When you feel you don't have the confidence to follow your dreams

You don't need to rally self-confidence before embarking on your dreams. You just have to make the right choices.

You want to do something big and beautiful. Or maybe not beautiful, but important. Serious. Maybe you want to start a business, go back to school after a long hiatus, or run a marathon. Or perhaps you want to do something that seems less epic on the surface but is no less meaningful, like look for love after having your heart broken.

It’s not unusual or unnatural to try to get emotionally pumped up for things like this. Positive self-talk is one thing we try. If we have friends that are good at telling us that we can do anything we set our minds to, we’ll probably talk to them. Some of us create dream boards, with pictures representing our goals, so we can visualize where we’re headed and manifest the destiny we want.

In other words, we rally. We talk ourselves up. We get in the right headspace. We try to build our confidence and self-esteem - and we do this before we get started. The idea is that if we feel like we can accomplish that big and beautiful thing ahead of us, then we’ll get it done, and if we don’t feel like we have it in us, then we’ll fail.

But is feeling like a badass truly a prerequisite to success?

We lead with our feelings all the time, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But we should do this only when it serves us. If striving to feel a certain way isn’t necessary, then why do it? Why not direct that same time and energy toward actually doing the things you need to do?

Whatever your objective, there are decisions you need to make to get there. Steps. If you want to start and run a successful business, you need to choose a business that meets a substantial unmet consumer need, then build a product or service that fits that need. If you want to succeed at school, you should choose to study, and then meet with your professor or do extra work if you don’t understand course material. If you want to find love again after getting your heart broken, you need to clarify for yourself what you want from a partner, then, gather enough of the right information about the various people you date until you select the right “option.”

Choices, not emotions, get us to our goals. Good decisions make self-confidence a less necessary prerequisite.

Go ahead and rally if you’re about to bungee jump or skydive. But when it comes to accomplishing goals that simply require decision-making, then start making those decisions. As you do, the confidence will come. The self-esteem will develop – and it will be genuine because you’ll have the accomplishments to back it up. Once you see yourself getting to where you want to go, it will be hard to not feel like a bad ass. And, and as you learn from your choices, it will be harder to fail.