The secret to building confidence

I’ll apply for the promotion when I get my next certification.

I’ll start dating again when I lose 10 pounds.

I’ll go to that networking event when I’m a little more clear on my message.

I’ll wear that lipstick when my skin clears up.

I’ll ask for a raise when I deliver the next project under budget.


How many of these are similar (or identical!) to something you’ve thought? This internal dialog of if/then scenarios rules our life. We’re constantly trying to get to the If so we can have the Then, and usually when we reach the original If, we come up with another one. This pattern keeps you small, keeps you stuck, and undermines confidence. Contrary to popular belief, confidence doesn’t care what you look like or how many letters you have after your name. Confidence just wants you to show up. <—CLICK to Tweet

So, what if you showed up now? Before you finish the certification. Before you lose 10 pounds. Before you deliver the next project. Before whatever your If is, right now. What if you showed up anyway?

Scary thought, I know. You might be feeling a little queasy at the thought of that. You might even be kinda pissed at me for suggesting it. After all, the Ifs are very comforting. They allow you to keep moving the target and always have a safe reason for why you haven’t done the thing you say you want to do.

The Ifs are tricky. They make you think that you’re building confidence, but what they’re really doing is the exact opposite. They’re roadblocks and they keep you from living to your fullest. You see, that’s the secret. Confidence just wants you to show up. Messy, complicated and imperfect, it doesn’t care.

The bigger secret? It’s the showing up that builds confidence. The more you let your messy, complicated, imperfect self show up and be seen, the more confident you’ll feel. Yes, it’ll be hard and scary in the beginning. The first 2 minutes of any talk I give still involve a shaky voice and sweaty palms, but it no longer lasts through the full talk. The more you show up, the more confident you’ll feel.

Take a look at your list of things that you want to do. Look at the Ifs and roadblocks that are keeping you small, and let your messy, complicated self show up anyway.

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