I wish I could lose my fears and be more confident and energetic. That’s what a new subscriber to the Wise Introvert newsletter recently told me. Her words spoke to me. Because that’s what Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True can truly mean in practical terms.
And isn’t that the foundation of what most of us introverts want? To be free to be ourselves, to feel a sense of control and confidence in our life and work, and to have enough energy so that we can get on with creating the impact we want to create in the world – our way.
I know I do.
Here are some of my thoughts on our fellow Wise Introvert’s comment.
First, I am not so certain that we ever really “get there” – to that place where we can finally declare that we’re done expanding – that time when we no longer have fears, we’re always confident, and always have plenty of energy to spare.
What I do believe is that these factors exist on a continuum, where at each end there is an absolute: it exists fully or not at all. For most of us, life, including our interaction with fear, confidence and energy, takes place mostly in the middle. The gray zone. That fluid place that is always changing from situation to situation.
And so it’s possible to move along the continuum in order to experience these things closer to the absolute yes side. Change the ratio. Tip the scales. With awareness, commitment, and practice, you can feel more confident, energetic and willing to take bold steps while still feeling fear.
Lose my fears: Be Brave
Every single one of us experiences fear. In my experience, it’s not so much about losing or overcoming fears, it’s about what we are prepared to do while we stand next to them.
That said, you don’t have to let fear stop you in your tracks. Finding a strategy that works for you can make a significant difference.
Here’s an example. When I travelled solo in Mexico recently, it’s not that I was fearless. Not at all. In fact, multiple fears surfaced both before and during my trip. So it was a matter of tipping the scales so that I could create a situation where I wasn’t paralyzed by the fear.
A technique that works for me is to imagine an old scale, like a scale of justice, where two trays individually connected to a bar above move up and down according to the weight that is placed in each.
Imagine one tray filled with fears. And the other empty. That would create quite a large gap between trays, making it extremely difficult to imagine how you could step from one to the other. That’s what I envision when people refer to “taking the leap”.
I PREFER NOT TO LEAP. When possible, I prefer steps just beyond the comfort zone, which means that my ability to move through the gray zone and shift the balance requires that I ADD SOME WEIGHT to the other tray on the scale in order to create a SMALLER GAP.
What kinds of things can you add to your tray?
In Mexico, instead of the possible scenarios of what could go wrong in a particular situation, I chose to search for facts (what I knew for sure – about the situation, what I had seen others doing in the context of the situation, research statistics, and my own skills & abilities). When I looked at those facts, I realized that my fears were not worthy of determining my action (sometimes, especially when safety is at issue, those fears will be worth heeding). Sure, anything can happen. But is it likely?
Other ideas for what you can add to the tray to narrow the gap: Your vision/desire/passion/Why for doing what you want to do, backup plan, savings/investments/financial plan, timeline, supporters, and whatever else you would need to have in place to add motivation or increase your feelings of safety.
It’s important to start where you are – but the key is to START.
Be more confident: Be Seen
There’s a fear-confidence connection that I have experienced in my own life (and seen in my clients). The more action I take, the more confident I become. That’s because I prove to myself that I am capable.
Sometimes I’m capable of accomplishing what I wanted. Sometimes I’m capable of handling the situation (or at least acknowledging what I’ve learned from it) when it doesn’t go quite the way I had hoped or planned. Either way, confidence is also about trusting yourself.
Going back to my Mexico travel fears, I was able to talk myself through all the reasons (based on examples) of how I have proven that I can trust myself, no matter what happens. I know how to troubleshoot. I know how to seek help. I anticipate problems in advance, do my research, make notes and prepare in advance as much as possible “just in case”. That helps to ease some fears.
To trust yourself and to practice confidence building is how you will have more courage to allow your true self to be seen.
Be more energetic: Be True
No matter what we do, we need to have the energy to do it. Otherwise, like I have done, you’ll burn out. So to be more energetic, you must also be true to yourself.
Personal energy management (building and maintaining our energy stores) is such a critical issue for introverts. And because none of us are the same, understanding what drains and restores your energy is a very personal matter.
You will be rewarded as you become more aware of – and willing to trust and honour – the truth about what energizes and drains you. Because when you know what works and doesn’t work for YOU, you have the power to make changes that will positively impact your energy.
To do this, you will likely need to tap into the Be Brave and Be Seen skills that you’ve been strengthening through practice. Let’s face it, change is not always easy, and in making choices that impact our energy, other people may also be impacted.
Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True.
None of us are born on one end of the all or nothing spectrum. Life is lived finding our way through the gray zones in between. And when it comes to taking action in the face of fear, becoming more confident, and increasing our energy, it’s no different.
Know that with awareness, commitment, and practice, you have what it takes to shift the scales to create a life that feels more true to you.
Don’t let these frustrations get in your way of living the life you desire. Reach out for support if you need it.