Recently I traveled from Scottsdale, AZ to Boston, MA. The trip took me approximately 6 days and I covered roughly 2600 miles. As I was driving I realized there were quite a few similarities between various life lessons about confidence and my experience making the trek across the country.
This move meant so much more to me than just changing my geographical location and heading back to my hometown because in so many ways I also felt it was an expression of my own coming home to myself. I decided to make significant changes in my business in addition to the significant change in my latitude and longitude and I honestly couldn’t be happier.
I decided to compile my thoughts in a five part blog series entitled Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost : Life Lessons on Confidence (from a cross-country road trip).
This is Part V:
8. It’s Hard to Take Risks When You Don’t Feel Safe
Day 1 of my journey consisted of Arizona and New Mexico. If you’ve been, you know -- there ain’t a whole lot there. In fact, there is so much nothingness that I lost cell service for more than two consecutive hours. Nothing, nada, not one lone little bar popped up; just a seemingly permanent “No Service” sign on my screen.
To say I was scared would have been an understatement. The first moments were amusing but by the bottom half of two hours, I was genuinely frightened. My thoughts turned from adventure seeking to thinking about sleeping in my car for the night and if desert animals would eat a 33 year old female and her precious pup? I felt like I was using gas faster than normal (I wasn’t really but a frightened mind exaggerates things) and began somewhat frantically searching for a gas station.
Eventually though, I got through the desert, service was returned to my phone, and I found a gas station. Fast forward to Day 2 and realized I was getting low on gas. “I’ll be fine” I thought. “I can fill up once I get to the hotel”. As soon I had that thought I realized something.
It’s hard to take risks when you don’t feel safe and taking risks is a huge part of building confidence because we have to show ourselves that we’re capable of doing the thing(s) we think we cannot do (but really really want to).
Almost 100% of my trek across New Mexico was fear ridden and when we’re frightened, we automatically go on high alert. Our natural instincts kick in to try and protect us and with that we amplify everything so that we’re fully prepared. By the time I got to Oklahoma though and had full cell service, I was back to feeling adventurous and excited.
So my question is, where could you give yourself more support with the intention of creating a safety net of sorts from which to leap? Remember, we can take beneficial healthy risks when we feel safe to do so, so if the net is there you’re more likely to do even just a little bit of the thing you want to do but are just too scared to do (yet).
9. Full Expression of Emotions Means Confidence in Every Situation
There were times during the trip that I was not comfortable, that I got hungry but didn’t have food with me, or had to pee but the next rest stop wasn’t for 109 miles. Those times were not fun. Did I complain? Hell yea! Did I get annoyed at myself that I should’ve just stopped at the last rest stop? 100%!
But did I let myself stay there? Not a chance in hell.
Why? Because if I had then the entire trip would’ve been ruined. I was in a car for (almost) 7 days straight. If I had stayed in that frustrated space (or snowballed into something worse) I never would have made it.
The same is true with confidence. Of course there are moments where you feel more afraid or unsure than you’d like.
Is it ok to go to that space? I believe absolutely. If we don’t express our emotions then we lose confidence in who we are as humans and our ability to communicate emotion in a productive way. We need to be able to express ourselves fully and that means acknowledging the negative, doubtful emotions.
But only enough to express your thoughts and feelings and expel that excess energy. And then you need to move on. I say this coming from the space of someone who used to regularly dwell on negative emotion. I would brew and stew and ruminate until the next negative feeling came along and then I would add it onto the first thing and snowball it into one giant sob fest.
It wasn’t until I realized that staying with the negative, doubtful emotion for too long was the problem. By believing that I either had to be 100% happy (or 100% miserable) I was preventing myself from experiencing a full range of feelings which made me feel like I was about to burst at the seams and in turn made me significantly less confident about my abilities to handle myself in different situations.
Could you use a moment to vent? Me too. Set a timer for three minutes with the intention that you’re going to write or talk your heart out but then move on with your day. When the timer goes off, take a moment to reflect on how you feel then acknowledge that those thoughts and feelings don’t define you and use that awareness to step forward into a space that benefits you instead of drains you.
Are you afraid if you go to that dark space you won't be able to get out? I totally used to feel the same way but there are tricks to use to help pull yourself out and teach yourself that that's not where you want to stay. Book a complimentary call to find out how HERE. Can't wait to chat.