The focus of this second episode in my new vlog series is on confidence, and how you can continue to strengthen this vital element in the dream-building process. This post is on the power of connecting with your own sense of purpose and authenticity. Your unique character and calling.
I encourage you to embrace being truly YOU ꟷ and that means not being a round peg trying to fit into the square hole that others have cut for you.
We all know that societal patterns, norms and structures are what they are. They can be very helpful to us.They can also become “boxes” we end up feeling bound by. That said, this post is NOT about deconstructing conventions or blaming others for old entrapments, grooves and ruts. The point here is this: societal behaviour patterns and “group think” are strong forces. Despite their pull, you and I have our own unique sense of mission which likely does NOT line up entirely with what others would call the norm…
Consider that in heeding your own particular calling, aligned with clear core values and a loving heart, you are participating in a great evolutionary wave.
I encourage you to notice some of the patterns you’ve taken for granted which really DO serve you in moving forward; and also notice those which do not.
In our growth process, if you and I are to be fulfilled, we must be selective about which conventions we adhere to and which ones we cut away from. It takes confidence to release old ways and step forward boldly into an even more authentic, adult and TRUE expression of you.
This brings me to the topic of TWO BEHAVIOUR TRAPS to avoid when endeavouring to increase your self-confidence and bring your Vision into manifestation in the land of time and space.
Behaviour Trap #1: Being an imitator; it eventually always pales
I have had the privilege of training with, truly, some of the most amazing transformational leaders working in the world of personal development today. I am grateful to be ever on the receiving end of professional coaching and mentorship. I have also had the privilege of being a student of a VARIETY of disciplines in my life, and quite a variety of teachers, some of them master teachers. I say this because in every case, whether in the expressive arts, the healing arts, energy work, or spiritual study, I have been able to learn from others and take inspired action steps.
To be clear, working closely with experienced transformational coaches, teachers, and mentors is NOT a behaviour trap. On the contrary! It is a tremendous asset. Placing yourself inside a proven structure of support is a real investment in YOU, and one that appreciates in value.
I highly recommend you have a coach in your corner. If you feel drawn to reach out to learn more about coaching with me, by all means do so.
You and I can endeavour to have great role models, to seek out the best and to study, learn, and grow with the best, but the point here is NOT to become a copycat version of someone else. While imitation is a natural and legitimate stage of learning, especially in children, as well as in adult students and protégés, to deepen confidence, we must ultimately embrace our own authentic voice, mission, gifts, and calling. When we feel true to ourselves, we feel good about ourselves. And that has positive impacts not only on us, but on those lives our actions touch.
Your imitating someone else will never lead you to fully realizing your gifts; it will pale in comparison with you being fully and truly YOU.
Behaviour Trap #2: Trying to be someone others want you to be, when you don’t
It saps your confidence and just doesn’t work.
I have the privilege of serving coaching clients in many walks of life, including those in sales. I remember one individual telling me that whenever she found herself capitulating to clients who were not a good fit to work with her, attempting to be what they wanted instead of bringing her own authentic presence and skillset to the table, ultimately, she felt drained. Time was wasted, deals dried up, and she and her clients parted ways.
The take-away? Once again, be yourself. Then the people you are meant to work with can find you.
When you feel like you are actually showing up in the world to contribute in loving ways that are true to your nature, to the essence of who you are, then people feel safe and good around you. They feel your integrity, and ultimately people learn to trust LIFE ITSELF in your presence. It takes courage to be and serve others in this way. That is why it is SO WORTH building your confidence! When you feel a sense of deep trust in yourself, others feel it, too. It’s liberating.
So how do you and I continue to grow and nurture our confidence? Here are THREE EMPOWERED WAYS FORWARD …
Empowered Way Forward #1: Embrace your inner child’s joyful knowing
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” That statement, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, is the epigraph to Chapter 3 of my book, Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity. The chapter focuses on the robin as an emblem of authenticity. No two robins’ songs are the same. Here is a reminder to sing YOUR own song; and there are clues to that song in your childhood.
Some of our best confidence teachers are those who have, consciously or otherwise, reconnected with and embraced their own inner children, even at the risk of being labelled eccentric. Do you remember someone in your early life who genuinely found delight in playing? I hope so!
In my life, my Grampa John comes to mind. He was my mother’s dad and one of my earliest influencers and confidence teachers.
I felt delight in Grampa’s presence because he so clearly enjoyed LIFE! Due to his sense of joy and play, I was able to grow in ways that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have.
Grampa was his own person. Born and raised within the social mores of an old, financially wealthy Ontario family, he experienced an early life of relative privilege. Later in life, my grandfather bucked the post-Victorian-era conditioning of his youth. I believe that was, in fact, what helped him remain youthful. For me, my Grampa was ageless. He was my heart’s dearest playmate, and on many a July afternoon at Lake Huron, we were simply two souls in tune and living outside of time.
In the vlog, I share some particulars about him which may resonate with you. Perhaps you had someone similar in your young life growing up. Someone who wasn’t embarrassed to play, who blocked time to go sailing and build kites, to create waterways out of clay, to teach you how to swim in rough water and let it hurl you back on shore a little bruised and somehow taller.
Perhaps you are your own version of that person to someone else. If so, what a blessing!
