Ep. 10 How to gain confidence in something you’re not ‘good’ at yet.

Ep. 10 How to gain confidence in something you’re not ‘good’ at yet.

Hello and welcome to today’s episode! This one is a little bit more broad than my normal eps, but the concepts behind today’s ep can really be applied to any aspect of life or business.

So for anyone that follows along, I have just wrapped up the launch of my Shopify Course, Elevate with Ecommerce & one common question I was asked along the way from prospective students was, how do I gain clients when I haven’t actually started building Shopify Stores yet?

And to give you a quick summary of the advice I like to give is; you showcase your expertise in both educational content & your design skills even if these are just mock ups at this point…

I am going to go into a whole lot more detail around this in a future episode because it really is its own topic, buttttt it really got me thinking about how as Designers or Business Owners or even just humans going about our lives, how we might face the challenge of being new at something, starting a new job we haven’t really done before, taking on a new skill and feeling that overwhelming sense of ‘floundering’ or not really knowing what we are doing, we feel like a baby must do when its learning to walk, with many bum on the floor moments before finally achieving what we wanted, and as Designers or business owners who can sometimes have eyes on us – across socials, or even our own clients, or friends and family, this can feel incredibly daunting and overwhelming.. 

So I wanted to give you some insights into my own life and how I approach learning something new, sucking at it and finding ways to gain confidence when you aren’t good at it, yet.

I’m going to start by giving you a story, so in July 2020 my girlfriend and I decided to go skydiving as in tandem skydiving where you’re strapped to someone and theory basically throw you out of the plane, and at the same time I had started dating a guy who was also a skydiver but he fun jumped which means he didn’t have anyone strapped to him, and would solo jump. 

Now given my personality, and after a successful and exhilarating tandem skydive with friend, I decided I wanted to learn to skydive so I could fun jump, or jump on my own without being strapped to someone and if you didn’t know, the world of skydiving is like nothing else… I was lucky to have been introduced to a dropzone just west of Brisbane and this is where I was going to take my Aff course which is the first step in learning to skydive…

So for me, it was a pretty big investment, I think $2k was the going rate for an AFF course, which takes you through 9 stages of learning to skydive which includes a full day of theory, and then 9 jumps with instructors, both holding onto you, and then as you progress through your AFF Stages, they let go of you and you deploy your own parachute and pilot your canopy to the ground safely.

Now I want to give you some insights into what was going on in my brain at the time of going through my theory and subsequently preparing for my very first ‘solo’ jump (as in no one is strapped to me) and I am jumping out with instructors.

I was petrified. Even though I tried to be the cool girl and not give any indication of how scared I was, It took all my might not to show how scared I really was… and here is the thing…

I wasn’t so-much afraid of the plane ride, or the canopy stuff, or the fact I was hurling through the air, not knowing if my parachute would open…

My ultimate fear was – that I couldnt rely on myself to learn and do all the things necessary to successfully skydive and not kill myself or someone in the process. I doubted myself and my abilities to learn; so much so, that my doubt superseded any other fear I might have of skydiving… Isn’t that insane! To think my self doubt could have that kind of power over me, above and beyond anything else I could be afraid of, from one of the scariest types of activities you could do?!

Now I’ll be honest, I do not remember my first stage one skydive. Apparently it was a success and I have a video of it somewhere, but thinking back I’m pretty sure I was so terrified my brain has erased the memory so far, but nevertheless it was successful and I went on to do my second jump… Before this though, I remember really getting in my head about it, alot. I had to sit down and my anxiety was overwhelming, but for anyone who doesn’t know me, my resilience is pretty high and resilience is something I really pride myself on, to the point I have the word tattooed on my wrist, and so I pushed past my fear and I also asked myself, what am I actually afraid of right now… Was it the skydive, well no because my first was successful and I did all the right things… was i perfect, no but I did apply all the basic knowledge that I must’ve retained from my training… I found myself reassuring myself (inadvertently) through asking myself some questions about the experience…

The other thing I can recognise about this experience, is I began finding myself asking questions throughout all my subsequent jumps.. My instructors must’ve found me so annoying because after each jump we would sit down and go over the gopro footage from the jump and my instructors would provide feedback.. Inside these briefings, ANY time instructors would give feedback I would tentatively listen and if I wasn’t sure on anything I would ask ‘why’ or ‘how’. How do I get better, why is that type of flying more effective, what happens if I don’t do this or that.. 

I was like a sponge, and instead of shying away from feedback and knowledge from these very experienced instructors, I began to learn what it took to be confident. 

I also began to see I could rely on myself! This was the most powerful thing! Anytime I felt fear from doubt, I reassured myself with the proof of my last successful skydive, and I new that I had so much more to learn, but the learning was in the doing and this is another really imperative part of starting, doing or learning something new…

You can learn all the theory you want, you can listen to a million podcasts, or take a zillion courses – but the beauty is in the doing. The beauty is in doing a bit shitty in the beginning, you’ll make mistakes, you might “fail” which in itself is another podcast, because to me failure just isnt a thing… and you won’t be perfect!! But I guarantee you one thing… If you can find the courage to:

  • Have the courage to suck at something new
  • Have the humility to receive feedback and take advice (without your ego telling you their wrong)
  • Have the drive to learn everything there is to know about how to get better
  • AND understand that it is in the doing (and doing it shit at the start) that will make you better 

Then I promise you this..  You will be rewarded! You will get better, and you will learn something extremely valuable not only from the thing you are learning to do, BUT you’ll also know what it’s like to be courageous… to be humble.. You’ll find ways in which you learn things, you’ll find yourself relying on yourself and trusting yourself – in your decision making, your judgment, your intuition… and honestly! This is the most valuable thing of all… You will solidify the relationship you have with yourself…

Another example I want to give before I wrap up this lesson and its a less extreme example compared to skydiving… But I’m currently doing a complete overhaul of my ecomm Brand, Scorpioxsun.. And in this process, I am introducing an entire range of skincare and body products which is super exciting, and the range will have active ingredients, and beautiful packaging with the aim to keep skincare super-simple with a huge education component, because there’s so much noise in the marketplace, and I really want to make routines & ingredients simple… So I am not a dermatologist and I won’t pretend to be, but throughout this process, I have learnt that in order to make aligned business decisions around ingredients, sustainability, packaging and the like, I have had to learn and soak up so much knowledge! I want to be confident in my products and I want to ensure they are going to give results to my customers, so I am like a skincare apprentice right now and never before have I learnt so much about skin, skincare and ingredients! So although I am not completely confident in my knowledge and abilities,but I am applying myself, I am soaking up knowledge and I am doing the doing, to gain the experience I need to become confident in my knowledge, and myself.

So if I can circle back to my points earlier… If you are afraid of starting or learning something new, and you want to gain confidence and get better… Here is my advice…

First, have the courage to just start.

Be humble enough to get feedback because sometimes this is so incredibly invaluable to your growth

Learn as much as you possibly can about what it is you’re starting

Find ways to reassure and trust yourself and the knowledge and results you already begin to see

Messing up/Failing /Being Wrong doesn’t mean you pack it up, right yourself off as a failure and never trying anything new again… Messing up/failing is a sure sign that you are fast tracking your learning, and as long as you learn a lesson or two, you haven’t failed…

So that’s it from me, for now, I hope you have enjoyed this episode, send me a DM or tag me on Instagram. I would love to know what you got out of today’s episode, and till next time happy designing!