If you’ve known me longer than 5 years, I’m sure you can agree with the statement: Nakisha Washington giving advice about confidence is an oxymoron.
However, I’ve developed an unbreakable confidence that has opened new doors, provided a sixth sense when making decisions and propelled me into a space that I previously believed only existed for other people.
The real question is: How did I go from being overly conscious and unable to make a decision without consulting (read: getting approval) 10 people to the ask for forgiveness instead of permission, bold, confident go-getter that you see today?
Real questions need real answers, right? The truth is… iPracticed.
Maybe She’s Born With It….Maybe Issa Skill
According to an article published in Psychology Today, confident people deliberately learn and practice specific skills. Confidence, afterall, is a skill and not a personality trait. Like any other skill, it must be cultivated, practiced and then practiced even more.
Here are 3 things that I practiced to gain confidence:
But Did You Die?
Everything used to scare the hell out of me. The thought of not being liked, feeling inadequate and unqualified, being told no… the list goes on. The best way to overcome your fears is to face them head on.
A few years ago, I made up my mind that I would do one thing everyday that scared me. I didn’t announce it… I just did it. “It” being whatever that thing was that I had avoided because of fear.
I applied to jobs that I had previously passed over thinking that I didn’t stand a chance. Would I get an interview?
I asked for exactly what I wanted. Would I be judged?
I told someone “No” and wondered if they’d still like me.
Facing these fears wasn’t easy… or fun. Each time I did something that scared me, I asked myself “But did you die?” Over time, I realized that the outcomes of facing my fears were much worse in my mind than they were in real life.
Prepare to Win
She readyyyyy! I literally prepared for everything that I said that I wanted. I wrote acceptance speeches for awards, I dressed as if I were the keynote speaker at events that I attended and managed my finances as if I were already a business owner.
Prematurely owning the spaces that I wanted to be in ultimately landed me in those exact spaces. There was power in visualizing my dreams that were hidden on the other side of fear.
Laugh at Yourself
I used to take myself sooooo seriously. I embarrassed easily and became defensive when others pointed out mistakes. I obsessed over details that will never matter. Oh, the stress!
In 5-inch heels and the miniest of skirts, I tripped walking into a restaurant during an HBCU homecoming.
( I’ll pause for you to get over second hand embarrassment.)
I recovered quickly, looked around and laughed so hard I shed real tears. That was the first time in my life that I’d had a hearty leaugh at myself. It felt good. Damn good, actually.
When I stopped taking myself so seriously, mistakes and setbacks didn’t weigh as heavily as they had in the past. I gained the confidence to step out more boldly and more often. Even if you trip on that step, you’ll just have a funny story to tell.