Confidence is a critical ability that one must possess if they are going to achieve anything in life, whether it is being an effective leader or merely trying to ask a special someone out on a date. Confidence goes a long way with people because it shows that you are bold and willing to go the extra mile to get things done. Furthermore, confidence often coincides with competence. If you have the skill to perform a certain action well, like oral presentations, then you have the competence to be a great leader. But, how does someone get this type of competence? They get it by having confidence in themselves and in their work. Without this confidence, they won’t have competence and will ultimately fail. This is why competence and confidence are truly interchangeable.
Remember when you were in primary school and you had to give an oral presentation in class? Most kids in primary school dread these presentations because they get nervous when having to speak in front of a lot of people. I know I did when I was younger, and it took a long time for me to discover the way to overcome it. I remember one time in high school when I had to give a presentation in my History class. Instead of illustrating my speech on the whiteboard and being an enthusiastic speaker, I was one of those speakers that just stood behind a podium and read my speech from a piece of paper. I didn’t even look at anyone else while I was speaking because they all made me nervous. I always wondered why I got so nervous in front of people. Teachers would often tell me that I was too shy and I needed to simply overcome my shyness. But, it was not that simple. Overcoming shyness is not as easy as flicking a switch in your brain. Nobody ever told me how to effectively overcome shyness or what the real secret was to being a better public speaker. It was only later on that I found the answer to be “confidence.”
So the big question is, “How does someone overcome these obstacles and gain more confidence?” I recently read a new book called the Confidence Code By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman and loved it! They researched and talked about confidence genes – yes we are born with confidence genes. They discovered they did not have the genes but appear to be confident women. However, they also discussed the Neuroscience of Confidence and how confidence can be learnt. I know it has been a long journey for me and my ability to be more confident. There have been plenty of times that I have doubted myself and let my ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) cloud my mind. But I have learnt to be the director of my brain, focus on my successes, focus on my strengths, learn from my mistakes, empower myself and others and only focus on the positive! I surround myself with great peers and supporters who only want the best for me. There were times where I have been truly vulnerable, I tested myself, overcome challenges and got a lot of knocks, but it didn’t stop me and I got back up there!
Now I am a great public speaker (well I think I am!), and love to get up on stage and share my knowledge, humour and insights. Yeah sometimes the butterflies are there, and I feel like that little girl standing behind the podium. I give that little girl a hug in my mind and tell her, look at far you have come! Now I am a confident person and leader who is following her purpose and dreams – and I learnt how to do it. And I can do it, you can too! It’s so hot right now!