Learn how to challenge self-doubt and embrace your true potential

Faith Wood: Do you suffer from a false sense of no confidence?What can you control in your life?

Your health? What others think of you? How happy your lover is? The weather? Your finances? Your future? Your appearance? Your mood? Other people’s moods?

Can you control these things completely or just influence them to some extent?

If you’re at all like me, the words, “You can do it!” are enough to set off an alarm bell in your head. Your inner voice says: “The last time I fell for that, I broke every bone in my body! or “It’s a tough world out there, and I’m not in such great shape in here,” or “I don’t think I’m up for any more of that positive-thinking stuff,” or “Maybe YOU can do it, but I happen to know from hard personal experience that I can’t.”

As bruised victims of every program that ever promised 10 easy steps to self-esteem, self-discipline, willpower, or a positive attitude, some of us suffer from the misguided belief that self-confidence has abandoned us completely.

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“Who do you think you are?” echoes in your mind whenever you think about going after what you want. And so you hesitate, procrastinate and settle for less than you are capable of. You tell yourself it is because you lack the confidence to pursue your dreams. You simply don’t have the tenacity others seem able to muster up.

That is not true. The evidence argues against it.

When you were young, you knew perfectly well what you loved and what you wanted. And you went after it without hesitation. If you saw a cookie on the table, you didn’t think, “Can I get it? Do I deserve it? Will I make a fool of myself?” You climbed after it.

You piled boxes one on top of another and did everything possible to get that cookie. If you didn’t get it, it didn’t stop you from going right after the next wonderful thing you saw.

You didn’t need “self-confidence” when you were young. You had marvellous freedom to be who you were.

By the time you were five or six, however, the right to make choices based on your own wishes began to erode. As soon as you were old enough to control yourself and sit still in school, the honeymoon was over.

You have probably forgotten what it was like to walk into the first grade. You’d just had five years of solid experience – seeing things, knowing things, feeling, hating, and loving things. But schools are not designed to learn from you; they are designed to teach you. Inadvertently, they created the impression that your innate knowledge, tastes, and opinions were of zero value.

By ignoring who you were, they cancelled the rich inner world you had brought in with you. You gradually forgot who you wanted to be and became what others felt you should be. Today, you scroll through social media and compare your progress to others (who may or may not be telling the truth). In the process, you decide you don’t quite measure up. You are scared to take risks and possibly fail. Avoiding possible ridicule has become more important than chasing your dreams.

When we compare our progress to others, we put ourselves at a disadvantage. We lose our individuality, and our ability to be innovative and solve large problems with creative intelligence is silenced. We begin to suffer from a false sense of no confidence.

This behaviour has to stop. Those doubting voices are like a bully boss; it is time to challenge them. When a seed is given good soil and plenty of water and sun, it doesn’t have to try to unfold – it just unfolds. In fact, it can’t help unfolding. And neither can you.

Confidence is a process, not a product. Allow the journey to begin.

Faith Wood is a professional speaker, author, and certified professional behaviour analyst. Before her career in speaking and writing, she served in law enforcement, which gave her a unique perspective on human behaviour and motivations. Faith is also known for her work as a novelist, with a focus on thrillers and suspense. Her background in law enforcement and understanding of human behaviour often play a significant role in her writing.

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