For many girls all over the world, this week is the most difficult one of their lives. After Labor Day Weekend, they must go into new territory and face many challenges and insecurities. New Schools, new teachers, peers. studies, sports and activities.
Not to mention new outfits!
Fear of the unknown is one of the strongest Confidence Conflict we will ever face.
I am personally challenged by the unknown this season. As the new assistant coach to daughter’s volleyball team, I find myself in a familiar position of awkwardness. Having little understanding of the sport and very weak skills, I feel in adequate and unqualified. It has been several decades since I have been in high school, yet I find myself battling the same Confidence Conflicts as the kids I am coaching.
Yesterday, the head coach was showing us a funny, dance-like move to spike the ball with power. The first attempt at practicing it was half-hearted and hysterical. Laughter is a great way to hide our embarrassment–at least we don’t feel alone.
Or at least we don’t look like we feel alone.
After the first run through the drill, coach asked our players how many of them felt like they “got it.”
No one did.
My wise, new friend helped the players realized they were not alone in struggling with their new skill. Once they believed that, they were able to forget about how silly they looked and focus on giving it some real effort. It was astounding how much better they were with their second run through the drill!
If you have ever had to learn a new skill, taken on a new position, entered a new environment or had to make new friends, then you know that awkward feeling of not knowing what to do. This can be exceptionally difficult if you do not know who you are or where you stand. Whether you are starting school or a new job, when you don’t know the building, the people, the plan or the requirements, there's a number of ways you could respond: C: Study hard and figure it out. N: Play it cool, stay quiet, watch those around you to find a way. D: Feel defeated, become consumed by your failures. I: Quietly shut down and pretend there is no problem. R: Encourage everyone else–while feeling stupid and beating yourself up. G: Take charge, point out other people's mistakes and try to hide your own. Note: These choices represent the typical responses of each Image Identity. Click the letter to learn more about that style, including What2Wear.
We cannot master anything we do not understand and only a heart that is humble is teachable.
Self-talk is the key to succeeding at anything. Every one of us will feel stupid and out of place many times in our lives, especially when facing something new. It doesn’t matter how old we are or what we have accomplished, there will always be something we haven’t done before.
Like volleyball for me. I thought I was bringing some amazing life skills to encourage the team with, instead I am receiving them because these girls are the ones encouraging me!
Whether we think we can or think we can’t, we are right.
Like the follow-through of any ball we throw, hit, spike or putt, our thoughts determine the direction of our confidence. Basically, we have 3 choices:
- Ignore or down-play the challenge to hide our feelings of inadequacy–but hinder our ability to improve.
- Exaggerate the challenge to disguise our inadequacy–but give it the power to consume us or leave us feeling defeated and desolate.
- Accept the challenge for what it is–empowering us to learn and improve.
If you are heading off to a new environment or position this week, I encourage you to join me in stepping out of the fear of the unknown and taking on the challenge with confidence. Anything new is awkward for a little while. Let’s give ourselves time. If we stay humble enough to be teachable, all our fears will be replaced with confidence as we realize we are not alone. We are not stupid or inadequate; we are learning and we are improving and that is nothing to feel embarrassed about.
As an “Image consultant without the shopping obsession,” I help women and girls overcome confidence conflicts by unveiling the power and purpose of their personal Image Identity (Img.ID) and teach them to accentuate their authentic beauty so they can forget about their appearance and think about others. Please consider me as a speaker for your next event. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Goodreads. For ideas of What2Wear, find me on Pinterest where I have a board for each personal Img.ID.