Which Comes First: The Self-Confidence or the Egg?

April 18, 2011 by Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC

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My career counseling clients often express doubts about achieving a new and exciting goal. “I’m not sure I can do it. And even though I’ve never done anything like this before, shouldn’t I feel more confident?”

There’s a popular belief that one should feel no fear and expect overnight success when confronting a challenge or venturing into uncharted territory. The reality is exactly opposite. We’re often frightened and anything but self-assured. We ask ourselves, “How can I succeed in this desirable but overwhelming venture?”

The answer is simple; progressively bigger steps. Telling yourself you can do it is helpful, but it’s not enough to give you the experience of really knowing what you’re doing. Confidence comes from doing. Start small and learn over time. Envision your end goal, create a series of action steps and follow through. Re-evaluate your plans regularly. Adjust your priorities, as you understand more about what it’s going to take.

If your dream is to become a successful screenwriter, own your own day care center or become a landscape architect, you will be a different person when that day comes. Between now and then, develop confidence by stepping back from your long-term goal and asking yourself, “What small thing can I do today or this week that will move me closer to what I want? Is there a phone call to make to someone in the business? A class to check out that will improve my skills and give me a chance to practice? A professional conference to attend that will allow me to meet people with valuable connections?”

As you plug along, notice the changes taking place inside yourself as you move closer to your goal. How does it feel to be getting better at picking up the phone and calling those who can provide assistance? What is it like when someone refers to you as an intern with promise? Soon, introducing yourself as a professional in your new field comes easy and feels right. People send business and projects your way. You feel confident and know how to handle things, including how to fix a mistake. And you realize that it took every thing you did to get where you are now, and you feel thankful for the chance to learn and succeed in this new career that you have chosen.

 
Originally posted on Career Transition: The Inside Job