Don’t Wait, Do
We can’t just think ourselves into being confident, we must take action. All too often, however, people are stuck with the thought that action follows confidence. As in: I’ll take action when I’m confident. When I’m definitely ready. 100% ready. And not a moment before.
We convince ourselves that if we take one more webinar on a topic or listen to one more podcast THEN we’ll be ready and have the confidence needed to achieve our goals.
Do any of these sound familiar? It is easy to fall into that way of thinking. After all, no one likes to not be good at something. But in the world of building confidence, this type of thinking works counter to it.
So how do you change this way of thinking? One action step at a time. Or as Aristotle once said, “Do good, be good.” It actually isn’t about how you’re feeling about something or how much you know about something that determines your confidence, it is your ability to act.
You can think of it like playing tennis. In order to gain confidence in your ability to play tennis, you can read all the books you want, but if you want to improve your tennis confidence, you’ll need to actually get on the court and play!
In order to “get on the court,” so to speak, you’ll need to regularly make choices that put you outside your comfort zone and take action.
Which I know is a big ask.
But since taking action is one of the biggest skills to learn for building your self-confidence, I’m making the ask. Start taking regular actions outside your comfort zone.
So, with that said, take a moment right now and notice how you personally feel about being outside your comfort zone. Do you think of it as hard, risky, and painful? Or do you think of it as an opportunity for growth, accomplishment, and learning?
If you being outside your comfort zone makes you feel nervous and your heart beats faster, you start sweating buckets, feel jittery, and feel like you want to get outta there, then I have a skill for you!
When those feelings happen, your body is reacting in the classic “fight or flight” response. Often we get in the habit of associating “outside of comfort zone” with “threatening” because it is uncertain. Uncertainty kicks off our “fight or flight” response. When you feel this way, chances are high that you aren’t going to be able to follow through with whatever you want to do. It’s a total confidence killer.
Fortunately, your body is equipped with a way to calm down the “fight or flight” response. It’s aptly named the “rest and digest” response. This function is the main way your body calms down after it gets stressed or scared. When you want to accelerate this calming function or ensure that you stay calm when faced with a challenge, you can use a breathing exercise designed to do just this.
The 4-7-8 breath is designed to help your body and mind “put on the brakes” and calm down. You breathe through your nose to the count of 4. Hold it to the count of 7. And then exhale through your nose to the count of 8. (Count at a rate that is comfortable for you.)
The reason this activity works is that your exhale is longer than your inhale. Your longer exhale communicates an “all’s well” signal directly with your parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system. In turn, your body starts calming down and your thinking part of the brain stays in charge. Your feelings toward the situation are able to calm down, shift, and get on board.
When you are in a position where you need to step out of your comfort zone:
- Use the 4-7-8 breath
- Keep taking one action step at a time
Take a moment now and practice the 4-7-8 breath. Repeat it three times. Repeating this breathing practice to consistently step outside your comfort zone will start creating the confidence results you’re looking for.
Tomorrow’s lesson will surprise you with easy-to-implement small changes that have huge impacts!
The neuroscience of breathing techniques TED talks:
Share with friends