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Confidence??? Or something else...

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

'You've got to have confidence in yourself or you will never achieve <insert goal here>...

'If I had more self confidence I would <insert thing I would like to do>... but I need to learn more, practice more, be better...'

'I would try <insert thing I really want to try> if I had more self confidence... but I'll probably just mess it up so I will wait till I FEEL more confident, then I will try it...'

'I would ask <insert name here> out on a date if I had more confidence, but I'm afraid she/he will say no. So I will wait for a sign that makes me feel more confident... then I will ask...'

Sound familiar? I have heard them all -- and even used them myself, a million times!

Confidence... an incredibly powerful gift if you posses it (responsibly) but an ideal that can keep us stuck in a never ending cycle of self doubt, self sabotage, inaction and regret.

So what is self confidence? Here are a few definitions to help clarify...

'Confidence in yourself and your abilities' (Oxford Online, 2022)

'Great faith in oneself or one's abilities' (Merrian-Webster Online, 2022)

'Certain of your abilities or value' (Cambridge Dictionary Online, 2022)

A great faith in oneself or one's abilities? CERTAIN of your abilities... Confidence in yourself and your abilities?? This leads me to an interesting juncture... and into story time... so make yourself a cuppa, pull up a chair and let me tell you a little tale...

I have recently been spending a lot of time in Ireland. Seems like a strange choice really in the middle of the Irish winter, in the middle of a pandemic (and now with Europe on the brink of war... thanks Vlad...) but I have been telling people since I was about 8 years old (after watching 'Darby O'Gill and the little people 3 billion times - not much of an exaggeration I assure you) that someday I would go to Ireland and meet a leprechaun! Low and behold... 31 years later and two days ago; I spoke to the last remaining leprechaun whisperer in Ireland, and have booked a tour to hopefully see and speak to the little people themselves... was it confidence that finally got me there? Or something else? More on that later...

So here I am in Ireland staying with my business partner; a highly intelligent, self driven and utterly HILARIOUS man who has more personalities (and voices to accompany them) than one man should ever sanely possess... needless to say I am having the time of my life! He is currently in the midst of completely changing his entire life! Where he lives, the kind of work he is doing, what he eats, the relationships he fosters, the company he keeps... a total overhaul. Is it confidence that drives him? More on THAT later also... on with the story.

Soooooo It was going to be unrealistically expensive for me to hire a car whilst in Ireland and my business partner happened to be in need of a little run around. Having decided upon purchase rather than rental, car hunting we did go!

Now a little pre-frame for you. Automatic transmission is virtually the norm now in Australian vehicles... In fact I could count on half a hand the amount of people whom I know that don't own an automatic car. Ireland on the other hand (pardon the pun) is a little different... it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to buy an automatic here... and I personally hadn't driven a manual (or stick shift for those of you playing at home) since I was 17 years old. In fact I deliberately got my Australian licence in an automatic as I was TERRIFIED that one day - attempting a hill start - I would roll backwards into someone; thus irrevocably damaging both cars... a fear I have carried with me throughout my entire driving life! Then there is the embarrassment of stalling a car, which is possibly even more devastating! Now keep in mind I am a VERY experienced driver... I have even at times covered more kilometres in a single trip than some people travel in a whole year... so driving is not the problem in this scenario... but I digress. Back to the story!

After looking around for a week or so, and post a horrifically traumatising drive in a European Toyota Yaris - a NIGHTMARE for me as not only was she a stick shift, her speedometer was in miles instead of kilometres, and was smack bang in the centre of the dashboard... and being that she was European, the wipers and indicators had also swapped sides - far too much for my poor little brain to comprehend! We finally settled on a wee 2006 Volts Wagon Golf.

She was a kind of reddish burnt orange in colour and in EXCELLENT condition. In her hay day she would have been worth a pretty penny as she was the top of the range with state of the art 6 stack CD player, automatic headlights, auto dimming rear view mirror and oh so much more! Her number plate included the letters L.S so I named her 'Lucky Stars'. And yes you guess correctly... she had a manual transmission.

Just have confidence in yourself, you've got this - my business partner had said, sure no problem, right? Here I sat in her ultra comfortable drivers seat gripping the sports steering wheel trimmed with red braiding... hands sweating. I had ZERO confidence. Sure I had scooted around a little with an experienced manual driver next to me... but solo... oh no no no.

I slid the seat forward until my knees were almost pressing against my stomach - lest I fail to push the clutch down far enough - I also jacked it up to its highest point so I could see over the steering wheel (I'm 5ft 1), adjusted the mirror and took a deep breath. I stamped down on the clutch as hard as I could till it was all the way to the floor, turned the key and moved the gear shift from the neutral position to 1st. Somehow I miraculously managed to balance the clutch and go go pedal just right and away we went! 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th woooo hoooooo!!! Lucky Stars!!

