Some people have an enormous base of confidence. Some people have very little. I am somewhere in between.
I once had a friend ask where I got all my confidence from. I laughed. I don’t ooze confidence, but what I do is fake it until my confidence levels rise.
At so many times in my life, when approaching a new task or a public event, I have sweating palms and butterflies doing somersaults in my stomach. As much I would love to avoid the whole scene, I put on my bravest face and begin. If it’s public speaking, I know that the first thirty seconds are the toughest. I may clear my throat more than necessary. I may clench my hands behind the podium. As I begin to speak, I am hesitant, but then I feel a sense of calm settle in, as confidence seeps into me. When I’m done, I have this amazing sense of euphoria. I almost want to shout, “I did it!”
I have experienced this in so many different settings. As a teacher, the first day with students, open house, and parent-teacher conferences would bring an initial sense of fear, followed by (usually) the feeling of success. Anytime I speak in public, I blush horribly in the first minute until I hit my stride. Most recently, I went through the same roller coaster of emotions when teaching my first online wine class.
Leading up to this class I prepared heartily. I created the course, made an outline of what I would teach, built a slidedeck, practiced it by myself, made my husband act a student in my second walk-through, and finally got myself situated and ready an hour before the class was to begin. Even with all of this preparation and practice, I was nervous when the students appeared online.
Then, as typically happens, I fell into the groove and leaned back on my knowledge. The class flowed smoothly, as I shared information and took questions from the class. When it was done, I felt incredibly pleased with myself.
Although I could wonder why it is that I doubt myself before starting a new endeavor, I won’t waste the time on that. I have been this way since I was a little kid. While it may seem odd, the exhilaration I experience once I am successful is worth all of the nerves leading up to it. In fact, for me, those nerves are what make me work harder and prepare more, which in turn is what makes that event a success.
Maybe my thinking “Can I do this?” is really just a sort of self-motivation. While not fully doubting myself, I am challenging myself. Am I up to doing the best that I can?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”