Raising two daughters, I often reflected on how they were so different in approaching challenges. Kelsey, the oldest, was initially fearless and would jump at something new without ever giving it a second thought. One time it cost us a trip to the hospital for stitches. However, many times she’d take the first leap and fail, and it would frighten her so much she wouldn’t attempt it again. It often held her back from pushing through challenges and being successful.
Our youngest daughter, Bailey, was different. She wanted to think about it first. Maybe because she was younger and had a confident older sister, she would watch before acting. Many times, we had to coax her into attempting challenges. However, once she found success, she’d push forward like a bull and become more confident. Bailey grew to love competitive sports. At a karate tournament at six, she overpowered and brought down an eight-year-old boy twice her size to win the match. I remember feeling terrible for the little boy who walked away in tears. His mother came running up to me and asked me how I got her to be bold and confident. I laughingly told her, “She has an older sister!”
Leadership requires that we lead with confidence.
Yet confidence often has to come through experience and repeated failures. It requires us to be vulnerable and face challenges. It was the subject of our Influence Women’s Webinar, Emerge. We explored a few aspects of building personal confidence in careers and relationships. For the Church to find unity today, God requires that we be confident in whom He says we are and what He has called us to become – His willing leaders in scary and uncertain situations. When we can do this, our faith grows, and we can trust God more fully. It is especially powerful for those working in media and entertainment who are influencers with social media megaphones.
Confidence begins with mindset.
Scientists tell us our brains are complex. Because of the neural plasticity of our brains, neurotransmitters guide our actions and reactions through a multitude of experiences. These experiences educate and inform us and unlock or lock up our confidence. Scientists go on to explain that changing the memory of bad experiences requires making new and different mental choices, adopting different postures or changes in our heart, which then allows us to choose actions that activate the reward centers in our brains. When we experience the presence of God in our lives, He emboldens us. Each time we rely on Him, our new confidence feeds our heart’s desire that, in turn, allows us to act and choose to take a risk because we aren’t out there on the ledge alone (Matthew 28:20). Thus, we engage and trust God more.
Knowing your personality and how to react is key to overcoming insecurities.
We become better leaders when we know ourselves and know who we are in Jesus, who emboldens us. We can react under pressure and stress and make the positive changes needed. Our natural tendency, though, is to stay in safe places. But God has called us into the deep – into the world and unsafe places. To be effective in today’s culture, we must escape our “safe bubbles” if we are to grow ourselves and God’s Kingdom. We need diversity and discomfort to stretch our thinking and bolster our confidence to succeed. When we feel unsafe and insecure, we often choose our safe places, each time disallowing our brains to make new positive associations, connections, and choices. As we have learned from science (and what Jesus gently urged us to do long ago), when we purposefully force our brain to think differently (think of His power and strength in us), it changes the actions of our hearts and passions. We can then boldly step into new areas that challenge us with a calm assurance that the challenge isn’t just about us but is about others and achieving lasting Kingdom goals.
At the Influence Lab Women’s Emerge Webinar, Lisa Kai shared how her Asian cultural past had influenced her and kept her withdrawn from people and taking risks. It had affected her friendships and career. Her life changed when she realized that God saw her as intelligent and beautiful and that others withdrew not because of anything she did or what she looked like but because they felt insecure. So, she took on the vision of what God said she was in Him and overcame her negative mindset. It emboldened her to walk up to strangers and introduce herself confidently. Each time she did, it reinforced a positive change vanquishing her insecurity.
As my older daughter grew, she learned to make more mindful decisions and not quick, thoughtless ones before she acted, and my younger daughter learned to step out of her fear and boldly try uncomfortable things. As adults, they both evaluate situations more maturely, learning from their varied experiences. Most importantly, they have learned to trust God’s guidance and rely on Him when challenging decisions must be made. They have learned to breathe in Jesus’ strength and power, “who always causes us to triumph.” (II Corinthians 2:14)
Write this down and tack it somewhere you can see it daily.
We stand confidently with grace, gratitude, and a mindset re-wired to react like Jesus.
Philippians 4:12-13 (TPT)