I had planned of course to avoid all of the hills in Ireland until I had this down to a fine art - you know, until I was confident enough to take them on - but alas Ireland had other plans and all too soon I found myself stopped on a hill, in peak hour, in Monaghan Town, surrounded by highly skilled manual driving Irish men and women all patiently chugging along in the heavy traffic - when the unthinkable occurred. I... stalled... Lucky.

Horror overtook me as loud beeping emanated from the Jeep behind me. My fingers fumbled to turn the key off and on again as quickly as I could, whilst also putting on the handbrake and waving nervously to the driver behind that I was sorting it out as quickly as I could. Jamming the clutch down, I turned the key and to my great relief Lucky's massive 1.4 litre petrol engine roared back into life.

Like a surgeon poised with scalpel in hand I tried once again to achieve the perfect balance between handbrake, clutch and accelerator in order to move the hell out of everyone's way -when again Lucky's engine spluttered and died - this time rolling ever so slightly backward. By now I was red with embarrassment and barely breathing from the anxiety this little hiccup was causing me. I certainly was not feeling any of that confidence I was supposed to have in myself in order to make this work! After another 2 attempts I FINALLY got Lucky moving again and aside from a little embarrassment no damage was done!

Fast forward three weeks later. I was talking to some coaching friends of mine in a Zoom meeting. We are all currently studying our Masters of Coaching and often enjoy a good D&M before sessions. This particular afternoon we were a having a wee chat about the NLP technique called 'Parts Integration' whereby one part of us wants one thing, but we self sabotage by doing another because deep down we feel that we are unworthy, incapable etc etc. One of the ladies made a comment about how many of us seem to lack the confidence to start our own business. THAT's when it hit me.

Is it really confidence we need. Or something else?

I had been driving Lucky now for almost a month. In that time I had stalled her once or twice more but it had been at least a week or more since then... I had shifted the chair back a wee bit to allow myself some room to move and I had stopped slamming the clutch down every time I was coming to an intersection. In fact, I would often just throw her into neutral and coast along, nonchalantly picking the appropriate gear when the time came. I could even take off in 2nd gear half the time and had become so bold as to skip gears if I didn't think I needed to change through them all. I had driven through some of the hilliest towns in the heaviest traffic and really didn't think anything more of it anymore. My confidence had GROWN!

It is here I will reiterate the definitions of confidence for clarity.

'Confidence in yourself and your abilities' (Oxford Online, 2022)

'Great faith in oneself or one's abilities' (Merrian-Webster Online, 2022)

'Certain of your abilities or value' (Cambridge Dictionary, Online 2022)

HOW can we be confident in our abilities if we don't know for sure what we are in fact ABLE to do?!?! We haven't DONE it yet!!!

Which brings me to my final proposition... perhaps it is not confidence we need to foster in order to take that leap, ask out the man/woman of our dreams, throw in our job in order to start that new business, jump out of a perfectly good plane, take up ballroom dancing, speak to the public or whatever it is that we want to do/try. Perhaps we can have very little or even NO confidence and yet still achieve these ends? What quality would we need to have instead?

What about this one?

'Courage is the quality shown by someone who decides to do something difficult or dangerous, even though they may be afraid'. (Collins Online 2022)

'Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.' (Oxford Online 2022)

'Courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty' (Merriam- Webster Online)

Could courage be the answer?

I had the courage to step outside my comfort zone, drop everything I had ever known and fly across the world to talk to leprechauns and create a completely new future whilst also starting a new business as a Life Coach & placing my music career into the hands of someone I barely knew... As a result my confidence in myself and my abilities GREW!

Despite my lack of confidence I also had the courage to drive a manual car with very little experience in a country where the roads are often little wider than the car itself, the hills are a plenty and patience at times a little thin on the ground. My confidence in myself and my abilities GREW as such that little Lucky may well be entered into the next rally race that comes to Monaghan town! We may even have a shot at winning.

My business partner has copious amounts of courage and it shows in all of the choices he is making in his life right now. Choosing to say NO to people who have often times abused his yes, making radical changes to his diet, his job, his living arrangements and day by day I am watching his confidence in himself and his abilities grow exponentially.

I implore you dear readers... DON'T wait until you feel confident to start something new, it is a fools errand and you will wait a lifetime!

Don't listen to those little voices in your head that say you need to do more, know more, be more before you take the leap. Cultivate COURAGE in your life and your confidence will naturally grow with the experiences you allow yourself to have! Take the chance! Sure, you may stumble, fall, scrape your knee but you will gain EXPERIENCE from which you will LEARN and with knowledge comes understanding and with understanding comes CONFIDENCE!

So what are you waiting for? Have the courage to chase your dreams and your self confidence will grow with every little step you take. You've got this. I believe in you!

~ Jessey ~

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