Confidence: Mistaken Identity

People who are struggling often mistake their struggle for a lack of confidence. Here’s an example to illustrate this point.


The person next to me in the audience leaned over and whispered “I have a thousand questions.” When the Q&A portion of the program started I said “Here’s your chance.” The person shook his head no. When I asked why he said “I don’t have the confidence to open up in front of the group.”

Again I asked “Why?” He said “I’m not sure what to ask.” What he was saying is that the stage of development of his thinking wasn’t far enough along to be able to formulate a question. The “thousand questions” were merely thoughts, possibilities, that felt random and dissociated.

That’s not a confidence issue, that’s a stage of development issue. We’ve all gone through the early stages in new initiatives when we have ideas and aren’t sure which is the appropriate one to propel us toward our goal. It’s normal…a natural part of the process in which ideas evolve into a well-defined goal an actionable plan. Not being sure what to ask is a natural part of that process, but it doesn’t indicate a lack of confidence.

Seeing the fear and anxiety the person was experiencing melt away, as he realized what the real issue was and that it was natural, warmed my heart and triggered this post.

For you

This isn’t the only example of how emotions often leave us feeling less than confident. When we’re afraid we’ve simply forgotten that we’ve never failed to deal with any situation we’ve faced, that’s not a lack of confidence it’s the emotion of fear blocking our memory.

When we procrastinate, it’s not that we lack confidence. We’re trying to force ourselves to do something we don’t enjoy. Similarly, anxiety isn’t a lack of confidence. It feels that way because we haven’t yet determined the source of the anxiety.

The next time your emotions leave you feeling less than confident, remember that your emotion is a message from the subconscious mind. Instead of attributing your feelings to a lack of confidence ask yourself “What is this emotion really telling me?’ Better yet, ask that question of your subconscious mind, then devote your time and energy to something you can accomplish. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your subconscious mind provides an answer.

For our kids

When your kids demonstrate that they aren’t feeling very confident, let them know that it’s their emotion that makes them feel that way. Then offer them the tip of assigning the interpretation of that emotion to their subconscious mind and shifting the conscious mind’s focus to something they can accomplish.

As you live this message, don’t hesitate letting your kids know that you’re feeling less than confident and that you realize that’s an emotional reaction…that you know that you are confident and the emotion is sending a message that you haven’t yet interpreted correctly. This simple approach will prevent you and your kids from taking a hit to your confidence.

If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs.

If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program.

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