Confidence is a funny thing – it can be the fuel that gets you going and keeps you going, or the lack of it can cut off the fuel supply, slam on the breaks and bring you to a screeching halt.
I’m currently experiencing some of that screeching halt stuff right now.
I’ve been a photographer for 10 years, the last 4 of which have shifted to my specialty of photographing women. Business women who need professional headshots and personal branding images for their business or women of any age who want to know what it feels like to be photographed and love the portraits they see of themselves. I sincerely love what I do, and more specifically, I love the results I can create for my clients.
Then last year happened – I was struck the realization that I have a bigger purpose – to help women elevate their confidence, because I believe when a woman is confident, she is capable of so much not least of which is being a source of inspiration for the women around her. At the time of this divine calling, I was full of bravado and enthusiasm about my mission and I could visualize myself leading the crusade to optimal confidence in all women.
While I know with certainty and conviction that this is still the case, I’ve come to a point in the journey that is rocking my own confidence.
So what’s rocking my confidence?
When it comes to my women’s portrait photography I have very few issues with my own confidence. I’ve done it long enough to secure my belief in my abilities and my capability of meeting my client’s expectations. I continue to receive positive feedback about how their experience of being photographed by me has positively impacted other areas of their life. I know that in this regard, I’m fulfilling my mission.
What’s rocking my confidence now, is that this mission is pushing me outside of the confines of my safe, familiar women’s portrait photography comfort zone. I find myself in new, unfamiliar territory, exploring new avenues of delivering my confidence boosting message. On the cards right now are:
- Developing an online course (I’m about two thirds of the way into creating the content)
- Writing a book (I’ve stalled at 8000 words into the writing process)
- Becoming a professional speaker (I’ve only just skimmed the surface)
All of this is really rocking my confidence as I find myself facing resistance to the nitty-gritty act of actually doing the work.
How I’m preventing my lack of confidence from standing in my way
One thing I have to be thankful for throughout this process is that my area of focus is confidence. So as much as I’m doing the work to help other women with their confidence, the process is actually helping me with mine. I thought I’d share some lessons I’m learning along this journey and how I’m not letting my current (temporary) lack of confidence stop me from completing my mission.
5 ways in which I’m not letting my current lack of confidence stop me from completing my mission:
I have to walk my talk. One of my favorite definitions of confidence is that it is life’s enabler. It’s the characteristic that turns a thought into action. If I’m encouraging other women to take action, in spite of the fear and self-doubt they feel, then I bloody well do the same. So although I’m unsure about my ability to see these projects to their completion, I’m giving it my all anyway, because that’s the advice I give to other women all the time.
2. Getting comfortable with my discomfort zone
All this is very new, there’s so much I need to learn about putting a course together, marketing the course, how to structure the lessons, how to publish a book. I’ve never done it before, so I don’t have a frame of reference and that makes me uncomfortable. So while I feel out of my depth as I navigate this process as a newbie, I’m reminding myself that this discomfort I’m feeling is a good thing. It is only through this kind of expansive discomfort that I’m ever going to learn and grow. If I stayed in my comfort zone, nothing would change.
3. Get the Firsts out the way
As I mentioned in the previous point, there are many things in this process that I’ve never done before and I’m learning about them for the first time. So while my progress is slow and considered, each time I get my first ‘First’ out the way, I never have to have that same first again. From then on, each time I get a ‘First’ done, I have a frame of reference and some past experience to draw on which boosts my confidence.
4. Look at what you’re looking for
If you’re looking for obstacles and problems, you’ll find obstacles and problems. If you look for support and solutions, you’ll find support and solutions. So watch out for what you’re looking for. I’ve chosen to look for support and solutions, so every time I come up against a road block in this process, I’m finding resources that are helpful and motivational to keep me heading forward.
5. Ask for help
My tendency has always been to do things myself. I like to be independent and self-sufficient and have always worn this trait as a badge of honor. However, I’ve come to the realization that this approach is not sustainable and will actually do me and my business harm in the long run. I will forever be limited by my own abilities, when the opposite is true if I call on others for help. “Many hands make light work” and people are generally willing to assist, if you ask. For example, I got stuck on writing some content for my confidence course, so I sent out a request for help in the form of a survey, asking people to give me their input. I also recently launched my first 5 day email challenge, and I asked a few people to experience it and let me know of any glitches in the process. They let me know where the problems were and I was able to fix them. So ask for help. Not only will you get it, but your faith in humanity will be restored.
Bonus Tip… Go easy on yourself
I’m learning to practice self compassion. I had intended launching my course at the beginning of February and that clearly didn’t happen. I’m disappointed, but rather than beating myself up about it, I’m choosing to believe that I will complete the work and launch when the time is right, as long as I keep making daily progress.
So those are the lessons I’m learning about preventing my lack of confidence from standing in my way. Have you had any similar experiences? Have you got any lessons about lack of confidence that you can share? I’d love to hear about them…