Over the weekend, I took a beginner’s dance workshop. Now for many people, dancing is something they have done naturally since they were kids, and feel totally free and awesome doing. Growing up down South, there is a heavy social expectation that both men and women will have basic proficiency with dancing. I even have a friend who even competes in ballroom dancing! Me, well, I feel completely anxious about dancing. When I dance, I feel stiff, awkward and like I have 2 left feet…super uncoordinated and self-conscious, worried about what everyone else is thinking about me, and generally just feeling bad about myself.
In the past several years, I have been very deliberate about what I want to work on. For 2015, I am calling this year the “Year of Fearlessness” and am directly facing some old fears, head on. One of my fears was dancing…so what was the next logical step? Take dance lessons of course!
I wish I had been able to record the thoughts in my head the day of my first dance lesson. My thoughts were amazing in their creativity, making excuses as to why I should bail on the class. Thoughts ranged from truths like “The class starts too late, you’ll be tired” (totally true, class starts at 8:15 pm…brutal! However, it was irrelevant, because I had agreed to go, both to myself and to the instructor), to more self-critical thoughts like “You’re going to be terrible at this, everyone will be better than you, you’re too uncoordinated to ever do this, you’re going to make a fool of yourself.” You get the drift. Lots of fear, lots of uncertainty, zero confidence in myself.
Often what I hear from my clients is that they are waiting for confidence or motivation or an overall sense that “I can do this!” before they start something. I let them know that there is a major problem with this way of thinking. Why? Well, confidence never starts a path. Confidence is not an attribute you can count on at the beginning of any learning curve. Learning curves are called curves because that is exactly what they are…you start at the bottom and gradually move upwards until you have mastered a skill. Looks like this:
You start at the bottom, without knowledge, or confidence, and gradually move up until you have mastered, or at least gotten really familiar with a skill. When does confidence come in? At the end, close to mastery! Confidence comes along AFTER you have been doing something, once you have learned a bit about the new skill, done some repetitions, and gotten the hang of something. Not, I repeat, definitely not, at the beginning of learning something new. So guess what was totally normal for me to feel about starting dance lessons? Totally NOT confident! And because I understand the notion that confidence is not something that comes unearned, I could remind myself that OF COURSE I wasn’t feeling confident the day I started. It was only natural to feel nervous and self conscious and anxious. You know what? So was almost everybody else in the class! (There were a few folks who had been dancing a while, so they seemed a little bit more sure of themselves, and, for the record, were totally kind and encouraging to the rest of us, even me with my 2 left feet). So now I am a total of 7 lessons in, and took the workshop this weekend to keep myself on that sweet upward curve towards mastery and confidence. Am I there yet? Nope, but the path of facing fears and learning new things sure feels good.
So this brings me to my friend David Hamilton, who is offering a free webinar this Thursday on building social confidence. He struggled with anxiety and a lack of social confidence for years, and then figured out a few key elements that have helped him become very successful in mastering, and feeling great in social situations. I rarely (really never) send folks information on someone else’s programming, but I feel strongly that David’s message is a lifesaver for those who are struggling with social anxiety, and lack of interpersonal confidence. See below for his links and enjoy his program!
PS: In the spirit of full disclosure this is an affiliate link, so while his webinar is totally free (and actually gives you actionable content), if you eventually buy something from David, I will get a small commission.