Confidence VS Courage
There are a lot of things that are hard in this world. We look at others that have achieved things and we ask ourselves, “where do they get the confidence to do something like that?” Confidence in yourself seems like such a sexy thing to wish for. You see confident people and it seems like they are just born that way. Courage does not seem like the same thing at all. Sure, courage is admirable, but it seems like its a side effect of being a confident person.
Is there a difference? Are they mutually exclusive? Does one come before the other?
When was the last time you gave yourself some credit for being either courageous or confident?
How often does the lack of either stop you from doing something new, scary, or difficult?
As I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast, the guest (Debbie Millman) was talking about this exact same thing and it defined something I have been feeling for years. Here's a paraphrased version of what she said:
Confidence is the successful repetition of any endeavor
Courage is the ability to do something no matter how you feel about yourself, the task, or the outside world
If confidence comes from doing something over and over again where do you get the confidence to do it in the first place? The answer is….YOU DONT! Courage is what puts one foot in front of the other.
She used the genius example of driving a car. Again, in a summary, she said that:
When you first learn how to drive, you are scared shitless. You don’t know exactly what you are doing but you get in the car despite how you feel about your own abilities or the cars that are whizzing by you. You know that countless numbers of people die each year in car accidents and that the danger is real. This takes courage. There is no such thing as confidence at this point. You take the risk because you know you will have to conquer this fear if you want to get where you want to go in life.
The confidence comes when you have driven for awhile and you no longer feel like death is staring you in the face. Your skills improve and you comfortability improves with them. The danger is still there, but you are confident in your own abilities. You can get in your car and reach your destination with literally no thought that you are going to die.
What an amazing and relatable metaphor! This can be applied to so many things!
I love to help people take a leap of faith in their lives. I like to show them that although the danger is real, fear is just a choice that you make. And in some instances, an excuse you make to justify not doing something daunting.
Part of the reason I do Mindset Mondays is to organize my own beliefs and get them in writing so I can work on them. But most of the reason is to help people. To give them inspiration or COURAGE to do what they truly want and gain the contentment of achieving their dreams.
Also, a huge part of my business model is to help marketers go freelance and take the leap into self-employment.
I hear from them all the time, how are you so confident in yourself?
How did you find the confidence to just start your own business out of nowhere?
THE TRUTH IS, I AM NOT CONFIDENT.
I am scared, worried, and feel the pressure every day, just like everyone else. I was especially scared starting out!
People tell me that they envy my confidence to my own business at 22…. Ohhhh if they even knew the half of it. The self-doubt, the stress, the risk that keeps me up at night. I constantly struggle with these things and sometimes they are crippling.
Although I know what they say is meant as a compliment, and my ego takes it as one, I would rather them recognize my courage. Courage allowed me to take the leap of faith, but more importantly, it keeps me going every day. I am not even close to confident yet.
I am like the driver that has been practicing in parking lots and surface streets, but the thought of getting onto the freeway scares the shit out of me. But I know that when the time comes, that fear will not stop me from turning onto the onramp and pressing down the gas pedal. I will be scared, unsure, and aware that I am putting myself at risk, but still, my foot will remain pressed on the accelerator and will be checking my mirrors and signaling that I am going to merge.
Think about this next time you are facing something big. Know that you will not be safe, sure, or CONFIDENT. But know that that is no reason for you not to pursue it. Know that these feelings are going to keep coming up and will induce fear.
The confidence in yourself comes from you finding your courage when fear strikes. You do this over and over again in all parts of your life and you will seem confident to the rest of the world. They will say, how are you so confident? And you will smile and think, if you only knew how unsure I had to be to get here.
If you haven't read my previous blog post “Motivation Comes After Momentum”, it dives into similar feelings and offers supplemental guidance on this mindset.
Why it is important:
How do you want people to view you? Even more important, how do you want to view yourself?
A cautious person that thinks of yourself as “smart” because you can accurately judge the risks? Or a courageous person that doesn’t let the fear of those risks stop them from doing what they want do, or becoming who they want to be?
Be the hero of your own story. Storm into battle swinging your sword our courage. Emerge victorious, wearing your battle wounds with pride.
Earn your confidence from the repetition of testing your courage over and over again.
To conclude, I want everyone to be the best version of themselves. I want everyone to achieve their aspirations. We often let our fear limit us, but that just it. It's just fear. The danger always exists, we can choose to let it stop us, or let our courage give us the ability to overcome those fears.