Bravery vs confidence mixed in with a dollop of self-doubt

This is a very broad topic so I will only touch on it very briefly here and have more future posts around the theme of Confidence as I feel that it is very topical right now and I want to get a dialogue going.

What I do

I am a Qualified and experienced Life Coach specializing in enhancing your Creativity and Confidence. I help creative professionals and go-getters embrace their true selves by coaching and collaborating with them to uncover their legacy, build their brand and let go of old stories from the past that no longer serve us and in fact get in the way and are success-blockers .

Career Coaching Dublin

My programs lead my client to boosting their self esteem, increasing their confidence level by living unapologetically which involves questioning the old narratives of their lives and rewriting new stories about themselves, their ability and their identity. This impacts how they show up in work, at home and in society and relationships.

Working with creative people brings me so much joy because we use the same side of our brain and learn in a similar way. Finding yourself is a life long process for everyone and many never do but for anyone creative has been blessed with a sensitivity in which they can see and feel and hear it all. We are all creative humans regardless of whether we create tangible works of art and design to whether we are using our skills in the workplace and take the integrity of our work seriously.

Where The Coaching Program comes in for Creativity

If you need help with increasing your confidence and self-esteem or with tangible discoveries such as working with me to;

  • Build your Brand
  • Help and guide you through advice and accountability for your productivity
  • Writing your book
  • Delivering on a new project – (or finishing an old one)
  • Building a portfolio
  • standing out at work and in life
  • rewrite old stories and create new ones
  • Live as you and no one else

The possibilities are endless when you have a Creativity Coach by your side. Another part of the business is Career Strategy and Design where I:

  • prepare you for Acing your for interviews
  • Design a career strategy
  • CV Rewrite and Redesign – this cv service can be used in addition to the interview package.

The topic: Confidence and bravery

The difference between confidence and bravery

If there are any experts in this area – please scroll on because I am just shooting the breeze here. Thank you!

The post today is about bravery, confidence and self -doubt and how I feel that for me and the majority of my clients, they go hand in hand. Confidence and bravery are considered very similar but I think that being confident is living a belief. Bear with me here, this post will meander off in every direction so just take a deep breath and strap yourself in because I might go a little off piste here.

Sure why not?

So here is my question to anyone that is reading this……

Would you consider yourself a brave person or a confident person? Or both? Do you also experience self-doubt regularly? Or does self doubt hinder both of these? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I applaud your humanity.

‘to deny another’s humanity is to bury one’s own’ – ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle.

Brave things for me have always been filled with Self-doubt

Any time that I have been brave and done brave things – I have never felt confident – is that ironic? Any time I have said that I want to go for it I am filled to the brim with reasons to not do it along with its lovely cousin ‘Who am I to do this?’ and then the latter one that comes in during anxious times when I hear the ‘you’re not good enough’ – ‘you’re going to fall flat on your face’

I think the bravery comes from within and has a spiritual aspect to it that extinguishes the ego. Yes if we fail the ego may get bruised. But what about what is inside us? What if the bravery is leading us to do great things and we fall again and again and again because we are honouring ourselves and saying SCREW MY EGO. So the bravery inside us is guiding us through many imperfect actions to get to where we need to go. As I said at the start of the post that this is a broad topic so I don’t want to link this in with our attitudes and inbuilt beliefs about success versus failure because that’s a conversation to have after a deep dive into our thoughts and upbringing.

Defining bravery and confidence

For divilment, I decided that I would look in the dictionary for the definitions to see if I can draw any semblance of meaning or contrast here. Are you still there? – I hope so.

  1. Definition for Brave: (from the Mcmillan Dictionary)
  2. capable of dealing with danger or pain, without seeming to be frightened
  3. use in a phrase: put a brave face/front on something

Adverbs used with brave: exceptionally, immensely, extremely.