I can’t begin to sum up all the ways my grandfather showed up in service of his inner child spirit ꟷ and mine. The countless cribbage and Monopoly games, the jig-saw puzzles and mystery movies at the cottage on a scratchy black-and-white television (me on my knees, tuning the dial and earnestly muttering prayers of petition for a clear signal from Buffalo); all the pizza bakes and strawberry shortcake adventures, and the seemingly endless parade of Barbies (my toy of choice back then, and Grampa John was my number-one supplier).
And then there were Grampa’s trees…
Now, looking back at (almost) the age he was then, I recognize that my grandfather’s love of trees was part of his calling. He was a small-town family doctor by profession, and he was dedicated to his work ꟷ for many years often rising to a phone call in the night and a drive along back roads to deliver a baby.
Grampa practiced medicine into his late seventies, and I remember someone once remarking that he’d likely delivered half the town. With that said, I didn’t see him as “Doctor John” when we were together. I saw a man who, in his baggy jeans, sometimes his sailing shorts, pushed a wheelbarrow into the woods and went off planting. When I was old enough, he took me with him.
In some ways, he was my first Vision teacher. Grampa knew those trees would grow and outlive him. He also knew they would be necessary to keep the land from eroding by the shore, and all the animal species that depended on those trees in place and thriving. He knew those trees would be beautiful, too.
Grampa was not Chairman of the Board somewhere, or an award-winning volunteer, or (to bring things closer to home) a coach and motivational speaker. If he were here today, he certainly wouldn’t have his own website and vlog. 😉 We’re different people! He followed his own innate sense of calling; and on his own terms, he created a legacy.
Where are the trees he planted now? For me, those trees are everywhere.
Champion your inner child and see the leaps and bounds with which you will build, not only your confidence, but your dreams; you will deliver your unique gifts and help others feel buoyed to give and receive their own.
This brings me to a second way of building confidence …
Empowered Way Forward #2: Commit to having fun each day
Short and sweet.
How often in a busy day do you and I pause and take stock of whether or not we’ve had some fun?
I remind myself of this every day: FUN IS A CORE VALUE. Watch as some of your greatest ideas float into your mind on the feeling-tone of fun. Explore the degree to which having fun uplifts your own self-image and raises your willingness to take action for your dreams.
Having fun is a gateway to increased confidence.
Make a list of things you love to do that are simply fun and keep it handy so you can generate fun at a moment’s notice. Can you bring fun to routine tasks? To meeting a due date? To your daily commute?
Your heart is a portal to your own inner guidance system, sense of purpose, and also to your confidence. The quickest way to your own heart is by having fun and trusting in it.
Empowered Way #3: Dare to bring more of you out of the shadows
What could you do that scares you, a little or a lot, in service of your own authentic mission, expression, and calling?
This one is so crucial.
I believe that when you and I are true to ourselves ꟷ willing to take risks in order to show up, serve, and play full out as who we came here to be ꟷ we are on track spiritually, as well as in the concrete realm of earthly success and achievement.
Using those courage muscles leads to increased confidence, which in turn leads to dreams realized. I’ll exercise mine now in sharing a story with you.
It took me many years to understand an aspect of myself that not only used to perplex me, but to cause me shame and frustration. Like you, I grew up on popular maxims. The expression, “Jack of all trades, master of none” caused me to question myself from an early age. As a young person with multiple passions, I thought eventually I’d have a handle on which one to follow for my career. The thought of doing too many things and being “master of none” caused real anxiety.
We live in a culture that celebrates the traditional “masters model”. To be great at something, we’re told, you are either one thing or another; you are either a painter or a writer, an actor or a scholar, a scientist or a lawyer … and so it goes. What made matters worse for me was another grave adage: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Ouch. Teaching, a key part of my calling, was presented as a “less than” proposition.
Of course, both of those maxims are perfect examples of cultural conditioning and mistaken beliefs.
But for decades ꟷ long into my professional life ꟷ I was haunted by the thought of being “less than.”
Always, to me, it seemed that to attempt to do more than one thing well would mean compromise, mediocrity, and an unfulfilled life.
What I have discovered is that there are many of us for whom the key to mastery is in the very thing I both embraced and feared as a child: VARIETY.
In our quest for mastery, some of us go the route of exclusivity in discipline, training, and application.
Some of us go the route of the multipotentialite. For those of us in the latter category, variety is truly the spice of life and the key to delivering what we came to give. We live freely in the world of “both/and” …
Increasingly, when I deliver motivational talks as a professional coach for businesses and sales teams, as well as corporate, community, and networking groups, I mention that I am a writer ꟷ yes, of a self-help book and blog (which is easy to say, as it “makes sense” for a coach to be writing in that genre), and also of poetry and fiction. In fact, my first novel, The Shining Fragments, launches in the fall of 2018.
I have to override the voice in me that says, “People won’t take you seriously as a coach when they find out you write novels.” The same thing happens when I give readings. How could a writer who coaches be a “serious writer”? And so on.
Yet the key to my playing full out for my coaching clients, for YOU, is in being fully me.
And I hasten to add that every time I am willing to take a stand as a multi-passionate success coach, the sense of relief in the room is palpable ꟷ not just in me (!), but in those eager to bring more of themselves forward.
What can you do to bring more of THE REAL YOU forward?
Be sure it scares you, at least a little, and take that action in service of your authentic calling and your dream. And have fun!
To your gifts.