Have you ever felt you lacked confidence?

If you have, then you are definitely not alone!

I am a pretty confident person and I sometimes find that when I am in a situation that takes me outside of my comfort zone, then my confidence is sometimes lacking!

For example, when I worked for a government organisation a while back, I was asked to present at a seminar in front of around 40 people.  I am definitely not a fan of public speaking, but I agreed to present anyway.  I figured that one day I might need public speaking skills, and I might as well get in there and give it a go!

Prior to going on stage, I was shaking so much, I could hear it in my voice.  I was so nervous, I thought I was going to trip over on my way onto the stage!  The feeling was horrible!  I then stopped and thought to myself, "What is the worst possible thing that could happen here?".  To me, the worst thing was either tripping over on my way onto stage or forgetting what I had to say.  So I then thought about how I could deal with these potential "disasters".  To avoid tripping, I would be extremely careful when going onto the stage.  As for forgetting what I had to say, I had a colleague at the back of the room who would prompt me if needed, and I also had PowerPoint slides up on a screen behind me, so I could refer to those too.  After thinking like this, I didn’t feel so scared (although the shaking continued!).

Ten minutes or so into my presentation, I started to relax a little.  I was talking about a subject I knew well, although I think I was talking at around a hundred miles an hour!  The poor audience were probably struggling to keep up!  But I did it and I received positive feedback from the audience members!

As a result of this achievement (yes, I do call it an achievement!), I found my confidence did improve.  Since then I’ve done many presentations to similar-sized audiences without any ill effects and I definitely don’t go through what I did prior to my first presentation!

The scenario above and what I did by thinking of the worst case scenario really helped me to put my fear into perspective.  Sometimes the worst case scenario isn’t that bad at all, and if you have thought about the worst case and how you will deal with it should it happen then your fears may seem unfounded.

Here’s a good example.  A young man wants to ask a girl out on a date, but he lacks confidence.  He’s not sure if she will say yes. 

He thinks about the worst case scenario:  She might say no!  She might laugh at him and tell him to get lost! 

He also thinks about what the worst case scenario would be if he didn’t ask her out at all.  Of course there will be no date.  Comparing the worst case scenarios for asking and not asking her on a date, they’re pretty similar, don’t you think?

If she’s worth going out with, she won’t laugh at him and tell him to get lost, so really what has he got to lose by asking?

Something to think about….!

Have a great day!

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