The secret to confidence is very simple: repetition that is non-negotiable. Confidence = repetition without excuses.
For example, when my husband and I got married, I was good at cooking exactly three things: spaghetti (from a jar), pizza rolls and baked potatoes. Those were the things I was really good at cooking, those were my food groups. Flash forward over a decade and now I am pretty decent at cooking. At the very least no one has been poisoned yet and most of the time they eat whatever I put on the table.
There was nothing special to that magical change. You know the sayings “trial by fire” or “trial by error?” I did both, many times. Caught food on fire, smoked us out of the house, spit out what I was making other people eat and threw it in the trash can. Fire and error. Lots of fire and error. Now I am pretty confident those things won’t happen because of repetition that was non-negotiable. Cooking or preparing food was non-negotiable then because we needed to eat and sometimes we were too broke to eat out. I had to cook, we had to eat. Eventually we were too overweight to eat out or to eat crappy food any longer. I had to cook healthier food, we had to eat healthier.
So, I cooked everyday. That’s what gave me confidence in cooking. Very simple. Now I have more food groups than spaghetti, pizza rolls and baked potatoes. I am very proud of that upgrade.
The same formula applied for how I became a confident runner. Repetition that was non-negotiable. This worked on two levels. While I was in the Air Force, they made me run. So I got better at it because it was certainly repeated and non-negotiable, but only in spurts. I never felt truly good at running though, more just able to not die when doing it. I didn’t feel confident, I did not feel that running was fun. Eventually I got even more serious and I made a plan. For example, “I am going to run one mile every other day.” That was my non-negotiable plan.
What non-negotiable means you’re going to set a goal and not let any excuses stop you from meeting that goal. Literally breaking my leg would have been the only acceptable excuse for not running one mile every other day. Once I did that, I noticed that I found afternoon/evening runs more enjoyable and easier to get through. That was like a little step on the path to success. So I learned that, I added it in to my confidence building.
I also learned that if I didn’t wear leggings I was either going to spend the entire run pulling shorts down and/or chaffing. So now I always wear leggings. Add that into the confidence, the stairway to success. Then, before I knew it, I was an experienced, confident runner just based on the simple formula of repetition that was non-negotiable.
Now I help others gain confidence in running. This girl, who used to get mad at the downhill slope because it made me run faster and I just couldn’t muster that kind of energy, now leads others to be better runners.
You can improve any number of things using this awesomely simple formula: public speaking, a software program at work, a relationship, praying, putting an outfit together, sewing, changing your car’s oil or driving on Highway 98. For example, with public speaking, make yourself practice in front of people daily or weekly until you get better at it. Start small with just your family or a close friend. Then maybe move on to a church group or committee at work. The simple act of DOING without allowing excuses to stop you will make you a better and more confident public speaker.
Likewise, when we moved from Alaska to Florida, learning to drive on 98 was a steep learning curve. So fast, so many turnarounds, so much traffic. The more I did it, however, the more confident I became. Now instead of waiting forever, I can judge the time between cars well, I know that a full U-turn rather than trying to cross the highway all at once is my style. I also know all the back ways through town, just saying. I’m not going to go as far as to say I am fully confident in driving 98, but I am at least more confident.
So, the secret to confidence is repetition that is non-negotiable. Think about something you want to gain confidence in and make a plan. Remember, whatever excuses you think you have, someone else also has those excuses but they are making it happen anyway. You have the power to get confidence in whatever area you feel you’re lacking using repetition and making it non-negotiable. Do not let yourself talk you out of it.