Risk Builds Confidence
I have loved public speaking from a very young age. Even though I wasn’t a very hard or engaged worker in my school career, I always excelled in public speaking and drama. It wasn’t as though I never felt like I was going to throw up before I walked out in front of a group of people. It isn’t also as though I was popular as a kid, or had a lot of fans out in the crowd. Getting in front of people was simply the kind of rush that did it for me. In the way that some people enjoy dangerous sports, and others enjoy getting tattoos and piercings, I enjoy speaking in public.
As an adult now, I can see how much taking that risk over and over again did for me. It built my confidence, because I was able to prove that I could do things that I was afraid of, and I could succeed at them. I was lucky to have discovered a talent that I had for doing this at a young age. I am not saying that the fear ever wears off completely, but it has certainly diminished for me when it comes to speaking publically, so I have had to find other outlets through which to challenge myself. In the past few years the thing that I have been doing the most of is testing my own honesty. In my writing, I have been sharing some pretty honest and personal stories, and their reception has been fantastic. I have discovered that people really enjoy reading an honestly retold experience.
One of the hardest things that I have had to do is to embrace my talent and not be afraid to put it out there. I am a good novelist, and ironically I seem to have a talent for painting very intimate scenes in a respectable light. This is not an easy thing to share, especially when my own stepmother is one of the people who helped to edit my first novel; talk about uncomfortable. But having done it, and lived through it, and not having died of embarrassment, has done more for my self-confidence than I can explain.
I think that there are a lot of people out there who honestly know what they would love to do with their lives, they simply have a fear of rejection and failure and they are holding themselves back form taking the leap. That is a gigantic shame; because we need more people out in the world who are doing things that they are passionate about doing. Baby steps can help. Just like the public speaking for me, confidence can be found in testing ourselves in so many different ways. Challenging ourselves to tell our friends or loved ones how we truly feel about them, expressing ourselves through art or music that no one else even has to see or hear, even daring ourselves to finish an outlandishly long or difficult book can bring us the confidence that we need to take an even larger step. One thing I do know: watching Monday night football, or a three-hour line up of sitcoms will definitely not build us up. We have been conned into complacency, and we desperately need to challenge ourselves to find our way out. Everyone has a different way; it’s time that we each start searching for our own.