For the last little while I have been… “gently encouraging” someone I know at karate to take a bit more of a leadership role. And while progress is being made there is an acknowledged lack of self confidence that stands betwixt her and the next level.
Self confidence can be a very elusive thing for some people while for others it’s something they have heaps of exuding from everywhere. How do you go about getting self confidence? That's a good question and if there was one sure fire answer, and I had it, I could have professional athletes lined up at my door for the secret.
For me self confidence is really about self trust, and self truth. I know what I am good at, I know what I stink at, and it’s the things I stink at that I put the most work into. Because eventually I won’t be awful at them anymore and then that will be one less thing to be self conscious about.
Here is an example.
Last summer whilst gearing up for the trials of the Black Belt grading Pete and I were asked to preform traditional Katas in front of a couple of Sensi I had never even met before. My self confidence was very low, because I knew that especially when preforming these kata next to Pete I was a disaster at them. And it showed, not only by comparison, but on my own as well. My lack of confidence permeated every move I made, and made something that was not very good to begin with twice as bad. That experience had me feeling very unprepared, and not very confident.
How did I fix that? Practice. I knew what was taking my confidence away and so I aimed to solve the situation with many hours of concerted practice. When you are being called upon to preform that is the only solution.
Self Confidence is not something you can practice directly though, you simply have to put yourself in situations where you have to overcome something, and then succeed over and over again until your realize that yes, in any given situation I have the tools and the skills to be good at whatever I am doing.