I Have Confidence In Confidence Alone – Do You? By Carol Malone
Please welcome author and book coach in training Carol Malone. Today she’s sharing her article about confidence and how as shy writers, we need to cultivate it. Enjoy!
Do you remember Sister Maria from The Sound of Music? She sang a little song about having confidence before she plunged into the world of Captain Von Trapp and his seven motherless children. As she sang, she acknowledged her doubts and fears, but she didn’t chicken out or turn back. She knew by showing the father and children she was worthy to be there, she would face her fears, even mistakes without defiance. She found the courage and the confidence she lacked. She recognized that at the heart of confidence lay getting good rest and then waking up to go to work.
As you have written your stories, have you always felt confident in yourself or in the story you’re trying to tell?
I was recently asked to define what confidence means to me. When I thought of confident people, sometimes it’s the braggadocio from people like Mohammad Ali or Donald Trump who stand out in my mind. The “take no prisoners” attitude they display might be termed “confidence,” but to me it is the wrong type of pride. It’s haughtiness, egotism, and conceit. Not for me.
So I Googled confidence and found an article by Travis Bradberry on Forbes.com, titled “12 Things Truly Confident People Do Differently.”
I want to have the confidence that Travis spoke of when he said, “…truly confident people always have the upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish, because they inspire others and that makes things happen.”
I want to inspire other people. I know in the past, I’ve never been happier than when I was helping someone or teaching a class or workshop. I may not have wanted to be a school teacher, but I did want to work with people one-on-one or in a small group setting. Imparting knowledge gives me confidence—at least if I’m prepared.
I’ll use Travis’s list of 12 ways confident people act differently as a gauge to measure my confidence quotient, and if I have fallen short in the past, put a positive spin on things to move forward—with confidence. See if any of these traits are some you’d like to develop.
1. They get their happiness from within:
Travis says it’s going to be much harder for me to feel confident in what I do IF I’m not happy with who I am—what comes from within my heart, and what my accomplishments are. Sad but true. I saw something for a flash the other day as I was flipping through social media which said that we have 50,000 thoughts running through our head on any given day. How many of them are positive and happy? Much to my distress, I had to hang my head and say, not that many. What can we do to develop happiness from our souls?
- Daily work on positive affirmations.
- Meditation to clear the mind and reading for pleasure.
- Consistent writing, either for pleasure or for work.
- Sticking to a plan, a daily schedule, or calendar.
- Finding the positive in other people. Tell them at least one thing we love about them. This is taken from Michael Hyatt’s guidelines in his article, WHY SPEAKING WELL OF YOUR SPOUSE IS SO IMPORTANT – 5 Reasons You Should Get in the Affirmation Business Today,
2. They don’t pass judgment: they aren’t discriminating:
I heard comparing yourself to others diminishes you both. Still we do compare and envy. I just had a brief text conversation with my friend and she told me her son and his young bride just bought a home—they’ve been married less than 3 years. How is this possible? I can’t buy a home and I’ve been married almost 34 years. So what did I do? I envied them their home and their wonderful job and their youthfulness, and I felt awful. How can we stop that?
- It might require gritting our teeth to tell folks how happy we are for their nice stuff, their successes, their writing triumphs, and their happy families. Over time, we should start to feel happy for others. We should hold our tongues if we can’t find something positive to say about someone’s achievement, acquisition, or new stuff.
- Practice positivity in our writing, especially emails and speech.
- Repeat positive affirmations regarding our own accomplishments and of the creative person we are so we won’t need to feel bad because it looks like someone else is getting all the recognition.
3. They don’t say yes unless they really want to:
I want to be liked, to be loved, so what does my fevered mind believe—the more I volunteer to help people, the more they’ll love me. Is the opposite really true? The more I volunteer to help people, the more they take advantage of my giving nature. I know that’s not always the case, but it happens often enough to leave me scrambling for precious time. Again, Travis is spot-on in his thoughts, “[…] the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression.” How can we say “no” without offending people?
- Be gentle with ourselves and find peace in holding our time precious.
- Assess each plea for help and ask for time in considering lending help or not.
- Not jump at the chance to help. Give yourself time to consider all ramifications.
- Stop feeling like you’re letting people down to say, “No.”
- Drop some time constraints right now as they are not fulfilling your needs nor are you helping them by half-way showing up.
4. They listen more than they speak:
How wrong I’ve been in the past to assume that by trying to make myself look good in conversations, to match my friends’ expertise by touting feats of my own, I failed to concentrate on the interaction itself. How would we go about listening more?
- Concentrate on the words people speak, the body language, and their facial expressions.
- Don’t let our minds wander when people speak or try to figure out how to rebut what they’ve said. Listen carefully to what the other says and pay particular attention to certain keywords.
- Look people in the eye when speaking with them no matter how awkward we feel.
- Be being attentive, present, pay attention, and give the speaker feedback and listen to the non-verbal communication.
5. They speak with certainty:
We have a friend that we admire, just met him a few months ago actually. He is confidence on a stick. Bold and forthright, there is nothing shy or retiring about him. His poise and assurance are contagious and I find myself wanting to be like him. How can we be like my friend?
- Know our inner convictions better, feel them. If we’re clear on what to do and how to do it, our minds and bodies will automatically help us succeed.
- If people think we know our stuff, they will be more likely to listen to us.
