Rescue the Confidence Hiding Beneath Your Capability
As a rule, we Westerners learn to become highly capable, independent adults. Society tells us our worth based on our contribution. In other words, we endure judgment based on the degree to which we appear in control of our decisions and have what it takes to make things happen.
This anticipated sense of agency bears down even upon the young. We have to know how to make up our minds.
Also, in our formative years, advancing through education, we must increase our capacity to juggle multiple facets of life. The structure of our curriculum and extracurriculars leave us no choice if we want to excel. We get A’s and B’s, play sports, lead clubs, hunker down to defeat the SATs, level up to win scholarships, and decide on a profession — all before our 18th birthday! And all the while, we’re unsure if we measure up to those standing to our left and right.
We lock into the ideal of success and the steps that promise to lead us to it. We don’t dare break stride because ain’t nobody got time to fall behind the pack.
Then, emerging from our schooling as accomplished adults, we play our part to be everything anyone needs. That includes using the bulk of our time and talent to earn a living. We show and prove within our significant systems — professional, family, religious, and community. As such, we’re accepted citizens, and we enjoy good reputations. Our friends rely on us for sound advice, and our children feel safe because of us. People trust us, and that’s how we know we’re getting it right.
With our two-and-a-half-car garage housing all the crap that doesn’t fit into the first 2200 sq. ft of living space, we can take inventory of society’s gold star of success — excess. We’re living the dream dreamt by all (or some version of it at least), and we couldn’t ask for anything more.
Except we do need more. We need what we, and we alone, can offer. In all our getting, we seem to have gone missing. There’s a disconnect between our feeling of success and our sense of fulfillment. True satisfaction eludes us because none of what we have become is out of our unique power, purpose, or values. And, ultimately, our rehearsed ability to perform well in the outside world has hijacked our ability to live boldly within. We have placed mind over matters of the heart.
We followed the script, taking all of our cues from others. People trust us. But we don’t trust ourselves. We need to rediscover ourselves.
I learned to stop chasing paper and start chasing purpose. When you operate on your gift, everything else falls into place. I had to learn and embrace that. — Damien Escobar, Musician, 2016
Finding Your Way Back
If Confidence, Capability, Capacity, Self-efficacy, and Agency were a girl band, Confidence would be the understated powerhouse overshadowed by the other girls. Among all these more prominent qualities, you wouldn’t know she’s missing until you really need her. But when faced with an opportunity to do something exceptional, for example, start a new venture by operating in your gift, you need to feel the vibration of her voice. You need to hear from within that “we got this.” Not because you’re capable or strong or proven or decided. But because you are. You are power, you are creative energy, you are the plan.
Yet, we have become so accustomed to pushing through with our prowess that it can be hard to trust our internal power to move us forward and tell us the truth. And though we all know the adage “fake it ’til you make it,” when it comes to taking cues from within, faking it is not a thing.
So, if I were to turn the camera around and look closely at myself — strong, capable, and trustworthy — I would have to admit that I have been afraid to stand on my own two feet without societal crutches. That is, I have been scared to step out and build something with my unique creative gifts.
There. I said it. Admitting that you are as scared as shit to be what you came here to be is the first step to rescuing your confidence.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a career in law enforcement, raised a couple of great kids, finished some degrees, and tried entrepreneurship. I have even learned to manage my evolution unapologetically. I have stood, run, and jumped my way through life. Hell, on some days, I scaled tall buildings in a single bound.
But when I take off the superhero suit, I don’t always believe in myself. I am finding that dancing to the beat of success defined by others has kept me from trusting myself to do what I dreamt I could do.
So, here’s the reality. I may not be the only one with my expertise, but I am the only one with my unique perspective and experiences to build and combine with that expertise. So, if not me, then who? Understanding that your handprint belongs in the canvas of humanity is the second step to rescuing your confidence.
Confidence is having a strong belief or full assurance in something.
In this case, the thing deserving faith is me. And the trust factor is my willingness to believe in the authority of my true self — my innate wisdom. As an extension of “I Am,” I am not reliant on a name and face or even on the perspectives and experiences I referenced above. My true power comes from not being anchored in those identifiers, but being liberated from them. In exchange, I gain the freedom to choose who I am in the life that surrounds me.
I am committed to managing myself as pure power as I am contributing creatively to the world. I believe this — presiding over myself as power — is the impetus and result of self-trust. Understanding ourselves as power and being willing to manage our lives as such is the premise of life. Anything I choose to do from this platform will find its way to light. Whether I win, lose, or draw.
Step three to rescuing your confidence: Know that you are power, and power comes with responsibility.
You have only one life, and life has just one you. Believe in yourself. And remember, if not you, then who?
Be free. Love, Peace.
Rescue the Confidence Hiding Beneath Your Capability was originally published in Creative Enlightenment on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.