One 4th of July at a family friend’s BBQ, my brother and his best friend donned capes of red and white stripes and blue stars (plastic tablecloth wear). They posed as superheroes as I took numerous pictures. Afterwards we stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home. The boys dashed up and down the aisles in their capes as action figures on a mission. (They were in their late teens, almost 20). Together, they had the confidence of the Avengers.
Believe in Yourself
On a sunny and pollen spreading morning I awoke cranky, moody, out of sorts, you name it. Even a breakfast of really good coffee and banana coconut cake did not perk me up to look on the bright side.
What zapped my happy juice?
The day before I had completed a poster design for a client. It rocked. Well, to me it rocked. I was pleased with how it turned out, and when I submitted it to the client for approval, they, too, were very happy with it. So happy were they that they printed it from their office printer and posted it in their building (they also posted it around town as was their intention).
I thought it would be a good idea to post my design, my accomplishment, onto one of my social media outlets. Just the week before I had read an article encouraging designers to show their work. I have not been comfortable showing my work. In fact, I have been shy. Putting one’s work out there for all to see is very exposing. (Or perhaps that’s just me.) Anyway, I thought this would be a good exercise in doing something to get me out of a comfort zone.
The response I received was mediocre. Which domino-ed into me feeling embarrassed for showing my work, then feeling uncertain about my work, and ended up with me being grumpy.
There are days when I question if I am good enough at what I do. When I am thinking straight, I can heartily answer that with a NO, and not feel down by it. The answer is no, because I am always wanting to be better.
I don’t know about you, but I am not confident all the time. However, the more I learn, the more I grow, the more experience I garner, the more confident I become. Also, the more we do things that we are shy of doing (like showing our work, singing in public, or wearing a superhero cape), the more we build our confidence supply for doing that thing.
Stick with Your Instincts Despite People’s Disapproval
If you’re building your life or business based on the handful of people who decry that something you say or do isn’t right, you’re going to be building for the middle of the road. The dashed yellow line isn’t where things happen. When you pick a lane and accelerate, that’s where things become hilarious.
In an ideal situation we will have everyone’s approval of our work and talents. It will be so easy and everyone will just get along.
(Insert big BUT) Ideal situations are extinct (or figments of our imagination).
You do not need other people’s approval. You may want it, but you do not need it. It would be nice to have it, but you do not need it.
Your gut, your instincts, your belief in yourself should be all the fuel you need to press the pedal to the metal and go about building your dream and achieving your goal. Leave the naysayers and confidence deflaters behind in the dust. Big deal if you make a mistake (see previous post) or the venture did not pan out as expected. BIG DEAL indeed if you rock your aspirations like a rockstar!
It’s easy to be busy. It’s easy to follow the path expected of us, laid out for us. It’s easy to never question, idling along rudderless and sedated, forgetting there are immense and untapped powers inside of us.
I had two friends who dreamed of doing something bigger than working a desk job. We would sometimes meet during lunch hour to talk and ideate about the future and our future venture together and our future greatness. We talked and dreamed about building our own company.
One day, an opportunity fell into my lap like a hippopotamus. (Think of the words: huge, overwhelming, unable to carry by oneself.) I immediately approached my two friends. We were fired up and giddy with possibilities. However, just as quickly as the excitement flared up, it extinguished. My two friends pulled out before anything even started. There I was left standing with this hippopotamus…just me and the hippo.
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid.
When your opportunity presents itself, bear in mind that you will have to take a risk (most likely you will have to take risks, plural) in order to see your dream materialize. Strap on your superhero cape and take things one baby step at a time.
Persist in Your Determination
Disappointments are the bane of life. They sting like scorpions, shock like tasers, and suck like only disappointments can.
As bad as disappointments are, your level of determination must be badder (as in bad ass). Disappointments can rattle your confidence like a hurricane beating down upon a beach house. However, determination can spit at the hurricane and rebuild that confidence.
Your uniqueness is your greatest strength, not how well you emulate others.
Simon S. Tan
Muster up that determination of yours. Anybody can quit, but it takes a gutsy soul to persist. Believe in yourself. You have the ability. You have the talent. You CAN do it.
My brother and his friend had a grand time running around Wal-Mart with their capes flying behind them. They did not wait for people’s approval (I wasn’t quite on board with the notion); they risked being laughed at, but they were determined to enter Wal-Mart like 4th of July superheroes. I realize this is a simple example, but how many of us would do something like that? How many of us believe in our gifts, talents and abilities?
Wear confidence like your superhero cape, and go show the world what you’ve got!
Recommended reading: Anne Lamott’s words on how perfectionism kills the creative spirit.