I remember the time I attended a community summit in 2019, the audience in the room consisted of our city’s mayor, police, decision-makers for our community, and members from the community. I was asked last minute, to speak on a specific topic.
Yup -this was me at that moment.
I remember grabbing the first piece of paper I could get my hands on and hurriedly preparing a bullet list on the fly.
As per usual, my heart was beating, my palms were sweating and my inner critic was worried I’d forget all of my words.
Thankfully I survived this brief presentation (that lasted no more than 3-5 minutes😆) but after walking away from this, I asked myself the age-old question I ask myself every time. “What is wrong with you Willijah? Why is speaking such a problem? You founded a non profit and need the confidence to speak and promote your cause”.
This wasn’t the first time I had to give a presentation and I knew it would not be my last. The fear of public speaking and being confident on camera has held me back in several areas of my life, one area specifically is building my presence online.
Through the years of journeying the road known as “ personal development”, I’ve learned the importance of getting to the root cause of an issue and questioning the “Why”. Questions like: Why is it that we are afraid? What caused this fear? What from your past may be hindering you in this area.
Why is it that some of us are held back, more than others to put ourselves out there?
Sure, public speaking can be scary, as my public speaking coach Nik Scott said, even the best speakers/performers out there get scared.
However, when you pull back the layers for some of us you’ll find that the root cause is usually much deeper and boils down to our confidence.
“The quality or state of being certain”.
We lack confidence in ourselves and our abilities.
So, in today’s post, you will learn:
- reasons why some people have low confidence
- Steps to take to improve confidence
- How to join me on my “2021 Confidence Journey”
Why some have low confidence.
When I was a kid, in third grade specifically, I remember trying to show off in front of my friends during our lunch break. I remember holding my throat, falling to the ground, and acting like I was choking. This definitely caused a ruckus at our table and I got in trouble and was forced to sit in the “time out area”.
As you can imagine, this reprimand combined with other factors such as being homeschooled throughout junior + senior high (socially awkward), being bi-racial (generational trauma) coming from poverty, not having my father’s presence, growing up in a predominately white neighborhood, and other more personal factors had a hand at shaping and molding my character.
Low confidence can look different for everyone but some of the reasons and examples are as follows:
- Childhood or life experiences
- Example: A traumatic experience that may have involved bullying, The way an individual was raised, A relationship where one may be dealing with a narcissist.
- Not having experience in a specific area
- Example: public speaking. How can one be confident if they’ve never done it before? It takes practice.
- Body/Image Issues
- Example: Everyone wants a perfect body. The game of comparison and fear of what others will think of them.
- Example: Some individuals struggle with wanting things to be perfect, therefore they put off “trying a new thing” and getting the experience they need to build confidence.
How to improve confidence
As Nike (and some of my coaches have said) – Just Do It. Fake it til you make it.
Yes, Yes – we all know this. We just need to do it and put ourselves out there Sound advice, of course, but In my opinion, to do anything well, you need a strategy. Because I am actively working towards improving my confidence I have dived deep into this topic and will share three of the things that I have learned to help improve my confidence:
- Dig deep – address the areas in your life that may be hindering your confidence. What have you dealt with in the past that could be hindering you? Are you dealing with limiting beliefs? Do you have body image issues? Maybe you need to look into investing in a coach that will help you overcome whatever your area may be.
- Set an achievable goal – choose a confidence-building activity and work on it. Put the energy and time you can into working on this activity. If you falter and fall off the bandwagon that’s okay, sometimes life needs your focus elsewhere. Just pick yourself back up and try again. An example of activity could be “The Rejection Challenge” or signing up for a public speaking course like Toastmasters or if you want to be a public speaker check out FABB public speaking. (A course I personally took to prepare me for future public speaking opportunities that I know will come with being a nonprofit leader )
- Face the Fear – once you’ve done the above work now is the time you face the fear and just do it. Put yourself out there and get to work. Get over looking silly, practice makes perfect (future #notetoself)
How to join me on my “2021 Confidence Journey”
Confidence is a skill I have yet to master, I am still working through the first two bullets referenced above but I am challenging myself to overcome the hurdle I have in public speaking, going live + getting on camera.
If you would like to join me for this ride be sure to join my email list if you are not subscribed currently (scroll to the bottom of this page to join), I will be sharing my challenge more in depth to my newsletter.
Or you can follow me over on Instagram I love connecting with like-minded individuals and have met some amazing women online.