with only stage lighting. Three judges would sit in the back and take notes while you’d play. They didn’t speak and sometimes their stone-like faces made no expression at all.
This particular time, they had to pause the program so they could open up the doors to the recital hall to help air out the room. I remember the feeling of relief that came over me as soon as those doors opened. The welcomed light in this dark and stuffy room was just enough to help me breath, get my blood flowing again, and relax my nerves ever so slightly.
It was an added jolt of confidence because somehow the light shining through reminded me that this closed off space wasn’t everything. That fresh air and sunshine brightened up the room and for the first time I actually felt confident going on stage.
This was a rare occasion, of course. I don’t recall any other time during my 10 plus years of performing that I actually felt confident on stage… Most of the time, I was just doing it scared.
When fear is rooted in insecurity
There’s this other type of fear that comes in the form of insecurity. In most cases, insecurity is rooted in a false narrative we’re telling ourselves.
We tell ourselves things like, I’m not good enough, successful enough, qualified enough, pretty enough, rich enough, confident enough… you fill in the blank.
We ALL battle these internal lies, but some of us more than others. If you find yourself believing these lies and struggling to overcome them, I encourage you to fight them simply by responding with truth.
Every time these insecurities creep up, speak truth over yourself. Even if you don’t believe it, you need to say it. A wise counselor once told me, feelings follow fact. So even if you don’t feel the truth you’re telling yourself, speaking the truth over and over will eventually stick and belief will follow.
When I think back to my youth and my shaky hands on the piano keys, doing it scared meant stepping onto the stage anyway… choosing to act according to the truth vs. the lie. And the truth was what reminded me that I had practiced for months, I knew my piece and could play it with my eyes closed, and even if I made a mistake, I knew how to recover.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What lies are you believing about yourself?
- In what way do you need to transform your thinking?
- In what area do you lack the most confidence? Why?
- If your worst fear became a reality, what would be the result?
- What truth will you choose to believe today?
You CAN grow in confidence
A sweet young woman recently asked me, “how are you so confident? You make it look so easy.”
The truth is, confidence doesn’t just show up one day like an out-of-town visitor pulling the pop-in. In rare cases, you may feel confident because of an unexpected twist of events like I experienced during my piano competition, but in reality, most of us are doing it scared.
And that’s okay because doing it scared requires bravery. It takes courage to do the thing you know is right, take a leap of faith into the unknown, or voice an unpopular opinion simply because your voice needs to be heard.
Even though most of us don’t particularly enjoy fear or walking through uncomfortable situations, those courageous steps develop inner strength, which builds confidence over time. The more you bravely walk through fear, the more confident you will become.
That doesn’t mean someday you’re going to wake up and all that fear and insecurity will be gone, it just means you’ve learned that doing the brave thing is always worth it in the end. It’s then that you’ll realize that walking through fear, laying down your insecurities, and doing it scared is the stuff that confidence is made of.
about the author…
Danielle is the founder of The Brave Collective, writer, creative director, career coach and speaker. She is a wife and mom of 2, and is passionate about championing women to develop and use their voices bravely in the area they influence.