by Stefanie | 01.08.22
Confidence is a standard character trait for just about everyone until we are taught to doubt ourselves. Think about toddlers—they are pretty terrible at just about everything. They fall down constantly, spill food everywhere, and have no shame about pooping in public. But toddlers keep at it, and eventually morph into increasingly functional humans. Toddlers are able to keep going after each failure; hugs, kisses, and encouraging words are doled out consistently along the way. Every baby step is met with praise, no matter how many tries it took or how many tears were shed.
But with every passing year, more and more is expected of us, and we are afforded less and less patience and encouragement. We start to doubt ourselves and our abilities. We become afraid to try new things because we know that failure in our society is often seen as a detriment or an embarrassment. By the time we leave school and find ourselves in the workforce, confidence levels are often at an all-time low.
How do we fix this plague of self-doubt and defeat the demons on our shoulders, holding us back from the success we deserve? Channel that inner toddler! Not the tantrum-throwing, pants-pooping kind, but the one who wasn’t scared to take those first steps and fail. Start small, be kind to yourself, and give yourself encouragement and praise daily. Celebrate your failures, because without them, you would never find success.
Stephen Spielberg was rejected from film school multiple times. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything. Lucille Ball was told she would never be an A-list actress. J.K. Rowling was a single mother on welfare when she began writing the Harry Potter books, and was rejected by dozens of publishers. The common thread here? Each was told by “someone in charge” that they weren’t good enough or smart enough. The other common thread? Each persevered and let their failures feed their drive to succeed, rather than succumb to waning confidence levels. We all have moments like these where we stand at a crossroad and have to make a decision. If our level of confidence was as high as our desire to protect ourselves, how would our lives be different?
This January, let’s challenge ourselves to slow down and take baby steps. Make five small, attainable goals, and use them as a foundation to build your confidence. Instead of vowing to run a half marathon, aim to move your body three days a week. Rather than swearing off carbs and losing 25 pounds, focus on mindful eating and listening to your body. Relish in each success, encourage yourself through your failures, and surround yourself with people who cheer you on along the way and help pick you up when you fall. Your confidence will grow, and the next time you find yourself at a fork in the road, you will have enough faith in yourself to choose the path that will carry you forward in your journey.