Posted by: Cathy | July 9, 2012

Conquer your Fears

Another thing that’s important as you coach yourself – confidence.

Confidence comes from the Latin for “with trust” (fidere). Some people are born pretty self-confident. I happen to be one of those people. I don’t second-guess myself, I know my strengths, I acknowledge my weaknesses, and I know I deserve to succeed if I put in the effort. But what if you aren’t a self-confident person?

Do something to build confidence in yourself; specifically, take one of your fears head on. If you’re afraid of swimming, sign up for a class. If you’re afraid of spiders, take a friend to look at some in the zoo. Need some empowerment, try a boxing class. Tell your fear that you are stronger that it is. Maybe you’ll only get as far as dipping your toe in the water, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Chip away at it until you win.

One thing I did was join Toastmasters 2.5 years ago. This is an international organization that helps people build speaking and leadership skills; but when I first heard about it, I thought it was a wine club. My boss suggested it as a professional development opportunity, though I don’t have to give speeches at work. I was very resistant to the idea at first; I’m an introvert, and I know public speaking is nothing to be feared but I don’t feel comfortable being the center of attention. After considering it a few months, I finally visited a club in my area in September 2009. Everyone was so nice and friendly! I joined and have been going weekly ever since. In my time with our club, I have served on the board, even as president! And I have given 34 speeches, each one stronger than the last. My boyfriend visited and was so impressed, he joined his own club a few months ago. So if you fear public speaking, don’t like being the center of attention, are introverted, or just don’t have courage enough to tackle a bigger fear, I highly recommend Toastmasters.

Some days, though, fear deserves your respect. If you don’t have the energy to fight, take a rest and do something comforting. Make a “comfort basket” for emergencies – stock a favorite comedy dvd, a scented candle, maybe a teddy bear, a cozy blanket, and a tin of your favorite tea (but not food items, you don’t want to regret a binge). Once you’re recharged, maybe visit your fear in a journal. Write an entry as if you just conquered your fear and describe how exhilarated and proud you feel. Then pick a day in the future when you’ll try again to conquer it.

The problem with fears is that we avoid looking at them and that makes them seem scarier than if we just shined a light on them and took a good look. If you think you’re being chased by a big gorilla, that would be pretty scary; but if you turn around and see it’s just a friend in a gorilla costume, you can handle that.

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Responses

  1. […] Back in July, I mentioned that one way to build confidence is to tackle one of your fears head-on. […]


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