“Confidence is not, ‘They will like me’. Confidence instead is, ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t’.“
Where are you confident in your life? When have you felt like you could use a little more? How does your confidence relate to your level of consciousness?
Our capacity to be confident is key to how we show up and succeed in life, yet it is one of those ineffable qualities worth cultivating in just the right amount.
It’s also a capacity within us that can be strong in one area of our lives, while being less fully developed in others. It’s definitely not an all-or-nothing proposition, nor is it one-size-fits-all.
It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to use the analogy of building muscles when talking about confidence. If you think about almost anything you have ever learned, chances are your confidence in the matter increased the further you went up the learning curve.
In fact, confidence and competence are intertwined with consciousness as you master any new skill or process. There’s a four-step model that illustrates the stages you go through as you become proficient at something new.
You begin at “unconscious incompetence.” This is the ‘ignorance is bliss’ stage, because you aren’t even aware of how bad you might be at something. You may just be discovering that the task or practice in question even exists, it’s just a glimmer on the horizon. “Gee whiz, I just moved to snow country and never really thought about skiing before, it looks like fun!”
Then comes “conscious incompetence.” This is when your idealized notion runs head on into the nuts and bolts of the practice itself, and you discover just how sadly lacking in expertise you truly are. “Gosh, this is harder than it looks! As soon as I strap these long boards and heavy boots on my feet I fall right over!”
But you persevere! Mustering up your inner store of confidence that you will be able to master this if you keep trying, you arrive at the third stage of “conscious competence.” If you concentrate hard enough and pay close attention to every move, you start to make it happen. “OK! As long as I keep my mind focused on every move my teacher taught me I can carefully pick my way down the hill.”
Finally, with enough practice and spills under your belt, you eventually arrive at the promised land of “unconscious competence.” Your doing it! It’s happening! And you don’t even have to think about it! “Wow! I’m in the flow and this is a blast! It’s like I’m flying down the hill and my mind is quiet, this feels totally natural!”
This is why learning new things that may seem quite daunting at the outset are so great at raising your consciousness. Because if confidence is indeed like a muscle that you can build, then exercising your path to competence is like a metaphysical workout.
The four steps to competence viewed through the lens of confidence look something like this. You start out with no confidence at all, (or perhaps a wildly optimistic sense of over-confidence!) as you become aware of the skill or practice to be learned.
Then your confidence, (or lack thereof) comes face-to-face with the situation for a reality check. This is when you reach for some of the related elements in your resiliency toolkit, namely tenacity, curiosity, and grit.
As you start to get the hang of it by developing a familiarity with the equipment, tools, or procedures with some hands-on practice, your confidence begins to build and a belief starts to form that you may indeed master the task at hand.
Eventually, (and inevitably if you stick to it long enough), you’ll find yourself head and shoulders above everyone else on the sidelines, and feel confident enough tackle higher levels or even teach what you’ve learned to other people.
Confidence is sort of a ‘Goldilocks’ value. For every individual there’s a particular amount that’s “just right.” Too little and a person never gets off the starting line. If simply showing up is one of the main keys to success, then having at least the confidence to do so is a major advantage.
Conversely, too much confidence can backfire in other ways, and not just in the sense of a daredevil teens sense of invincibility. In the wrong hands it can be put to malevolent use to manipulate people. Cult leaders, crafty politicians, and con artists all know the power of over-inflating their confidence to the point that followers get blindly swept up in a web of lies that lead to disaster.
So like so many things in life, balance is the key. And using the litmus test of loving kindness is another way to make sure your level of confidence and consciousness are on track. Another key to a healthy level of confidence is a willingness to not worry to much about what other people think.
Of course opinions have value, but often people sell themselves short when they fail to realize that everyone else is just as absorbed thinking about their own lives and circumstances as they are. At least take the thoughts of others with a grain of salt and keep your eyes on your vision.
Being able to do something well, (or not) is less important than having the willingness to try. Being willing to at least give something a whirl puts you on the field. As long as you’re willing to take action, the game is yours to play!
Much love till next Monday! (This week’s late night message brought to you by the backpedaling planet of Mercury!)
Dance First Member Spotlight – Melissa Michaels and Golden Bridge!
This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Melissa Michaels, the Boulder-based powerhouse behind Golden Bridge, Movement Mass, and Surfing the Creative. If you’ve been running in conscious dance circles for long, chances are good that you’ve crossed paths on a floor or two with this dynamic pioneer.
“Dancing The World Awake!” is their motto and few are doing as much to make it happen as the Golden Bridge community. Following Melissa’s lead with her groundbreaking book “Youth on Fire” by their side is a legion of facilitators, volunteers, and trainees spreading the message and methods of embodiment far and wide.
Golden Bridge is “Dedicated to Birthing a Generation of Globally Conscious ~ Embodied ~ Spiritual Leaders” The mission statement conveys Melissa’s vision. “Through the arts of body, heart, and soul, we support individuals and communities as they repair and move into collaborative service and leadership.”
You really have to visit the Golden Bridge website to fully understand the depth and breadth of their offerings. From Movement Mass to SomaSource, from youth to elders, from healing to civic, the list goes on and on. Weekly events, destination retreats, workshops, summer programs, leadership trainings and more are all yours to explore.
When you visit the Golden Bridge website at www.bdanced.com you’ll be treated to a free download of a 5Rhythms Wave from the double-CD release “Ignite: A Moving Rites of Passage Journey Co-created by Melissa Michaels & the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers” “Grown from the sacred soils of thousands of people dancing around the world through the instruments and love of a band of mighty musicians dedicated to peace and collaborative creativity, this music is funky and alive. Turn it on and let it turn you on!”
Ring in the New Year with Melissa and Golden Bridge with “Dancing with our Intentions” from 1-4 pm on January 1st.
Order your copy of “Youth on Fire” today!
Learn more: Melissa Michaels and Golden Bridge www.bdanced.com