When I decided to start a coaching practice specializing in work with artists and athletes I was full of doubts. In fact, I can’t say I decided to start it: I thought it would be fun to incorporate my love of the arts and sports with my work (which I also love.) And then I came up with a million reasons for why I couldn’t do it.
When I finally got sick and tired of the excuses and decided to give it a go, I had very little (read: no) confidence. So, I decided to use one of the techniques I would use in my coaching practice (should I ever get out of my own way) on myself. This technique, Resource Installation, involves building up the qualities I’d need to successfully meet the challenge of starting the coaching practice.
I asked myself, in keeping with the protocol for the technique, “When had I been confident?” I hit a wall immediately. I was never the kid who believed I could do anything. On the contrary, I believed there were many things I could not do. “I could never be a lifeguard,” I thought, even though I loved swimming. Another thought, “I‘ll never be Miss America.”
I despaired of coming up with a memory of a time I was really confident. None came to me. But what I did remember was just as useful: that I tried something even though I didn’t think I could do it. It was summer camp and I was 11. Our challenge was to swim ¼ mile in the lake. This sounded like a ridiculously long distance. But, what the heck, I was being told to do it so I tried it.
You guessed it: I swam the ¼ mile. I was SO excited! So, this is the memory I used to begin to build my confidence for this adult endeavor. The realization that, no, I wasn’t convinced I could swim the distance but I was willing to try anyway helped me have the confidence that maybe, just maybe, I could get this business together. And I didn’t have to worry about whether I believed I could or not; all I had to do was try my best and stick with it. Turns out gumption and persistence are a pretty good combination.
I still smile when I think of that 11-year old girl getting out of the water, dumbfounded at having gone the distance. Even though she never did become a lifeguard. Or Miss America.