Experiential Confidence

You know how some kids need to have their tongue freeze on a lamp post to learn the lesson? And some people need to touch the stove to believe it’s hot? That’s experiential learning. Many of us are gaining our confidence through experience and no matter how much others may say we rock, we need to experience it for ourselves.

I have been coaching a particularly brilliant woman for the past eight months as she writes her book. What she had consistently needed the most help with, on almost every call, was the reassurance that she is “good enough” to write this book. She has had to overcome the huge fear of coming across as a “know-it-all expert”. She did not feel that she measured up to the Dr. Wayne Dyers of the world. Who was she to imply that she had something important to share? Her other big fear was that sharing her own journey would seem self-serving and egotistical. She even at one point considered taking a second master’s degree to obtain a certification to prove that she could legitimately write this book. Alas, the only one looking for that proof was her own inner critic.

The Gift of Experience

And then something happened after six months of writing her first draft. She took her own advice that she was imparting in the book she was writing and went within. She reconnected to WHY she was writing this book. And her writing changed.

The last four chapters flowed out of her with ease and were far richer and deeper, laced with her expertise and authority. Most importantly, they were her own story not interviews of former clients. She used her story as a guide in service of the reader’s transformation.

The comical part of all of this is that we had created a WHY for her book during our first call eight months ago. The lesson here is that it took the experience of writing her shitty first draft, the experience of struggling to write well when she believed she didn’t measure up, and the experience of trusting her wisdom to find the confidence she needed to move forward with complete alignment.

Confidence Comes From Doing the Work

I know there are a lot of writing gurus offering the promise of helping you write a book in a weekend, or in 30 days. I am hosting a writing retreat in May and the participants know they will be leaving with a good head start but definitely not a completed manuscript. I can’t imagine the quality or depth anyone can achieve in such a short amount of time. The first chapter, and very often the first draft, are the practice runs we take to find our own voice, the work we must slog through to find our confidence.

Finding My Own Confidence

I am confident in my writing skills and even more so in my coaching abilities. Why do I need to find more confidence? As Big Sky has been growing over the last few months I find myself working with more established clients. I am coaching and advising people who have worked with the likes of Deepak Chopra, Seth Godin, and Tony Robbins. It has been a struggle for me to sit through meetings and not have the “Who am I to advise them?” gremlins in my mind.

But if I return to my WHY, giving women and the disenfranchised a voice, it says nothing about turning away successful women. Every time I work with someone whom I admire, I am growing my confidence muscle, just like every time a writer pushes through self-doubt they find their genius work.

I ask you, what is your WHY for writing the book you are working on, and can you continue to develop the experiential confidence through writing your shitty first draft?