My favorite story
I have read numerous times the story of Santiago, a young shepherd boy in Paulo Coelho’s must-read book, The Alchemist. Santiago had chosen his job as a shepherd because he loved to travel and see the world. As he took care of his sheep in the fields, he had a recurring dream in which a young girl showed him that there were great treasures hidden at the foot of a pyramid in Egypt. Soon Santiago met Melchizedek. A strange wise old man who claimed to be a King from a distant land he normally appeared to people seeking to pursue their personal legend or purpose. King Melchizedek urges Santiago to go in search of the treasure since it was his personal legend.
Did Santiago get the treasures he had dreamed about? Before I tell you if he did (if you haven’t read the book), I want to introduce to you what I refer to as the confidence gap. When you keenly observe people, who have dreams but fail to achieve them, you will realize that a gap exists between their heart’s purest desires and their actions towards achieving those dreams. Often people lack the confidence to act on what they know they were created to accomplish. The lesser confidence you have the wider the gap between where you are and where you could have been. In Santiago’s journey towards his personal legend, on every step, he was faced with the challenge of closing the confidence gap.
Every time Santiago overcame the temptation to give up on his very difficult journey, by being confident to keep moving forward, he experienced life at a deeper level. And this is exactly what will happen when we close the confidence gap. When you increase your confidence, the more you get to experience life since confidence is key to being fully alive. In the next month, I will share with your ways to increase your confidence in the following four areas.
- Personal confidence – today’s post
- Interpersonal (relationships) confidence – April16th
- Career confidence – April 23rd
- Leadership confidence – April 30th
Danger of personal low confidence and how to increase it
Considering whether you’re a person full of confidence or not isn’t something you are always conscious about. Unless you are faced with situations that force you to express confidence, the negative effects of lack of or low confidence are severe and often subtle.
Consciously or unconsciously lack of or low confidence will result in you failing to bring your best self into life experiences. Your level of confidence will determine how best you apply your intelligence, pursue opportunities, and utilize the resources around you. People with a low confidence level fail to utilize their most precious resource, their mind, thereby you end up living beneath your potential. So, at a personal level, you will increase your confidence doing the following three things.
1. Be sensitive to your purpose daily
There is something magical that happens when someone realizes their life’s purpose. I remember when it became clear to me what God had created me to do with my life. I felt a second wind to living; my passion for living a purpose driven life was evident. I believe the first step to increase your personal confidence level is being aware or sensitive to your purpose.
The simple step of being aware that you have a purpose will increase your confidence level in the following ways. First, you will realize that your life has a deeper meaning than just exciting. You will begin to notice that every experience you went through or still going through wasn’t an accident; your life is in much order in spite of all the disturbances happening. Second, being aware of your purpose will elevate your self-esteem. The main reason people have a low self-esteem is because they fail to see their purpose. Third, knowing you have a purpose will ignite passion in you. As a person of faith, when I realized God had created me with a specific assignment in this life, I stopped becoming what Zig Ziglar referred to as a wandering generality; and began to live with intention. Knowing your purpose is the beginning of living a life of confidence. If you want to continue being confident daily, you have to take the second step, find ways to act on fulfilling your purpose every day.
2. Find ways to act on fulfilling your purpose daily
While being aware you were created with purpose is the starting point of self confidence, not doing anything about fulfilling your purpose will make you a less confident person. The way to gain momentum in building your confidence is by doing something. When I discovered part of my purpose was to add value to people through words, I began to find ways to act. I looked back into my life to see what I had enjoyed doing that involved words and found that I delighted in teaching, encouraging, and inspiring others. For example, from a very young age in middle school, I found joy in helping peers understand concepts. After this discovery, I started becoming more intentional about teaching, encouraging, and inspiring others.
My personal observation is that when I began taking actions that would fulfill my purpose, my confidence increased due to three major things. First, I began to experience personal success in areas that really mattered to me. When I delivered teaching that was well received or encouraged someone who experienced victory due to my words, I was filled with satisfaction. Second, I became comfortable with failing. Fear of failure is a major blocker of self-confidence. I learned that failure is inevitable but learning from it is a choice. Thirds, by acting on my purpose, I attracted people who were on the same quest of fulfilling their purpose and calling. I have learned it’s taking simple actions to live out our purpose that builds momentum in acquiring confidence. Additionally, helping others live their purpose multiplies and expands our confidence.
3. Help someone find or live out their purpose
Zig Ziglar’s quote, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want,” transformed how I went about pursuing my goals in life. For several years now, I have applied what I refer to as the Zig approach. Whenever I identify something I need, I immediately look for someone who needs something similar, and help them get it. Over the years I have discovered that Zig’s approach also applies to fulfilling my purpose. The more people I help to find or fulfill their purpose, the more I get to fulfill mine. However, what has been more rewarding is the compounding effect it has in building my confidence.
Whenever you sit at the front seat of witnessing people fulfilling their purpose, that is, believing in themselves to pursue what they believe is God’s assignment for them, you will discover you too will gain confidence in your own purpose. Helping others fulfill their purpose will have a multiplayer effect on your confidence since it enables you to live beyond yourself. You become a man or woman of abundance. I have observed that selfishness is a great quencher of self-confidence. You can never be selfish and confident at the same time. Your confidence expands by giving your time to help others.
Confidence is gained while journeying towards our personal legends. In the end Santiago found his treasure. But I believe of greater value was the personal confidence he gained on his journey to the pyramids. So, be fully alive and build your confidence by taking the journey of living your purpose.
What’s next: Interpersonal (relationships) confidence – April16th