6. They seek out small victories:
We all need help to get where we want to go and if not for the loving care of parents and family, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My husband, Tim supported me in my pursuit of becoming an author and I need to thank him for that. I have written many manuscripts, published three stories already, written a number more in various stages of completion and what I have accomplished has been a group effort. Along the way we have celebrated our small milestones—victories. What are the steps you can use?
- Set small and gentle goals for yourself, nothing too big or grandiose.
- Get up 5 minutes earlier is a small victory. One more set of arm exercises. Five more minutes on the treadmill.
- Applaud yourself for showing up to the page then using the page to rest, to dream, to try, as Julie Cameron of The Artist’s Way
- Remember that it is our job to do the work, not judge the work completed. A finished book, IS A FINISHED BOOK!!!!!
7. They exercise:
For a long time I refused to get back into exercising. But when the gym down the street, dropped their monthly fee to $7, I said, “That’s enough waiting.” Though this time at the gym has been extremely difficult, with the help of a personal trainer, I’ve been able to work through pain and stiffness of old age. I’m making the effort. What goals regarding exercise can you make for yourself?
- Set weekly goal to be in the gym and when.
- Vary types and times of exercises, dance classes, and workouts, etc..
- Rest and relax the mind through meditation.
8. They don’t seek attention:
I’ve always been an attention hound mostly because I had to fight for it in a large family with noisy boys. I’ve spent my whole life trying to prove to everyone—including myself—that I was important. Confident people are quiet and unassuming while standing strong for what they believe in. They don’t toot their own horn. They don’t crave the attention because they get their confidence from within. How do we do that?
- Don’t seek the attention of others just to build up your pride.
- Bite your tongue on wanting to add your own story to that of someone else’s during a conversation just to make yourself look better, more accomplished, and more interesting.
- Practice humility by remembering where you’ve come from, the journey you’ve taken.
9. They aren’t afraid to be wrong:
I hate to be wrong, always have. I especially hate book critics. It’s like people are attacking my character instead of trying to help me make my story better. I should be able to put my ideas out there and not fear that if people find them wrong or wrong for them, it doesn’t mean they are attacking me personally. I can be strong enough to admit WHEN I’m wrong. How can we do that?
- Let go of the feeling that we have to be right about everything and stop being afraid to be wrong. (Really, really hard to do.)
- Don’t allow the feelings of embarrassment and humiliation when accused of being wrong to hurt you anymore.
- Don’t make: 1. the ignorance assumption, 2. the idiocy assumption, and 3. the evil assumption about people who disagree with us.
10. They stick their neck out:
Unlike my friend, I don’t see losing ten million dollars as an opportunity to change direction and start again. He totally believes failure is a great way to learn. I’d be devastated. Fearful. That’s why I don’t like putting myself out there—someone might slap me down, or I’ll fail. Yet … I’m a published author. I’ve published 3 books. I’ve successfully completed an anthology for my writing club. I publish a monthly writer’s club newsletter—and not because I didn’t fail more than a few times. So how do we stick our necks out?
- Believe that failure can be a good thing.
- Failure can make us less arrogant and more empathetic.
- Failure is how we learn. So it should be easy to stick our neck out because failure gives people credibility.
- When we risk failure and profound public embarrassment, we free our souls.
11. They celebrate other people:
I have another friend who is totally selfless and compassionate. If anyone in our congregation is sick, she’s there first with a loaf of homemade bread, a kind word, or a phone call. She’s always complimenting me, although I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve her celebration of me. But she builds me up with her celebratory words. How can we be like my friend?
- Comparison is a killer, “rather than comparing, imagine. Imagine yourself feeling the way you want to feel—successful, brilliant, artistically free, earthy, healthy, connected.
- “Bless the people you are envious of. The rich, skinny, in-love, confident, powerful people. Quicker than you can say ‘I wish I had that…,’ say to yourself, or even better, to them, ‘Way to go … you look great … I admire you.’”
- With envy out of our way, we’ll have more space for our greatness to step forward.
12. They aren’t afraid to ask for help:
To me showing weakness is confessing vulnerability and you don’t show other people your vulnerable. You must be a rock even when you don’t feel like a rock. There is a difference between weak and humble. We must be humble enough to ask for help. I believed I didn’t need other people’s help and thought of their offering as an intrusion into my life. What can I do to change that stinking-thinking?
- We should not believe that by asking for help we are, “weak, inadequate, less desirable, helpless, inferior, or any other derogatory label that comes to mind.”
- Believe that asking for help is a sign of strength and wisdom because we’re seeking to know how to do something.
- The person we ask for help will feel good about the gift they are bestowing on us.
I know I have a lot of items to work on if I truly want to be the confident writer and editor I hope to become. Perhaps you might have areas of confidence you might need to develop. I love that that experts, those people who have trod the road before and have left bread crumbs for us to follow. Writing tends to be a solitary career. It truly takes a confident author to put themselves out there and not fear. Good luck! Wishing you confidence.
About The Author
An award winning novelist, Carol Malone writes historical romantic suspense to rocket readers into the past to uncover a hard-fought happily-ever-after. If not hammering out new tales, Carol is reading, watching sports, The Voice, or reruns of Castle with her author husband on the coast of California. She loves to connect with her readers on her website, Twitter, and on Facebook where you’re also invited in for a chat.