(Okay I am not going down the rabbit hole here or allowing myself to get annoyed but the brave face phrase seems to be something that was always there in my childhood – being afraid is natural but in order to move forward we must act in a different way for the outside world to be kept in ignorance, all the while we are shitting ourselves. ) Brave is for soldiers and activists but does this apply to presenting in front of a class or getting an injection as a child? Of course it does. People will say – you were extremely brave there!

Adverbs use with confident: pretty, fairly, quite.

So, within a confident state or belief is where the self-doubt comes in, in my opinion – because the crappy adverbs that follow show uncertainty already – fairly/quite/pretty confident is almost like a question. Question: ”How are you feeling about the exam?”

Answer: “I am fairly confident – (which means that it could go either way for you) and it has a MEHness about it.

Confidence by definition is  “the belief that you are able to do things well” – so if this is a belief then where does my own bravery come from because it doesn’t come from my confidence level in Confidence is more linked feelings of pride. Is this the ego talking here?

Bravery definition:

Is defined as brave behaviour but also is very closely linked with reward: admirecommemoratehonourpraiserecognizereward have confidence

Can we give ourselves admiration , honour and praise from doing something great when we are squirming? When we are terrified and self-doubting? I bloody well think so and we should!

To exude confidence

In my opinion and from experience, I would say that the self -doubt has always been there for me no matter how brave I felt. Confidence on the other hand seems to be something that we excude? Something that you can see perhaps? But bravery is something that you feel on the inside.

You can be brave and confident and be riddled with self-doubt all at the same time. For me, this is at a cellular level that I feel this doubt and I don’t think it’s to do with confidence or bravery, its much deeper than that. Any speech I have given or anytime I put myself out there, I feel itchy, frightened, sweaty and as exposed as I would feel if I woke up in the nip in the middle of grafton street with shoppers clambering over me in disgust with their jaws dropping as they avert their eyes from my naked parts.

The outsider (but only on the outside in my mind)

When I was a self-employed artist I always felt like an introverted outsider and felt that I could only paint because I wasn’t able to do much else or maybe I was afraid to try? Who knows really. On my first big solo exhibition – I look back and I was squirming inside when I had to do my speech. I looked around the gallery at my art work covering the walls from top to bottom. I had worked really hard at this and had ‘beavered away in my studio’ as the well-known artist declared the exhibition as officially open. When I look back at it now, I remember the shaky hands, the imposter syndrome – or I like to call it ‘INTRUDER STATE’ because it does pass – eventually.

A very squirmy speech (Tonight – I have to be someone else!)

There was millions of thoughts in my head – well not millions but let’s say that there 15 negative thoughts but not one positive one. The train of thought began with ‘Make sure to be ladylike’ and hold a glass of white wine so that people know that you are an adult and a real artist. Be a real artist, be a real lady, be a real professional. Be an attractive girlfriend. Be a success. Be mannerly. There was also the narrative in my head was not to be too cocky and not to be too sure of myself because people don’t like that! I must be nonchalant and act like I do these things all the time – Launch solo exhibitions in my early twenties. I must not under any circumstances show them the ‘real me’ because she’s a hot mess that smokes and drinks and curses constantly. TONIGHT, I HAVE TO BE SOMEONE ELSE. I must exude a Peggy Guggenheim type character that I was trying so hard to BE. The time came for my toast after the exhibition was declared open. I stood in my purple dress and yellow heels (quirky for me – as my ex liked simplicity – which is a whole other story) I felt the hot lights of the room glare down on me, blinding me and making my woollen dress cling to every part of me, under my arms, my belly and that area under the back of my hair was so hot that it was causing the sweat to drizzle down my spine.. I held the white wine delicately (pinky cocked of course) and looked into everyone’s eyes, they were expecting a bubbly toast perhaps or anything that was what I actually said.

