Confidence

How do you think of yourself?

I’m mixing things up this week because, well, things are stagnating a bit here in the adventure. And I’d like to discuss a learning curve. For those of you who’ve been with me since I started blogging, you know I’m relatively new to it. Plus, you know how it terrifies me.

You see, I’m extremely shy. Not just kinda shy, but ‘Oh God, hide under the table’ shy. It took me several years of college before getting in front of a class didn’t close my throat into a voiceless whisper. I couldn’t hold my notes because then the whole class would see my hands shaking.

Then I took Speech, then Recreation where we had to teach, then I started dancing and they wanted to showcase dance, then Program Planning, which meant ‘get in front of half the town and present a program’ which, for me, ended up being a Trace Bundy concert…

DSC_0144You see the pattern. Time after time after time of getting in front of people to say something. By the time I got to the concert, I could actually stand up and hold the mic without stuttering. Well, mostly without stuttering.

Since graduating, I’ll admit, I can’t remember the last time I stood in front of a crowd.

Then, this last December, my sister asked if I’d like to sing with her. Yeah, I sing in the car or the shower but if my speaking in front of a group was bad, then singing in front of people was even worse. I can’t even sing in front of my husband without becoming a mouse.

For some reason I told my sister yes. We’ve been practicing since January and I thought I was good. Confident.

Until I started picturing my self in front of the room for the recital. Hand’s start to sweat, voice goes all shaky, breath comes in little gasps… Oh God, hide.

But this is something I need to do. Here’s the key I found in college and need to remember now. Picture myself confident.

It sounds odd but the brain’s where it starts and the body follows. If I practice over and over and over again with the mindset that I’m capable and good at singing in front of others, then what I practice will come through on the day I sing for the recital. You perform to the lowest level of how you practice.

I very much believe this.

So what does this have to do with writing?

It’s the same principle. No matter if it’s writing, singing, speaking, riding a bike or any other thing we’d like to perfect.

This blog’s my practicing. Every time something posts I’m still terrified, I still watch the comments in half anticipation, half fright but breathe a sigh of relief when the day’s done and nothing catastrophic’s happened.

So thank you to those of you who’ve witnessed my practice and encouraged me along the way. I encourage you, even if it feels like the world’s going to judge or laugh, to practice and set yourself a goal, so the practice has a purpose to achieve your dreams. Think confident, then be confident.

Blessings,

Jennifer

“As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

Face the Fear with Your Confident Face in Place

Thick skinned! It’s like saying “I’m a woman and I don’t care what people think of me.” Hah. It’s human nature and no matter how hard I try there’s always someone I wish to think well of me.

So I liken writing to sitting behind the wheel of my truck in the middle of Denver traffic. I’m gripping the wheel when that sick feeling in my stomach hits me like the elevator just lurched. I’ve taken a wrong turn and no amount of looking in the rearview mirror will bring back the right exit. No amount of telling myself “that one! It was that exit, dummy!” will place my wheels on the road of that exit.

How in tarnation do I get back? I grew up in a small mountain town, I hate city driving! No, that’s not quite right, I’m scared of city driving.

Just as I’m scared of writing and sharing it. Typing out words, I stare at them and then delete them. (In fact, I’ve deleted this sentence about five times.) Words sound too simple, too naive, not punchy enough, not engaging…the mental litany runs on. People will see my weaknesses!

But no amount of worry will make my writing better just as no amount of hiding in my house will make me more comfortable driving in the city. I must drive the city to get better and I must write and share to overcome my terror of people’s thoughts.

Last year I set a goal: to have a blog.

I succeeded with much shaking and nervous ‘Oh God’s along the way.

This year I’ve set another goal: to continue the blog.

“Oh, God…”

Every time a blog posts, fear makes my hands shaky. I want comments. But I fear comments. What’ll I do if someone’s critical? Gah! I swing from excitement to terror and back…but fear’s paralyzed me for too long. It’s prevented me from reaching out and taking life by the collar and owning it.

Mark Twain once wrote: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

So with this post, I acknowledge how ridiculous most of my fears are and ask the question, “what is the worst that can happen?” Someone’s mean. Okay, I’ll deal with it when it happens. Maybe with much crying but I’ll deal.

So I straighten my shoulders, hold my head high, and plant myself in front of my computer (or behind the wheel, depending on time of day). Confidence face in place.

So what are you held from doing because you fear the journey? Whatever it may be, hold your head high and put your confidence face on. We’ll make this year the year we held life by the collar and owned it!

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. I feel a bit like I’ve just ranted, spitting all over the screen. *Wipes screen clean with sleeve*. Please forgive my spittle, I meant well..