Going somewhere new always brings me anxiety. Driving 40 miles out of town to meet a friend at a place I was at once over a year ago on New Year’s Eve was no exception. I had printed directions, sent myself a Google Maps text with directions, and even borrowed a Garmin GPS so I could make sure everything went smoothly. Yet nervous butterflies became a clanging gong as I exited off the main highway and followed the robotic voice to, hopefully, the correct destination. The closer I got, the more timid I became.
“Maybe I should just turn around and go home. I’ll just tell her something came up.”
“I don’t really want to stay the night with someone I don’t know very well.”
“There are a lot of chores and tasks I should be doing at home instead of going to a party.”
This was the pivotal moment: Do I allow my anxiety and fear to make my decisions or do I step out in confidence and handle whatever comes my way?
I’ve made it my mission to live life confidently—even if I turn out to be wrong. This principle allows me to see every situation as a confidence-building learning opportunity. Mistakes are a given in life, but growth from them is optional. Choosing growth means risking failure, embarrassment, loss, etc. I want to become good at messing up and moving forward. Life often seems like a tightrope where one “wrong” step will send you tumbling to your death. Instead, I see it as an opportunity to re-calibrate my anxiety prone brain by reminding myself of my strengths and resources.
“No, I am not turning around. If the GPS is wrong, I will just call my friend and have her give me better directions. I’m smart enough to eventually figure it out. Staying with new people helps me expand my comfort zone. I’m really glad I know not to believe my ridiculous rationalizations!”
GPS tells me I’ve arrived at my destination and it looks a little familiar, but I’m still feeling a bit tentative. I sternly look myself in the rear view mirror and declare, “Be decisive! Park and march right into the house confidently. Facing your fear with action is what’s most important right now.”
So that’s what I did. I pulled into the long driveway, parked, got out of the car, and walked up to the door. The main door was open, so without knocking, I opened the glass storm door and stepped inside. There were about 10 people in the room. I said, “Did I get the right house? Is Terri here?”
Everyone looked at me in surprise. Nope, nada, no way, no how—there was no Terri there and no one knew a Terri. I’d confidently walked into the wrong house!
Instead of feeling overwhelming embarrassment or panic-filled anxiety, I actually felt proud of myself. They asked what street I was looking for and the name of the owner of the house. I confidently told them my friend Terri was at her sister Lisa somebody’s house, admitting I didn’t even know the sister’s last name. Then one gal said, “Oh, there’s a Lisa and Roger next door!”
So I said thank you, returned to my car, backed all the way out of their driveway, moved my car to the next house, and happily hugged my friend Terri. All without one negative, condemning, anxious thought. Now that’s the way I want to live my life every day!
It’s stories like this I love to share with my coaching clients because I can relate to encountering anxiety, fear, discouragement, disappointment, burn-out, etc. But I know what to do when emotions and doubts come my way and most of the time I come out stronger and more confident. Sharing my personal experiences of prevailing even when I fall off the tightrope inspires others to follow my lead.
If you want to learn more about how to become a confident leader yourself, schedule a free consultation phone call with me. I’d love to help you learn how to confidently cross the tightropes in your life!