At the end of my brief toast, everyone clapped and I could tell my family was proud but if I was a snail I would have slinked into the shell and bounced down the stairs to the nearest puddle outside. My speech was maybe 35 words, insincere and terrible. I began by telling everyone that the exhibition was about the ‘celebration of colour’ (even though it was so much more than that with 54 pieces in total on display) The exhibition was mostly orange so there wasn’t exactly a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours there. I didn’t say what I wanted to say and I allowed the horrible thought own me. I held up my glass and sheepishly said ‘Cheers’ as I retreated back to the safety of standing behind my sister like some scared little lamb.

The video unfortunately found its way to youtube and I don’t even know who put it up there but some day I will share it as I feel so far removed from that now. I remember that I had piers there, family members, neighbours, reporters and people from the community. I wanted to die right there and then and I was pumping sweat. This was the big night that I had worked so hard for. I had no faith in my work, the medium I used or any idea how the pieces would be received. I needed to show them something tangible that would justify my hiding out in the garden shed for a year. Pieces ranged from 30 euros to 300 and the majority of them sold and before 1 hour had passed there were red dots on everything around the room. Did I see it as a success? Of course not, I convinced myself that everyone bought my work because they knew me and everyone came to show support because they had to and couldn’t let me down or my family down. I never for one moment believed that it was based on the strength of my work and the integrity of the medium and the story that ran throughout the exhibit. Even when the article came out in the local paper, I was mortified by the sheer exposure and embarrassment of it. It was only recently that I look at that and see how much I have grown since then and how I would never permit myself to squirm like that again.

I went on to continue to paint and then decided to go and do the design degree because I got bored and I suppose I was a little isolated at the time – working away in the studio, smoking myself into a cloud of creativity and a lonely life. It was a strange time really because when I went to do design but in the first few weeks, I felt that I had bitten off more than I could chew. By the way, there are so many different tributaries of stories that could run off from this one but my main point here is that we say that we like when women are confident but as a sex/gender – I am not quite sure what term to use for use anymore. I am a woman and I don’t know what to call myself, probably out of fear of saying something unwoke (that’s also another potential blog post – but must stay focused on what the hell I am trying to get across here)

Teaching confidence to young people

I was never taught confidence here in Ireland or as a little girl and that isn’t any slight on my parents’ rearing skills at all, this is a societal issue that impacts us as young girls and also as women. As women, is it really okay that we have to learn our confidence through the hustle and through the conceived failings or flat on our face moments. Or is that just a bias that I have about this. You may hear people say that someone is naturally confident like they were born with it. But this is more to do with the actions that they take every day that are in line with the person that they are – their identity. So if a GAA player is a super confident player that is part of her/his identity and not to do with their belief in some cases. Would this GAA player say that they are a confident mathematician? Probably not. If the actions that you take line up with how society sees you then they are accepted. As young girls we are taught to be polite, bashful and not overly vocal about our achievements. is this conditioning so that you don’t shout your unhappiness or your time of the month from the rooftops embarrassing yourself and everyone that knows you. I am trying to help this problem and have a new journal for Teenage girls coming out in the shops in June 2021 teaching them how to own themselves and trust their abilities and use anxiety as their superpowers (or there abouts) I will post closer to the time about the release.

Confidence and self-esteem hacks

We were not taught confidence or any confidence hacks as children nor did we have God there (aka google) to ask all of our awkward ‘FIX IT’ questions. We were expected to knuckle down and do it all but you must not be full of yourself or blow your own trumpet. It is funny how embracing who you are now today with warts and all seems to be a common thread in society. But is it for everyone? Are we safe to go for it and ‘feel the fear’ and do it anyway? Will society catch us and break our fall? Can we get these conversations going outside about what is going on inside?

Anxiety, empathy and sensitivity (could be our superpower)

We know that many people say Just do it and it will be fine. Sure this is Nike’s motto – but as I sit here writing with my Nike’s on am I getting the message that they are trying to get across? But this can be tough for any person that has anxiety because it is bright and white and always there, draped in empathy and sensitive feelings. For many of my clients its the exposure and fear of ridicule that almost has a taste that can be felt in our swollen tongues and clammy hands.

