There are many different definitions of confidence, but I recently ran across one that resonated with me: “A belief in oneself arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” To appreciate your own abilities and qualities requires knowing yourself. I believe this self-knowledge and appreciation of who you are – this confidence – is a key to achieving your definition of happiness and success.
In a practical sense, the intangible quality of confidence can sometimes be hard to describe. But, we can feel it in ourselves, and we can see it in others in the way they walk, talk, and handle themselves or a situation. I share with my wife and three children how important I believe confidence is in school, work, sports, relationships and life. As a family, we encourage confidence in each other.
Unfortunately, there are many aspects of life that can take our confidence from us; a bad grade, a failed project, unkind or unflattering words, or even an illness. When I was diagnosed with cancer, my mother gave me a small plaque inscribed with the statement, “Thank you, Lord, that cancer is so limited.” The writing went on to describe those limitations, including “It cannot cripple love, shatter hope, corrode faith, eat away peace, kill friendships, silence courage or destroy confidence.” It seems I failed to read the last inscription; I lost my confidence after my battle with cancer. During the treatment phase, I was intent upon my mission to fight my disease, helped by my family, friends, and doctors. It was a time to determine what needed to be done, and, with God’s help, to find the strength and courage to get through each day. After my treatments, I began to get physically better and was ready to get back to the joys and challenges of life. However, I realized something had been lost – my confidence.
I have been blessed to generally understand what I needed to do to get back and keep my confidence. It took me about a year of working on myself, physically, mentally and spiritually with the help of my wife, wellness doctor, life coach, trainer and others. I continue to work each day to be a better me, to stay in a good place, and to keep and share my confidence. I also strive to be someone who inspires confidence in others.
I believe the amount of confidence each of us has is not static; it ebbs and flows as we journey through life and we must continue to work at it every day. We cannot simply flip a switch and turn on our confidence. It accumulates little by little, one small success and one self-improvement at a time. While there are many programs, books and seminars available to explain how to obtain or increase your confidence, I believe each of us must find it in our own way. By writing this note I’m not trying to tell you how to improve your confidence or how to get it back. Rather, I want to inspire you to appreciate your own abilities and best qualities, and to continue to work hard to find your confidence – and even harder to keep it.
And once you are lucky enough to have it, please remember to complement it with being humble and kind!