As an incredibly shy child, Mum enrolled me in the local Children’s Little Theatre program, hoping I would learn how to fake some confidence. Years later, when I was being rather precocious and she called me on my behaviour, my response was ‘Hey you asked for this’. But was it really confidence?
I had fallen in love with performing that very first moment I stepped onto stage where only seconds before in the wings, I was literally shaking like a leaf and was in full panic attack mode. My only saving grace was that the hall we were in didn’t have an exit on Stage Left so my only way to safety was across the stage. I felt the warmth of the stage lights on my face and could hear the words, so carefully learned coming from my mouth just as I’d been taught. It was magical, but was it confidence? It was a very real and visceral moment and not one I could fake.
Fake It Till You Make It. This ol’ nugget gets pulled out whenever someone has self-doubt, but what does it even mean? Fake what? Confidence? How? How will I know I’ve ‘made it’ so I can stop faking it? When does the confidence become real? Does it EVER become real? Spoiler alert… the only person you fool with that one is YOU! Fake confidence is bravado, boldness, bluster, audacity, boastfulness (yes I own a thesaurus) and will never magically morph into the real deal.
What does get you out onto that stage or into that situation or conversation that has you sweating? ‘What puts the APE in APRICOT…. COURAGE’. The Lion was right; recognising your fear, anxiety, social awkwardness or self-doubt and stepping up regardless is COURAGE and I guarantee, the only person you must prove your worthiness to is YOU! It’ll happen slowly, imperceptible at first, creeping up on you like a sunburn – wait no that’s not right, like boiling water or the thawing of ice till you can recognise the fear and anxiety has abated, the social awkwardness has diminished and voila, you’ll find that the self-doubt has been replaced with…. CONFIDENCE!