4 Ways I'm Building Confidence w/ Coach Austin

I am fearful.

It’s taken me over 2 weeks (3 weeks now) to write this.

Not because I can’t come up with what to say, but because I’m scared it won’t be “good enough”.

“What if this doesn’t make any sense?”
“What if nobody read this, or relates to it whatsoever?”
“Oh no, I hope I didn’t make an obvious spelling/grammatical/punctuation error.”
“Tony could definitely write this better.”
“Well, it’s obviously not going to be very good, so maybe I shouldn’t do it.”

Stop. Breathe. What in the hell is “good enough” anyways?

A few months ago I took an Enneagram Test (a test to categorize you into 9 different “buckets” based off of your personality type). If you have taken the test before, I was a #6, with a CLOSE second as a #3. I don’t think they could have pinpointed my personality type more if they tired - at least from my view of myself.

#6 - The Loyal Skeptic: “Driving your personality is the worldview that the world is unpredictable and unsafe and you need to seek certainty and predictability by anticipating what could go wrong and being prepared. In order to be safe you need to always be on the lookout for potential problems or hidden agendas.”

#3 - The Performer or Achiever: “Driving your personality type is the worldview that to gain approval you need to be successful, work hard to be the best and maintain a positive image. Your sense of value is tied to what you do and to your accomplishments rather than who you are as a human being.”

Based on the test, when I’m at my BEST I can exhibit qualities of being responsible, reliable, trustworthy, hardworking, loyal, and a problem solver. 

When I move towards UNHEALTHY aspects of my personality, I can exhibit these characteristics: skeptical, overly focused on potential problems, indecisive, insecure, and generally untrusting of others when I overanalyze the situation. I often doubt myself, because I tie my self image to my success and how others view my success. At times I come off as negative, but I am just planning for a successful outcome.

My emotional driver is FEAR. The missing piece for a personality type like mine is COURAGE. Courage refers to a sense of CONFIDENCE and trust that you have an innate ability to competently handle whatever occurs without needing to anticipate, plan or prepare for all eventualities.

Okay, that was a lot of information. So where do I go from here (or you if you are like me)? How can someone with THIS personality type ever be a “confident” person?

The truth is, I don’t know.

I’m not sure if I will ever be a “confident” person. However, I do know that I will spend the rest of my life trying to improve my confidence.

I know what it feels like to be CONFIDENT and my goal is to feel that way in as many aspects of life as possible. As you read above, I’m most fearful in situations that I have little control over. Situations that leave me unprepared, relying on others, or overanalyzing can cause me to project my fears.

Since we took the test, I have been actively trying to attack my weaknesses head on. My weakness is my fearfulness and lack of belief in myself. Internally, I am not confident.

I’m not expecting huge returns on investment in the short term, I am in complete understanding that this will take a lot of work on my end. However, as a Father, Husband, Leader, Coworker, and Friend, I know how important working on MYSELF can be. So although I might not have the answers for you, there are a few things I have been focusing on to help.

Below are a 4 examples of how I'm building confidence:

1. BEING AWARE OF MY PERSONALITY. This might sound simple, but for me it’s not. I can easily get pulled in a few directions where I feel myself almost “zoom out”. I know I’m not present, and have to actively bring myself back to Earth. I tend to think of 1 million things at once, at all times, so slowing down becomes a challenge. I can feel anger build as my first reaction in situations, when it shouldn’t be. Something I have been working on is taking longer to respond to questions or situations. The longer pause not only lets me construct a better answer/response, it also allows me the chance to respond thoughtfully instead of instinctively.

2. SURROUNDING MYSELF WITH PEOPLE I ADMIRE. I will admit, from a young age, I have been extremely good at this. I have always wanted to be around people doing things and going places that I also want to go. I take the saying about your closest 5 friends to heart. I am still working on this as well though. My natural instinct is to close off. During our coaches meetings we spent 10 weeks getting to deep dive with each individual coach, asking any questions about their current/past life that we could think of. I loved the chance to practice telling people things I would typically keep to a close few. I’m also lucky enough to be surrounded by a team of people at work that I can trust for any situation, and when I am surround by people I trust to get the job done, it eases my mind tremendously, which in makes it easier to open up around them.

3. USING WEAKNESSES AS AN OPPORTUNITY. Being bad at something (or thinking I will look bad) typically makes me avoid doing it, like writing this blog post. However, I have recently fell in love with the process of learning something new. I used to hate being on podcasts with Andrew. He made it look so effortless, and I couldn’t string a sentence together without saying “like” because in my head I was 3 sentences ahead. And listening to my own voice? Puke. But now I jump on every opportunity that I get. I’m not saying I will ever be good, but I’m excited to see how good I can get. I also picked up Golf. I’ll leave this one for the patience talk… ha…

4. ACCEPTING AND ACKNOWLEDGING WHERE I CAME FROM. We all have stories. Some had harder stories than others, but each story or upbringing has shaped you. A big step for me was acknowledging things in my upbringing, understanding how it could have shifted my mindset, or reaction. However, I will never use it as an excuse for acting a certain way. I know my initial reaction may have been caused by it, but I am in control of me in the moment, and I have the ability to make a different/better decision in any situation. An easy example for me is alcohol. I’ve probably taken fewer than 10 drinks of alcohol in my life. It was easy to say that it’s because I don’t like the taste. Although that is true, it’s much deeper than that for me, and to this day I have no desire to be around it. Being able to have someone to talk to about your past if there is anything can help free your mind of it as well.

Those are all big ticket items, but I am just as busy doing smaller things to help build my confidence as well. I feel confident when I feel prepared, so I spend a lot of time ingesting new information. This doesn’t always have to be something “new” like I mentioned above, it could be something I already know that I want to be more proficient with, or something I am personally interested in (in or outside of my career).

I feel confident when I make small improvements in an area of the gym that I previously would consider myself “weak” at. The ongoing joke is that I am a “runner” now. It’s funny that when I apply myself to becoming a little better at running, I actually get better. I love seeing if I can improve my technique or efficiency in movements that I have been doing for almost 10 years at this point.

I love creating little goals for myself, creating a road map for the goals, sticking to the script, and putting all of my effort into reaching them. These could be financial goals, fitness goals, life goals, etc. I mean my 5 year plan from when we first arrived in Jupiter was to have a baby, and we had Nolyn 2 years after, so I’m pretty efficient.

The main reason for sharing this is just to put it out there. It makes me extremely uncomfortable to do so, but I am sure there are some of you who struggle with some of the same things in your own life.

Being confident in something doesn’t make you a confident person, and being a confident person doesn’t make you confident in everything you do. It’s a never ending pursuit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go into any given situation with confidence. You will rarely know the outcome of any situation, and most of the time it’s different than what you had planned for. If you bundle all of that energy and plug it into the effort you are putting into every situation, overtime, the outcomes start to look a little different.

I want to wrap up my Ted Talk by sharing one book that has helped me. “How Champions Think” by Dr. Bob Rotella. I had read the book previously but with Confidence as our first word, and taking up Golf, I listened again. Bob is a Sports Psychologist who works with a number of top athletes and teams around the world, including LeBron James and Rory McIlroy to name a few.

If you are still here, you deserve a prize. Thanks for reading. 

-Coach Austin