“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela
I have always had a pretty low self-confidence in myself when it comes to doing things I’ve never done before. I haven’t given many things a chance, because of that ugly little word can’t, and there are many things I never thought I could do, but surprised myself and did.
A small, and probably silly, example would be my current job as a church secretary and bookkeeper. I can remember thinking about the job when I was a teenager, and seeing the secretary for the church then, Ray (he was amazing at it!), and thinking “I could never do that.” I was young, low self-confidence, inexperienced, etc. etc. Regardless of that thought, I’ve always had a tiny interest in it, but I knew in the back of my mind I would never do it, because I didn’t think I could. Flash forward to a few years later, the job opens up, but it’s more than just a secretary job now, it’s also bookkeeping. If I didn’t think I could do it then, there was DEFINITELY no way I thought I could do it now! I may have had a business degree, but I also had zero experience with bookkeeping, but I still just couldn’t get the possibility of it out of my head, because it was a good opportunity. I had just graduated college not too long before, I had never really earned that much of an income, I had no real world experience, and literally no idea what I wanted to do. After days of torment and agonized discussions with my husband about it (never would have been able to without his encouragement), I decided to go for it. I got the job, and ended up being much better at it then I thought I could be.
I don’t think it’s just a me thing when it comes to having low self-confidence in your abilities. I figure it’s a human nature sort of thing, but some of us are better at pushing past it than others. Is there something that has been itching in the back of your mind, but you keep telling yourself you can’t do it? Well, here is my personal method for overcoming self-doubt and pushing past the I can’ts.
1. Stop feeding the negative beast inside of you.
Stop telling yourself, “I can’t do that, or this, or that thing over there.” You can do more than you think. Things are never as impossible as you make them seem. They only look that way because you’ve never done them before, or you don’t have much experience .
2. Consider your past experiences.
Think back to something you just really didn’t think you could do, but you did it, and it was a lot easier than you thought it would be. I’m sure there are plenty of things you could come up with if you really thought about it, and plenty of things you have forgotten about altogether. It doesn’t matter how small or stupid you think it may be, write it down, dwell on it, whatever you want to do, but take that knowledge and use it to encourage yourself to try the thing you are scared of now, because you know you’ve done more than you thought you could before.
3. Be prepared.
I am insecure about most of the things I’m inexperienced in, but that fear has also benefited me, because it has caused me to prepare like crazy for whatever it is. I try to understand every nook, cranny, and crook of it before I ever attempt it. Never go in blindly to a situation. Let your lack of confidence push you to work harder to achieve it and understand it, not give up.
4. Talk to people you trust about it.
I never would have attempted my current job if I hadn’t had my husband encouraging and pushing me, and so it has been with most of the things in my life. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you’re capable, and help you work through your insecurities. I think we know we are capable deep down, we just need someone to confirm it for us sometimes.
5. And finally just do it.
We tell ourselves we can’t do something, and then we never do, so we continue on assuming we can’t do it. The only way to truly build your self-confidence is to do the things you are afraid of. You can do way more than you give yourself credit for, so get out there and like those folks at that shoe company say, just do it!