Fear is real when it happens but it does stand for FANTASIZED EXPERIENCES APPEARING REAL. I wish I had learnt that in 3rd class rather than doing a project on Paul McGrath and Woodpigeons.

The fear feels real – very real and the most confident and brave people out there feel it too just some are more vocal than others, right?

Doers, go getters, sensitive empaths, compassionate souls and kind individuals (which we all are) – We feel it all, all of the time.

But because we feel it all – does that mean that there is a flaw in us? No bloody way! Definitely not! Going back to Glennon’s quote about denying ones humanity is to bury one’s own – can this not be applied to us and to our own self-reflection?

If you deny your emotions, feelings and beliefs you are in fact burying your own humanity. We are all wonderfully human and no one is any of these definitions ALL THE TIME. These are transitional states that can change every five minutes. You might apply for something that you really want and then as time passes the self-doubt takes over and convinces you that you don’t want it anymore depending on your state of mind and mood at the time. You can change the narrative around this and use your care for others as your superpower. I am from the self-made school of thought that creative people feel it all and only when they hush the self-doubt and negative emotions so they thrive and see their own potential. We don’t need to not see ourselves as flawed but as beautifully bruised humans that have unique gifts and talents that need to be shared with the world.

Confidence, apathy and paralysis

So there are times and days when we may feel highly confident and brave enough to do anything and then there are days that we feel that paralysis and apathy towards our goals, purpose, projects or our work – this is completely normal. As an empath and a coach that cares for others and their desires, I feel responsible to use my voice for good.

We are all doing our best but we need to make sure that the things that take up most of our time are leading us to where we want to go in the end. If you don’t fill your days with inspiring tasks then your day will automatically get filled up with things that drain you and don’t offer any inspiration therefore leading to general dissatisfaction with your life.

Where did the word Confidence come from?

I recently heard one of  Fearne’s podcast ‘A Happy Place’ which mentions what confidence is and the word confident is derived from con and fid which means fidelity to self. It means that in the majority of situations that you have to stay loyal to your inner wisdom. I loved this because it is trusting the inner so that you can enter the outer trusting yourself. This to me is a far better definition than Macmillan’s definition.

I already wrote that I wouldn’t talk about success and failure (as that is foranother post). But there is success and there is failure and metrics for each in our lives but there is also perfection and perceived levels of perfection that we put on ourselves and  what I have learnt over the last ten years in business and in coaching and with championing individuals to live their best lives by honouring themselves and themselves alone is that lots and lots of imperfect actions pave a path of individuality where you can BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER. No one is else is going to do that for you – no one ever. You are the most important part of your own life not to mention the most important person. So treat yourself like the VIP that you are.

Even now as I keep writing and writing – the self doubt of this blog post’s reception is making me squirm – but I have learnt in my 30’s that there is no point in it sitting here in a folder on my laptop if it can add some value for people out there – SO please like and share x

We become the phoenix rising from the ashes when we break away from old habits, rewrite new narratives around our past and face the shadowy demons and ghosts to break out of our society made and self-made traps.

What trap are you still inside that you want to break out of? did you built it yourself or was it build for you?

Our inner wisdom

The wisdom is within all of us to know what to do next but our programming, habits and old beliefs stand in our way if we feel that making the move or taking that step will threaten our identity or rock our foundations. Maybe start by taking stock of what you are grateful for on the inside. Just for you. See link below in the picture:

Feel the squirm and be you

Being squirmy in my own skin is something that I am used to now and knowing that I am an anxious person. It is only when you challenge this belief to not see yourself as flawed but gifted that things start to change. Whenever I started a new job, a new project, worked as part of a team, I constantly squirmed day in and day out because I felt like I wasn’t good enough, I felt like I didn’t fit in and that there was something fundamentally flawed about me.

I did my BA in humanities – focusing on industrial and product design, I shared a studio with thirty men and never felt smart enough, bright enough or technically skilled enough as there was constant running jokes about my ability and the fact that I got away with a lot because I was a girl. Although, now I can hold my own in my thirties – that was a long time coming and a lot of blushing and getting helped with my tech drawings/presentations etc.

