In the latest WordPress prompt, they ask us if we are good at what we do, and what would we like to be better at. I find it coincidental* that this subject pops up right when I’ve been discussing the subject of fear and confidence with a few different friends lately. Usually when things like this pop up in various areas, it’s time to write about it!
*Note: I do not believe in coincidences in general. Most of the time, I think circumstances can come together to either push us into where we need to be going, or pull us out of where we have no business being!
Confidence. Ugh. Even the word tends to illicit the response of “fake it ’till you make it!” As I have been reflecting on my last experiences in teaching fitness classes, I definitely lacked confidence. I was trying to fake it, but I was intimidated. Intimidated by the instructor I was taking over for, as well as the experienced gym members who let me know they had “been through a few instructors and weeded out the ones they didn’t like”. Yeah. Awesome. While that class wasn’t necessarily what anyone would call successful, there were lessons o’plenty! Even hard, gut-wrenching experiences shape us for other opportunities down the road, despite our inability to foresee them. (My current gig has been the exact opposite, wonderfully!)
When we are young, everyone asks us “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Who the heck knows? When you have no life experience – how are you supposed to know what you’d like to do or try? I think better questions would be:
“What lights your fire?”
“What do you think you are good at?”
“What can you contribute to your community?”
When I was 5 I wanted to be a performer. An actress, a dancer, a singer – give me a stage! Unfortunately, anyone who has heard me knows I am unable to carry a tune. Growing older, other talents and passions came and went. As a teenager and young adult, the common thread in every job/career I have worked is teaching. I am a teacher by nature. My mother is a teacher by nature. As parents, we are teachers. I love it. I loved that lightbulb moment when while peer-tutoring math in high school, the student lit up when she finally grasped that algebra concept. Easing a new hire into the ropes of her new job – when it was plain she was nervous, then years later offers thanks for making her look up answers herself, so she now knows how to manage and lead her own staff. It’s magic when that happens. Helping other people learn to help themselves. Enter the vehicle of fitness and getting my own health on track – and voila!
Discussing the possibility of running a marathon, a friend recently expressed the desire, but lacks the guarantee of possibility. I know she can. I have no doubt. But, like many of us before any new distance or challenge, we doubt ourselves. We get in our heads about whether it’s possible, instead of making plans to succeed. Why do we do that? We ALL do it. The thought of running another one scares me, too. What if I do worse? Or don’t finish? What if….what if….what if…..?
But what if you kill it?! Wouldn’t it be better to try and stumble, then to always wonder what if? Who might you inspire in the process?
While I would like to say that confidence has come with the knowledge of knowing my skill set, and just like that – life is suddenly perfect. it’s just not the case. It doesn’t work that way. I was TERRIFIED of leading my own bootcamp. Would I be any good? Would anyone show up? Would they do the work? Some dear friends who were more than supportive of my efforts and gave me a little confidence to try. And a little more confidence came. Some set backs, some getting in my own way, distractions, and life. Two steps forward, 1 step back, but persisting anyway. What I’ve found through the process is 2 things:
1.) Confidence comes only when I take a scary first step.
2.) Slow and steady wins the race. I may not have hit all the goals in the time frames I wanted to, but it is coming together, just as it should. Sometimes patience really is a virtue, dang it!
2015 in our world is the year of scary. Scary, exhilarating, confidence-enducing – ACTION. Instead of saying, “I’m planning on…” or “I’m going to….” or “Someday….” It’s now.
What scares you, but secretly excites you?!
Go do it!
(Even if you’re terrified!)