Would You Choose Confidence or Courage?

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Guest post by Morgan Kneider:

The characteristics of confidence and courage are often perceived to go hand-in-hand.  In fact, the two are not interchangeable.  To be confident is to feel certain of one’s own abilities and appearance; to be courageous is to forge ahead despite fear.  It would be wonderful to possess both of these qualities, but most of us do not.   

If you could choose to foster either courage or confidence, which of these traits would you prefer?   

While I strive to grow in confidence throughout my daily life, it is courage that I embrace in moments big and small.  It is courage that sees me through the challenges along my path, in the adventures that I have sought out and the obstacles that have arrived unannounced and uninvited.   

As busy mothers, driven career girls, and active individuals, we sometimes find ourselves gazing at other women with envy.  Outwardly, some ladies just seem to have it all together. It’s important to remember that all sorts of things might be going on behind the scenes.   

Throughout my experiences as an entrepreneur, many women have approached me to express their admiration for my confident demeanour.  I have often heard the phrase:  “I could never do what you do, I just don’t have enough confidence in myself.”  Well, guess what?! I don’t either!  I’m flattered that I am able to come across as strong and capable while my knees are knocking together under the table!  The truth is I harbour plenty of self-doubt.  But I don’t allow my fears to triumph; rather, I disguise them with a courageous front.  It is often the case that brave people are mistaken as confident.  In her book, Me Worry?, British-American author Jill Briscoe writes:  “Courage is doing it scared.”

I would have missed out on so many opportunities if I had allowed myself to succumb to feeling scared.  Instead, I follow the advice of the famous philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who encouraged his audiences to achieve their goals by focusing on the benefit of the outcome and not the deterrent of the hurdles along the way.  Emerson taught that real strength comes from pursuing success regardless of inhibitions:  “Do the thing and you will have the power.”  If I were to wait for my confidence to unfurl, I may never get to where I want and need to be.  But if I choose to be courageous and to proceed in the face of fear, I just might reach my aspirations while building confidence along the way.  As comfort with and belief in myself grows, so too does my ambition.    

So go ahead and chase your dreams!  Be afraid!  Don’t wait for confidence, the absence of nerves, or for your anxieties to disappear.  DO IT SCARED!  Upon completion of your mission, you may find confidence and you may feel peaceful...or not!  But you did it, and you lived to tell the story.  If you repeat this process over and over, it’s possible your courage will lead you to the elusive peak of self-confidence, or you may continue to simply proceed with courage, like me.  Either way, you are striving and thriving while conquering fear.   

It is through open and honest communication that women can learn from one another.  As we share our stories, we encourage and support one another.  I firmly believe in authentic conversation, where successes and failures are explored equally, with lessons drawn from the good, the bad, and the scary.  Many of the accomplishments I have celebrated began from a place of stress and trepidation.  Though I was nervous and unsure, I persevered, starting with a deep breath and moving steadily, if sometimes slowly, ahead.  The defining moments on my timeline look something like this...

I overcame a dread of public speaking when a student asked me to introduce him at his commencement on the Avon Theatre Stage.  I was terrified to get up on stage, but I knew it was important to my student...and to me.   

Although filled with apprehension, I started a discussion with a friend about our fractured relationship.  I was nervous to address sensitive issues head-on and feared confrontation, yet I was even more upset at the thought of losing a friend because I couldn’t bring myself to be straightforward.   

I did not allow deep-rooted insecurities to prevent me from embracing the opportunity to represent a company and a product that I am proud of.  I let go of worrying what others would think and whole-heartedly pursued my career with Nerium International.   

In a moment of desperation, I asked for help when suffering from Postpartum Anxiety, leading to a fresh foundation on which I am able to flourish as a mother, wife, relative and friend. 

I chose to ignore my sweaty palms and blotchy face in order to speak on Facebook Live, trading uncertainty for the victory of reaching an international audience by posting live content on the Internet.

While I knew I could not control the outcome, I swallowed the lump in my throat and held the hand of someone in need, offering prayer and reassurance without knowing how God would answer.   

What does your timeline look like?  Maybe it’s time to start one!

There are women all over the world, and right here in our community, that are grabbing hold of fear and jumping in scared.  Each of us has so much to offer, to ourselves and to one another.   Let’s come together in an authentic conversation, celebrating our triumphs and the bumpy roads that led us to them.  Are we confident or are we courageous?  What can we learn from our shared experiences?  How far can we go if we don’t allow fear to stop us?   

I’ll be cheering you on!   

***


Morgan Kneider-Patterson is a mother of three, secondary school teacher, and entrepreneur.  She is passionate, adventurous, and deeply caring in all that she does.  Morgan’s life is centered on fostering the things she values most:  transparency, kindness, and relationships.  Her friends, family, students, and associates are deeply grateful for the joy, humour, and love with which she lights up the world around her.  Morgan’s most recent project is the Get It Done Social Club.  Morgan would love to hear from you; click here to say hello.

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