UNBROKEN: Finding Your Inner Strength to Boost Confidence (Part I) – Overcoming Fear

What is YOUR “inner strength”? Do you know? Have you spent much time thinking about it?

Right now are you thinking of your positive qualities: I am kind, giving, a good listener, generous… ? These are all wonderful! However… these are ‘strengths’ that you use to enhance relationships with others, to support others when they are in need. But what strengths do you use to support yourself in times of unpredictability, uncertainty and hardship? What ‘inner strengths’ do you call upon when you feel off balance, insecure, don’t know what to expect or what to do next?

If you knew that your inner strength(s) could increase your confidence if you were more aware of them, would you want to know what they are? I WOULD!

Who couldn’t use a little more confidence in their life? A little more: courage, assurance, tenacity, fearlessness, daring and grit?

Most of us have endured struggles that have left our confidence levels depleted, left us feeling broken. These hardships may have been:

  • health struggles
  • mental health
  • school
  • work
  • relationship issues
  • dealing with grief
  • abuse
  • parenting
  • goals unmet
  • and many more
The pieces of our life

Where do we find the strength to rebuild, and increase our confidence, our self-esteem, once the pieces of our life begin to fit together again?

Our INNER STRENGTH comes from the totality of our experiences – both the positive and the difficult must be embraced. Our struggles develop our inner strengths just as powerfully as our accomplishments, greatest moments, and sometimes even more so. We can find our strength within ourselves if we know it is there, and where to look. You have to let the fire inside you burn brighter than the fire around you and you will find your inner strength.

This calls for vulnerability and none of us seem to like that word! Being vulnerable means we are opening ourselves up to the possibility of being hurt, so to be vulnerable ‘feels’ weak. But this is where we are wrong, ladies!

Vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability requires strength and courage. Vulnerability is where change happens!

You have endured struggles over which you had NO control. Why not ‘choose’ to be vulnerable and show up for yourself, be IN control as you confront your fears and say, “NO MORE!” It doesn’t have to be comfortable in the moment, but with this courage, you will find your “inner strength” and from there, your “confidence” will flourish!

Don’t let your struggles be your side hustles, always fighting with yourself to determine your own self-worth.

  • Be Fearless
  • Be Daring
  • Be Vulnerable
  • Be Courageous

What’s your story? It’s time to get inside it, and own it, girl! Are you ready to be IN control, be courageous and vulnerable, confront your fears and watch your confidence grow? (This is where you yell, “HELL, YA!”) Let’s take the first step toward finding our inner strengths. We are going to kick our fears’ ass together! Let’s do this!

What is FEAR and how can fear diminish our confidence? There are many types of fear that limit us day-to-day, some of them we don’t recognize, or choose not to recognize in ourselves (because why the heck would we want to be vulnerable and do that, am I right?):

  • fear of judgment
  • fear of failure
  • fear of rejection
  • more specifically the fear of public speaking
  • and more

Do any of these fears resonate with you? Do you see any of these in yourself?

Outstanding influencers have voiced their thoughts about what fear is, the limitations fear places on us, and the results of these limitations.

Nelson Mandela declared:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Let’s look at the fear of judgment as an example. Fear of judgment has dramatically increased rates of social anxiety, led to a shocking number of women who avoid the gym or running in public, has had a paralyzing effect on many talented women (and men) who will not action their purpose/business/life goal or embrace their potential for fear of criticism, and has also led to increased debt ratios due to a “keep up with the Jones'” mentality. Perhaps you are affected by the fear of judgment in one of these ways or in another way.

Try these four strategies if you recognize the fear of judgment as limiting you:

  • Do you have the courage to say, “I am enough”? To holler it from the hilltops, “I AMMMM ENOOOUUUGGHH!” To write this affirmation on your mirror, make it your screen saver, place sticky notes around your home that you will see, set pop-up reminders on your phone.
  • Can you let your judgment go? Just catch yourself mid-judgment, and bravely intervene. Recognize your judgmental thought, your judgmental mindset, and choose to let it go. “I would so go to the gym if my ass wasn’t so…” AH! Caught you! Good-bye!
  • You think finding your inner strength might be a challenge, how about owning your inner critic? Bring – it – on! Your inner critic has you doubting yourself, questioning your self-worth, comparing yourself to others.

Guess what? No matter what you do or where you go, people will judge you. FACT! But, guess what else? Those who judge others are too busy judging others and doing nothing themselves out of fear. So why do you care what the critics have to say? Are you going to let them be your reason for not being vulnerable, courageous, daring, fucking awesome and living a life with meaning and purpose? (This is where you yell, “HELL NO!”)

Be like Nelson Mandela! That man was the real deal! He had tenacity and grit! He was fearless! He showed courage and triumphed over fear despite being afraid! You can too!

That is some daring shit! But… keep in mind:

“The fears we don’t face become our limits.” – Robin Sharma

If we allow FEAR to control us, and we do not have the courage to contain our fear – we allow it to limit us, our dreams, and our potential. We do not feel we are good enough. Do you see how fear can paralyze us? How the fears we choose not to face can become our greatest limits and defeat us?

Don’t let fear stand in your way!

