In Article 3: Build Self Confidence of the Developing Assertiveness Series, I explored the importance of being alone and to build self-esteem. As self-esteem is an essential component of assertiveness, I decided to share my journey of how I found my counter-intuitive path to my self-esteem.
Step 1: Do What You Fear
When I was 18, Fr Louis needed actors for a minor part in a play he was organising. As he decided that I would do and as I was too scared to say no, I ended up saying yes. With a social anxiety disorder, facing an audience of 200 people was one of the scariest things I’ve done. It was also one of the best things that happened to me.
Fr Louis kept giving me ever bigger parts. I even played a lead role in one play. Acting taught me emotional intelligence by playing out the emotions of the characters I had. It taught me relationships skills when dealing with other actors. And most of all, acting taught me that when I face my fears, my self-esteem and my confidence grow. Confidence is like a muscle and I need to train it.
Step 2: Expand Your Comfort Zone
When I was still working with my father, we joined BNI. BNI is a networking organisation where business people network to attracting customers. Members performed a 60 seconds pitch to persuade people to refer them, clients. The first time I did the 60 seconds I was scared to death yet this process helped me to refine my communications.
Slowly I started to get good at it and even being recognised for it. I kept expanding my comfort zone, and with time, I started feeling a sense of respect and satisfaction for myself. During this time I realised that my confidence and self-esteem shrink or expand depending on much I face my fear and grow.
Step 3: Learn How To Be Vulnerable
When I left my father’s job, I used my BNI those 60 seconds to ask for a job. Telling 30 people that I left my father’s job was scary as I became vulnerable to judgement and shame. After the meeting, one of the members came up to me that day and shared his ideas for a project they had in mind. A month after that 60 seconds he became my boss.
Reflecting on this journey, I am amazed to see how acting led me to BNI, which then led me to a new work opportunity. Here is where I see the hand of God, helping me navigate life. The last episode also showed me that the ultimate confidence and self-esteem is not macho strength but the ability to be vulnerable with others and with life.