Confidence, at its very root, means “with faith” or to have full trust. Why is it that, instead of believing in ourselves, we tend to put our trust in other people and in systems to think for us and to tell us who we are, why we exist, what we have capacity to do, and how much our lives are valued?
Early in my career, I looked to other people to answer these questions for me. During my time of annual review, for instance, I always experienced a tinge of anxiety and defensiveness in my performance evaluations as I listened to the person in the power seat deliver a subjective discourse on my performance, capacity, and value to the company based on their interpretation of numbers and brand of deductive reasoning. There is nothing wrong with this, as this is what I signed up for when I chose to work inside a corporate system. And likewise, as a supervisor myself, I had to deliver appraisals to employees who reported to me. The most common question many employees ask their supervisor at the end of their review, and I was no different, was “What do I need to do to get promoted?”
This common question provides an insight into one’s level of consciousness. So many people assign their worth to a title or position, even though a company can take those away at any moment. To ask this question might be problematic for many reasons, among them:
- It could denote a mindset of powerlessness.
- You might defer to other people’s judgment of your future rather than defining or creating it for yourself.
- As a result of the above, your tendency might be to play along like a puppet, sometimes mimicking or conforming to other people rather than being true to your own unique talent, personality, and identity.
If this resonates with you, then challenge yourself to develop more self-confidence; that belief, freedom and trust in yourself to accomplish great things. This is how you grow in your personal power and become clear about how you see yourself and your role in this world.
A major key to growing self-confidence is to take risks. This is because every risk taken leads to a deeper revelation of your truest self. Like taking a test, you have to expose yourself to challenges and opportunities to get to the bottom of how much you really know, where you naturally excel and fall short, and who and what you truly believe and value.
Taking risks facilitated the development of my self-confidence, even when the risk itself led to an unpleasant result. For example, I took advantage of opportunities that pushed me outside of my comfort zone, such as auditioning for film and stage roles, going back to school to obtain a second degree, forgiving and providing second chances to people who hurt or disappointed me, learning to play a sport even though I’m not athletically inclined, taking leadership assignments that stretched me, and ultimately leaving Corporate America (and the money, benefits and perks attached) to start a business.
Exposing myself to those tests and challenges rooted my self-confidence in two areas:
- Being spiritually-centered. The most stable, consistent and reliable source in which I can base my identity, hope, and potential is not on any person, government or worldly system, but rather on my obedience and alignment to biblical wisdom and natural laws. Success is built inside obedience to laws. You have a higher probability of experiencing personal safety and well-being, protection, as well as respect and admiration from others than if you violate laws.
- Developing my gifts. Success is not only built into obedience to laws; it is also built into your gifts—those seeded, God-given talents we all carry inside of us. Taking risks helped me to discover what I naturally do well, how I am energized the most, when I feel the strongest, and where I am most validated. Your gifts, not your education, create space for you in this world. When you discover, develop and share your unique gifts with others, you make yourself valuable. People respect and pay for what they value.
Fear of losing is what paralyzes many people from taking risks. If the same is true for you, then remember these two truths:
- Losses are useful in sculpting and enhancing your overall personal and professional development as much as winning.
- Money is replaceable. Time is not.
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