Fear of failure is a fear many choose to never face, not only because confronting fears is undesirable but because most of us see failure as a huge negative – it is a big, bad direct reflection of our skills, value, worthiness and potential. Yuck! Unfortunately, by not staring the fear of failure straight in its ugly face, we are allowing it to control us, and keep us from progressing in life and from fulfilling our dreams.

Fear kills hope. It can hold you back from something you know you are capable of doing. Fear will paralyze you! But… what if we can change your perception of failure so that you embrace it, rather than fear it? Whoa… this is some daring shit right here!

  • Fear has us believe we are losers if we fail. Even successful people fail (Einstein, the lightbulb, blah blah blah, you’ve heard it a million times) The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is: successful people overcome fear, take further risks, and learn from their mistakes. They continue to grow, and you can too. You are not alone in your experience of fear of failure or your experience of failure.
  • You cannot predict the future. You cannot control the future. Don’t let the unpredictable stop you from trying. What if I fail? But… What if I succeed?
  • Failure leads to expertise! Have you ever wanted to be an expert at something? The best of the best? Instead of fearing failure, view potential failure as an opportunity to become an expert. Try one way, it doesn’t work? Try another way. It doesn’t work? Try two hundred other ways! Stop fearing it! Get out there and kick some ass!

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

– Les Brown

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Have the courage to be vulnerable and act on fear if you want to begin to find and build your inner strength so that you can increase your confidence!

If it were easy – everyone would do it! You have the courage! Be fearless, be daring, define your own path and choose you, girl!

Check out one of my favorite videos about overcoming fear.

Krista xo

Are you Resilient?

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If you lost everything tomorrow would you be able to bounce back? Do you have the skills or talent, the strength or determination to turn failure into success? In spite of obstacles and setbacks, are you willing to keep going…to keep doing…to not give up? All of this relates to resilience.

Let’s start with this example – why is it that a child who grows up in an extremely adverse circumstance may end up doing well in life, whereas a child who grows up in a well-to-do family may end up doing so poorly in life?

It comes down to the fact that there are two basic elements to resilience – surviving and thriving in life. So what does this mean exactly? Another way to consider resilience is that it’s the ability to survive, or the ability to bounce back in life from tough situations. And then, thriving is about the ability to do what matters most in life, and optimizing well-being.

Fall seven times, stand up eight – Japanese Proverb

So where does resilience come from? Is it genetic? Well, here’s some great news – resilience can be acquired! Anne Masten from the University of Minnesota is one of the foremost experts in resilience and her research has shown that resilience can actually be acquired. Acquiring resilience happens by having a general awareness of resilience, engaging in intentional practices, being open to learning, and applying and integrating good lifestyle habits and routines.

Here are six ways you can practice resilience and in essence get the most out of life…

  1. Practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness includes actions such as meditation, mindful breathing, and bringing your awareness to the present moment. These things can help you achieve mental clarity and lower life stressors. One study on the link between mindfulness and resilience in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences found that “Mindful people … can better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed or shutting down.” Pausing and observing the mind may help us get un-stuck in our story (thoughts) and as a result empower us to move forward.
  2. Ensuring your goals are in line with your overall values (more on this important concept in a future blog…stay tuned!).
  3. Managing negative emotions. Negative emotions narrow attention and behaviour. While emotions are generally a positive thing (some anxiety, anger, happiness is good); emotions can become overly negative when they start to impair – panic, violence, and mania for example. This is where rational and logical thinking get tossed out the window.
  4. imagesHJKZCJWOCultivating positive emotions. This is all about paying attention to positive emotions such as joy, serenity, hope, love, etc. Why is this important? First of all, this is essential to building resilience. Also, cultivating positive emotions can help to undo the after-effects of negative emotions. Positive emotions tend to broaden attention and behaviour. Because paying more attention to positive emotions helps you to bounce back from adversity, helps you cope better with stressful situations, and generally creates a more satisfying life. Choosing to pay attention to the positive relates to searching for the silver lining in things, and choosing to see the positive in others. Practicing gratitude is a part of cultivating positive emotions as well. For more information on gratitude, see one of our several gratitude posts.
  5. Meaningful relationships. This includes social connectedness, social support, mentorship, doing good for others, and including positive role models in your life. Regarding mentorship, the relationship includes the mentor – which is someone who can provide knowledge and wisdom on various things, and the mentee which is someone who is seeking to grow.
  6. Therapeutic lifestyle choices (TLC’s). TLC’s combine to optimize physical and mental well-being. What are the three biggest TLC’s?…exercise, nutrition, and sleep. Yes, that’s it. Getting some adequate exercise, paying attention to what you eat (you are what you eat), and for adults – getting approximately 7-9 hours of sleep every night. When it comes to nutrition, I’m not suggesting that you never eat ice cream or pizza again. Moderation is key. Other TLC’s include getting out in nature (or anything else that calms the mind), and scheduling time for relaxation (e.g. deep breathing, listening to music, gardening, etc).

The more difficulties and obstacles you face and overcome or conquer, the more resiliency you will naturally develop. Generally, resilient people are able to welcome change and difficulty as an opportunity for self-reflection, learning, and growing.

So go ahead and practice the six aspects above. See if you can work your way to bouncing back from life setbacks or adversity to RESILIENCE! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

-Kevin