When confidence coach and everywoman award winner Danielle Drozd decided she wanted to change how she felt, she looked to practical ways to raise her confidence levels. Embracing her fears, questioning them and then making sustained, mindful changes she learned that confidence is a journey that can be built from small steps. Her new book Confidence Through Courage discusses what it takes to create a confident outlook and how fear can actually be your best friend in personal growth.
“I’d define confidence as a feeling more than anything, and one created from a journey that takes you from being afraid to taking action. Fear doesn’t go away – it’s how we embrace it and transform it that is important; courage is having the ability to do that. Without courage you can’t have confidence because you need that mindset, that ability to say, ‘I believe in myself, I can do this - I just need to try’.
It was my nine-year-old niece that first planted the seed in my head to write this book. Her new teacher had asked the students to introduce themselves and talk about a family member, and she had introduced me as her “Auntie Danielle, who has got confidence”. That was the first time I actually thought of myself as being confident, because until then I hadn’t categorised the things I had worked to achieve to as ‘building confidence’.
I wrote the book at the beginning of 2017 and it took me three months. My first book took me a year to write, but this one just flowed because I was so excited about it. There are two common schools of thought about confidence – people think you are born confident, but that’s not true. And the other is that you can’t learn confidence, but you really can – although you have to have signposts.
When I decided I wanted to change how I felt and my behaviours - early in my career in supply chain and logistics - I started by asking myself how I could push myself out of my comfort zone. I did it by setting myself one thing to do each day that scared me. These were small, simple things - for example, one of the challenges I set myself was that in a lift I would make eye contact and say hello to the other people instead of putting my head down to the floor. Even doing this a few times helped me to feel more confident and energised.
I also set myself different targets to build my confidence - and I was actually able to do a lot of it through my work, whether that was going to external meetings or deciding to be a rep for something internal. I put my energy into a lot of extra-curricular stuff above and beyond my scope of work to push myself, setting up a networking group and running a charity for a women’s refuge in Northampton, for example, which meant I had to go out and talk to people and bring them together.
Confidence is the internal energy that makes the external things happen. In 2013, a friend of mine suggested that I put myself forward for an everywoman award, and listed all the things I had achieved and done on my journey to confidence. Winning the Innovation and Sustainability award that year was pivotal for me - because even though it represented my successes in the workplace, for me it was very much an award for internal growth.”
Life presents us with challenges all the time, but it’s up to you if you accept them. Before acceptance, there is fear. This will always be there. It’s the feeling of the impossible task, that you’re not good enough or that you’ll fail. To know the outcome, you have to take action and try.
Danielle Drozd, Confidence Through Courage
DANIELLE’S THREE KEY CONFIDENCE TAKEAWAYS
Really understand what you want.
Get clarity, because it’s such a motivator. When I decided I wanted to change, I hadn’t really got a clear idea in mind of what this new ‘confident me’ would be, other than I would feel confidence in a room of men, expressing my opinion. That was the only visual I had for this goal and I had to build on it. It’s so important to have that clear want, because its where your drive and motivation come from.
The fear doesn’t go away.
The more we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, the more fear comes in - it’s an ongoing process. You have to embrace it. This is why courage is so important, because you have to keep feeling the fear, talking to it, challenging it and by doing so you can find the courage to move forward. Ask yourself, could I actually do this thing? And what’s the worst that could happen? And then ask, how could I minimise that? – through preparation for example.
Don’t delay, take action.
If you want the fruit on the tree you’ve got to shake it. You have to start – that’s the most important thing. However, you’ve also got to view that goal of confidence as a journey, not a case of a few months of hell and then: “bang! I’ve got it”. The journey is the experience and you have to break the end goal down into smaller steps: ask yourself what can I do immediately, next month, in the next three months to build it up. In the end, it isn’t really about the end goal, because it’s a process that you keep achieving by small measures. Doing that you can even forget about the end goal sometimes, because you’re already living it.
Confidence Through Courage by Danielle Drozd is available from Amazon (£9.99)
For more information on Danielle’s work visit www.danielledrozd.com
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