Every now and then, you may find that you ask yourself the golden question “How can I build confidence?”
When I shrink back from going after a dream or putting myself out there, I sometimes catch myself wondering how on earth I can be more confident (and even wishing I was born with more of it!).
A number of things can wreak havoc on our confidence.
Maybe you look at your life and worry that your family would be the collateral damage if you step into what you’re called to do.
I’ve been there, too.
Additionally, you may be exhausted by the popular message in our modern culture to just go for your dreams, run over anyone that gets in the way, and not apologize for it.
Plus, if you’re like most women, your inner critic is likely holding you back from the things you know you need to do, right?
You’re not the only one.
In this episode of SHE, I talk with Author of Standing Strong, Alli Worthington, to help you navigate these fears and feelings.
How to Build Confidence: Address Your Fears
As Alli and I dive into our conversation, she starts by sharing her story.
“My biggest fear was that my family would be the collateral damage of doing what God was calling me to do. I think that fear holds a lot of women back.”
I told her I would agree with that for several reasons. Namely, the message we hear most seems to communicate that nothing is more important than achieving our dreams.
A few lessons from this part of the conversation are as follows:
- You don’t just have one calling.
- If something is truly a calling on your life, it’s not going to be damaging to those you live with.
- Your dreams are important but it is not all about you. It’s about the success of the unit – your marriage, your family, etc.
Understand Your Inner Critic
Alli points out that every woman has an inner critic. The inner critic knows knows us better than anyone, and she knows exactly what to say to take us out.
I have always thought that our inner critic’s main job is to criticize us. Until this conversation, that is. Alli offers a very different perspective on the job of the inner critic.
“We are held back by the inner critic because she wants to keep us safe.”
Keeping us safe?
I asked her to expand on what she meant.
“Our inner critic doesn’t want us to put ourselves out there or take risks,” she explained, “It’s not that she doesn’t want us to succeed. She just doesn’t want us to fail.”
I’ve never thought it that way, have you?
To build confidence, Alli points out that we must understand what our inner critic is trying to do when she whispers things like, “You’re not good enough.”
She’s just trying to keep us from taking risks.
However, Alli points out that we are not born with confidence. We build confidence.
How do we build it? We build confidence through action and by taking risks. In other words, doing the exact opposite of what our inner critic wants us to do.
Discern the Voices in Your Head
As we talked about understanding our inner critic, Alli pointed out something else.
She highlighted that many of us mix up the voice of God and the voice of our inner critic. In other words, sometimes we mistake our inner critic for the voice of God. In other words, when our inner critic says, “Don’t do that,” we may think it is God if we are not trained on how to differentiate the two.
Think about it for a moment. Do you think you’ve ever mixed these up, too?
I know I have!
So I asked Alli for some guidance on how to identify the voices we hear.
She suggested asking the following three questions when we have a thought and aren’t sure where it is coming from:
- Is this voice loving? God’s voice will alway be more loving to us than we would be to ourselves. When trying to discern if the thought you’re having or voice you are hearing is your inner critic or God, evaluate if it is a loving voice or a harsh voice.
- Does this voice shame me into conviction or encourage me into obedience? Alli points out that if the voice shames us, it’s a sure sign that it’s our inner critic talking. God doesn’t shame us, ever.
- Am I led to stay small or encouraged to enlarge my faith? If the voice seems to be focused on keeping you small, it’s likely your inner critic. She wants to keep you safe, remember? But God will invite you beyond the edge of your comfort zone and dare you to trust Him.
Needless to say, this episode is full of tips and tools that will help you build confidence and go after the dreams in your heart without neglecting what matters most.
For more on this topic, grab a copy of Alli’s new book, Standing Strong here.
While you’re at it, pick up a copy of my book, Own Your Everyday (if you haven’t read it yet), too!