Lack of confidence can prevent us from stepping forward and achieving. Think of how many times in your life that you have listened to your inner critic or a voice of doubt which tells you you can’t do something. Bad relationships or being bullied at school or similar experiences can knock our sense of perspective on what we think we can achieve. So we settle for much less than we are capable of.
I am writing this blog because I want to inspire you from my own experiences to get out of your comfort zone. Think of this as a push in the right direction from someone who knows all too well some of the challenges you might be facing. You will not become confident overnight, but anyone can make a start!
Recently, deciding to sign up to writing for the Back on Track blog has been a leap of faith. On a bad day, I have tended to question my own ability. Will people be interested in what I write? What if my attempt just isn’t good enough? How will I balance it with everything else that I’m doing and still create something good? This held me back for some days, but I am now glad that I made the phone call and stated I wanted to get involved. Now, I am trying to see it as an opportunity to help others and to write, which are two things I love to do.
So your confidence to step out and do something tends to be higher when you enjoy the task you are going to partake in. Also, we tend to enjoy the things which we are good at. Yet it does not necessarily guarantee that things will be easy at first. I like doing presentations in front of people now, which is a skill I have been developing on my journey to become a primary school teacher. Yet when I first stood up and talked about my own mental health recovery journey to a group of people, I was scared. My hands were shaking and my face was blushing! Despite this, I was commended on my ability to build rapport with an audience. I get a real buzz from motivating others in speeches, but I never would have learnt this if I hadn’t have tried.
You might start your journey to greater confidence at Back on Track. I am having a fantastic time here at the moment because it is such a supportive environment. Also, the informal approach to learning seems to make coming here just that bit easier. When I was living in a mental health rehabilitation centre after spending seven months on a mental health unit due to suffering from schizophrenia, I discovered this place. My confidence in myself had been knocked at that point because, firstly, I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do in life, and, secondly, I had had to give up both my university studies and my part time job because of my illness. Back on Track has helped me to ease back into education, as I will be starting a new degree this September. My confidence has grown because everyone has been so non- judgemental and because I have had several successes along the way. These successes have included socialising with others more and learning a few chords on the guitar.
So, whatever it is that you wish to try today, go ahead and do it! Working through your fears and your setbacks is easier when you feel called to do something and when there are other people along the way to praise you on your journey. From what I have learnt over the past few years, our confidence increases when we learn to step out and take calculated risks.
Maysie Stott Morrison