Day 14: do something that scares you
Hello Confidence Campers! Welcome to Day 14. We’re nearing the halfway mark in our Confidence Boot Camp, so we want to give you all high fives for sticking with us and working every day to build those confidence muscles. We hope you are giving yourselves plenty of positive feedback and kudos for taking on this challenge.
Today’s topic is one of our favorites: “Do Something That Scares You”. It comes from a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt (who, by the way, has many good quotes about dealing with fear, self-confidence and self-respect) that says, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Why would we want to purposely do something that scares us? Doesn’t it seem more reasonable to avoid triggering our adrenaline in order to remain calm and comfortable?
One of the things we understand about building confidence is that in some ways, it’s like building muscles. To build body strength, you often have to stretch beyond your current level of comfort and fitness, and push yourself in a reasonable and measured way. By stretching our current strength levels, we ultimately expand those limits. We all understand this from our own experiences, right?
By purposely pushing out the limits of our comfort zone to do something that makes us fearful, we sometimes have to pull up the bootstraps of our courage and step into the confidence that may already be there, but that we may not feel at that moment. Confronting something that scares you and dealing with it, either successfully or unsuccessfully, gives you a reality check. Either it wasn’t as scary as you thought it would be and you get a confidence boost, or you discover it wasn’t as disastrous as you imagined, and you have more accurate information about what you’ll need to deal with it next time. Likely, you’ll recover quickly from the temporary confidence rattle, and thus increase your confidence, even if you think you failed.
So, sometimes in order to gain confidence, you have to step into the situation with courage, and you gain confidence as a result of your experience. The next time you face a similar situation, you can consciously reduce your fear by recalling your previous confidence-building experience.
WHAT SCARES YOU?
Everyone is afraid of something, but we are not all afraid of the same things. If you simply search the internet for “Top Ten Fears”, the same basic list appears over and over again. With minor variations, we see similar fears from people all over the world—but not always for the same reasons:
- Public speaking
- Going to the dentist
- Spiders and insects
- Enclosed spaces
- Thunder and lightning
(Funny, “death” is on some lists, but doesn’t make all of them. Does this mean that many people feel like they will die if they have to stand up in front of people to speak?)
What we may not see on the above list, but are also common fears:
- Giving negative or constructive feedback to a colleague.
- Asking for help.
- Shopping for a new car.
- Confronting inappropriate behavior from a co-worker.
- Applying for a bank loan.
- Talking to a stranger.
- Calling the cable company to dispute charges on your bill.
- Complaining to a neighbor about his barking dog.
- Being ridiculed for offering a new idea.
- Asking someone out on a date.
Many of these everyday situations make us feel anxious or vulnerable because we fear rejection. And if you remember from Haley’s post on Day 11 on Reaching Your Most Challenging Goals, our DNA is wired to make us strive for acceptance in our tribes, because if our ancestors were rejected or banned from their tribes, it meant loss of protection, food, and certain death.
Our guest post today is from Kimberly Bowsher, a young entrepreneur we met several years ago in our work. Kim is an outdoor adventurer, a mother of two young children, and small-business owner. She is currently the Executive Director of the Ogden (Utah) Downtown Alliance, which sponsors weekly community events more than half the year. She also has her own marketing and PR firm, runs a co-working office space with her business partner, and recently launched a box delivery service that sends coffee samples right to your door. We met with Kim at her office in downtown Ogden, and she spoke with us about how she takes on fears to gain the confidence that keeps her moving toward her goals. We hope you love Kim and her video message as much as we do.
“I think the only way you can get over your fears is to push through them. Keep showing up. Keep pushing in. Keep pushing forward.”
- Make a list of 7 things that scare you, or things you find extremely anxiety-provoking or uncomfortable. (Not necessarily watching horror films or telling ghost stories, but more like everyday situations you would rather avoid than deal with.)
- Choose the easiest or smallest thing on your list, and take an action to address the situation TODAY.
- Tomorrow, choose the next easiest thing on the list, and plan what you will do to deal with it, then DO IT.
- Follow this same pattern for as many days in a row as you can without skipping a day. If you take action on all 7 things, reward yourself by doing something you love—not a “have-to”, but a genuinely enjoyable activity. Go to a movie, play tennis with a friend, go out to dinner, take an afternoon off to read—whatever activity you really enjoy.
- It’s a good idea to record your fear-attacking actions in your journal, or write them on your calendar. Especially pay attention to the way you feel AFTER you’ve done the thing that scares you.
Confidence comes from purposefully facing your fears, pushing out the limits of your comfort zones, and trying some experiments to test your own confidence strength. Of course, take on your fears with healthy caution. Your fears are partly there to protect you from danger, so we don’t encourage you to do foolish or dangerous things. It’s the irrational fears or the fears that hold us back from following our dreams that we need to challenge. Do that.
Stay with us, fearless Campers. More tomorrow…
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