“Angela, you could be a great tennis player if you were more confident in yourself. The only thing that’s holding you back is you.”
I’ll never forget these words that were spoken to me back when I was in 7th grade. After retiring from gymnastics, I took up tennis and started private training with a coach. His name was Tom, and he was sought after as one of the best tennis coaches in the Valley. As soon as he spoke these words to me, I knew he was absolutely right. After leaving gymnastics, something changed in me. I had dedicated so much time to mastering the sport; and now, those skills no longer mattered. I was learning a new sport…and I often felt frustrated that I was starting from the bottom again.
The summer before my freshman year of high school, my parents moved us to a new school district. I decided to join the tennis team, to make some friends before the first day of school. That year I tried out, I made the Varsity team! I couldn’t believe it. Going through tryouts and then getting selected, gave me confidence that maybe I would never be the next Anna Kournikova; but I was good enough to play with girls 4 years older than me, and that was something to be proud of.
Over the years, confidence has still been something that I struggle with. I think part of it may be that I’m a people pleaser; and because of that, it’s hard for me to be confident in myself when other people aren’t acknowledging my talents. It sounds a bit selfish when I think of it, but in my stubborn mind, I feed off of that approval.
In my blog post, “From PA to CA, What I’ve Learned“; I shared that one of the things I’ve learned in the past couple years, is how important it is to invest in personal growth. That could be reading a self-help book, listening to an educational podcast, taking a class, or spending time journaling/writing. Recently, I listened to a great podcast called “The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes“. He was interviewing Joe Polish, a master marketer who rose to the top and founded Piranha Marketing Inc. (Joe also has a podcast titled, “I Love Marketing“.)
It was from listening to his words, that I was inspired to write this blog post. I hope you get a chance to listen to it, and it inspires you as much as it inspired me!
3 WAYS TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE
1. Have Faith
Faith has played a significant role in my life, and without it, I would not have the sense of purpose that I do.
Living in the Bay Area, I’ve observed a real loss of faith. Most allow fear over faith to take over and guide their lives. People are stressed out, unhappy, anxious, selfish, and fearful…fearful that they won’t be able to keep up. Fear diminishes confidence. But, when you have faith, you can trust that everything’s going to be okay–God has a plan for all of us…even if we can’t see it right away.
2. Fake It
Have you heard of the phrase, “Fake it til you make it”? Well, in this case, Fake it til you believe it. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is pretend. If we start “pretending” to be confident, soon enough, those positive phrases and encouragements we repeat to ourselves will start to sink in. When I was struggling in a tennis match, and had doubts that I couldn’t win, what sabotaged me was my own mind. Those negative phrases, that told me I wasn’t good enough and destroyed my self-confidence.
Beware of negative self-talk. Remember: Feelings are not facts. If you tell yourself, “I’m a horrible tennis player”, that’s not necessarily a fact. That is a feeling that you have, and the dangerous thing about feelings, is that they can lie to us.
3. Develop Rituals
“You don’t think yourself into confidence, you ACT yourself.”
It sounds silly, but our daily habits greatly impact our attitude and performance. It’s important to develop positive habits whether it’s taking a minute to be grateful for what’s around you, getting a good night’s sleep, eating clean, exercising or meditating. Part of being confident is taking care of ourselves, fueling our body properly (this may be sleep, exercise, or nutrition) so that it can run effectively.
These actions can greatly affect your confidence throughout the day. Don’t you want to showcase your best self??
Start with these 3 practices and take it one day at a time.
Stay true to yourself, always.