I maybe played off this a little and probably took a lot of liberties at the time (usually for punctuality reasons as I was always late) but most of all the effect that this had on me and my training was that I allowed myself to not try as hard in certain situations where I had the fear of being exposed as a fraud because that would only confirm my fraudster mentality.

  • Not sorry!

So, instead I allowed myself to struggle with the computer programs and rarely asked for help because I was afraid of shining the light on myself which led to an overall stubbornness that is a daily struggle to shake off as well as the fact that it has become part of my personality that I know it all and I can do it all. It makes me very tired because no one has to know all the answers!

Scales of anxiety – pre and post/during the pandemic

I recently had a chat with a friend of mine where we were discussing where we were on the scale of anxiety to thriving in comparison to this time last year (pre-pandemic). We both agreed that we were thriving and we laughed and the reason we applied this metric was that we came to the conclusion that the pandemic has changed everyone and for some it has been for the better? I went on to talk about the confidence certification that I recently obtained and said that I got more from that course because it made sense to me. We both studied self compassion and she is going on to learn in addition to her NLP qualification to be a mindfulness teacher. I would be lost without her!

Surrounding yourself with your tribe and people that love you is the key to your future and allows you to sit in the present – warts and all.

We are perfectly imperfect and we need to embrace that now once and for all

So, the main thing that we must remember is that we are always doing our best but we need to stop the criticism and the ridicule that we allow into our lives.

My niche as a Creativity Coach

My niche has developed since my Degree in Humanities where I qualified as an Industrial Designer – this coupled with my love of business and industry allowed me to approach business in a creative way by working with clients by designing strategies for them through problem solving. I was lucky enough to get amazing training and support and mentors that allowed me to work my way up to a coaching capacity in a highly competitive sales industry working hand in hand with Directors and consultants ensuring that they were showing up equipped with the full realization of their potential in work and in life. I am so grateful to everyone that helped me – I met some amazingly wonderful people.

Own yourself with me

My talent today lies in working with creatives to deliver tangible and visible results that lead to them to  owning themselves, their skills and story and driving their professional agendas forward permitting them to show up in the world with a sense of pride and belonging in social circles and family situations.

Self-acceptance and fulfillment

There is a common theme that arises with my clients during our journey to self-acceptance, self-actualisation and fulfillment and this is the question of confidence levels mixed in with a pinch of self doubt when they attempt to ‘dare greatly’ as Brene Brown coined a few years back.

Showing up as bold and brave when you squirm in your own skin as a human being or a creative human being can be a big challenge and make you feel like an outsider.

I think that this must stop. As people we are all unique and individual and have been blessed with different skills, gifts and talents and we sometimes don’t even get to use them. The beliefs and value systems are learnt through our environments and conditioning. As a creative person, creativity becomes part of our identity and our motivation and affects how we show up in the world.

Start giving yourself permission to live!

When we permit these awful things to enter our lives they hold us back and just add to a self-fulfilling prophecy of whether we are worthy.

See below the ‘Self Image quiz’ that is free to download and helps you to take a snapshot of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours about yourself and your image.

Take some time to fill it in and be as open and honest as you can with yourself.

Drop me an email on amy@thecoachingprogram.ie and I will send you your scoring card so that you can get a snapshot on where needs work or what will boost your self-esteem.

  • I help creatives embrace their true selves by helping them to uncover their legacy that leads to increased confidence which involves questioning old narratives that leads to rewriting new stories about themselves, their ability and their identity.
  • Finding yourself is a life- long process for anyone creative and anyone that was blessed with a brain at birth – we all have an imagination and our levels of creativity differ from person to person.
  • My specialised areas are helping people to build their brand, create their online voice, write their book/blog, delivering new projects (or finishing old ones), building a portfolio, build a successful linkedin profile. Download your Free Self Image Quiz here Download your Free Self Image Quiz here

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