Have you ever experienced a moment when you were in a meeting and the time came for you to give your input on a specific topic that you, as well as everyone else in the room, knew you were the sole expert on—and you remained silent? Well, a few months ago I was the person that did not speak up and immediately, the way it made me feel initiated a critical shift in my mind and in that single moment I experienced a lifetime of learning when I realized how and why it’s so necessary to cope when your confidence falters.
There are many times when we know that we are the most knowledgeable about a particular subject, but when the opportunity comes to show it, we fall back—almost in a state of blackout—and we watch the moment pass us by. Mel Robbins speaks heavily on why this happens in her book The Five Second Rule.
“You need to recognize that the risk of moving toward your dream is much lower than the slow, everyday punishment you inflict on yourself by suppressing your dream” – Mel Robbin.
Why do our minds stop us from doing something that we want to do, know we should do, but fail to do? How do we manage when you have a self-confidence crisis?
Robbins sums it up in a great way by saying our brains are meant to protect us. When it notices that we are nervous or fearful about an approaching event, it goes into “protect mode.” She goes a little further to point to scientific data revealing that from the moment your brain realizes you are nervous or in a state of fear, there are five seconds of hesitation—just enough time to miss the event that would have brought you nervousness or fear.
What does this all mean to you and I when our confidence falters?
It means that when you experience a moment when your confidence falters, when you are nervous, scared, or timid, you always have five seconds to get yourself out of that mindset and act despite your lack of self-confidence before you miss your opportunity. In my earlier moment, I missed my five seconds and subsequently the opportunity to speak about a topic in which I was very knowledgeable.
I share this story because I know there are many people that have experienced this in many aspects of their lives, whether it’s hitting the snooze button in the morning or not speaking up—as I did. We all have these little insecurities that, if we take conscious action to address immediately, we can control the emotion and get the outcome we would rather expect.
Robbins also says that the way she overcame this is by thinking of a rocket taking off at NASA. When she entered the state to make a choice between being great or fading into the background, she would immediately count down from five and then do whatever it was she was nervous about (hence the book’s title, The Five-Second Rule).
In moments of self-confidences crises, do it scared.
So, the next time you find yourself at that place of fear, experiencing a self-confidence crisis, simply count backward from five and launch yourself head first into that situation. Ultimately, you will feel much worse after knowing you could have contributed but didn’t. (Hence, why I am writing this ☺)
One of my favorite movies is “Any Given Sunday” and in it, Al Pacino gives a powerful speech to the team about the inches we need in life. He states how the margin of error is so small, it only takes one second too slow or too fast to miss an opportunity. Every day, in every moment, we must fight for every inch because that’s the difference between winning and losing. (Here is the video for the entire speech.)
I end by saying in life, we need all the inches we can get to get the outcome we want. Not being present in our opportune moments not only prevent us from getting that inch but also delays our expected outcome. The next time you are nervous about a meeting or sitting in bed about to hit the snooze button, just take a deep breath, count: “5,4,3,2,1,” and be the phenomenal person you were made to be.