Written By: Dana Skelton
Confidence- Feeling sure of yourself and your abilities- not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic secure way.
Confidence- Having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.
Confidence- Confidence is what turns thoughts into action. Without it we hold ourselves back. We need it to get into action. Confidence can be described in two ways: a belief and a feeling.
Confidence is a belief we can create a successful outcome through our actions. In other words, when we are confident, we believe we are good enough, we believe we have value to offer and those beliefs are what leads us to take action.
Confidence is also something we feel in our body – it can be hard to pinpoint, but it’s a feeling we have inside. For some, it could be a feeling of excitement or passion or a feeling of being calm or collected.
One thing I love about the word CONFIDENCE is the variety of ways that it can be defined (I listed a few of my favorites above). When researching confidence, I have found countless women share their journey to finding confidence and every story is so beautiful. It always starts with a woman doubting, second guessing, feeling unsure, feeling vulnerable and ends with a woman learning regardless of what happens, she is worthy. Regardless of the results, regardless of the ending she has value to add to the people and the world around her. She learns she has value within herself, without worrying what others think or having to prove that value.
I often think of a situation in my own life that led to a tremendous shift in how I thought of myself. I was attending a convention for work and happy to be there and learn. I ran into a friend and after a quick hug she said, “I need you to do something”.
“I will be doing a talk in two days and the person I was speaking with cannot come. Will you do the talk with me?”
Please keep in mind, I had never done a talk in front of others before, besides the staff on my own team.
Somewhere in the moment of me being stunned and starting to tell myself “I can’t do that”, I agreed to do the talk (it is still a blur and I really don’t remember how it all went down).
I now had less than 48 hours to write up what I was going to say. What I found was when I just sat and let the information I wanted to present flow, it was so easy to just be myself and share what I know. I had doubts- what if someone questioned me on it, what if I froze in front of everyone, what if I sounded nervous speaking?
I still don’t remember how I got through the next few days, but what I do know is that I took action, I gave the talk. It was not perfect, but I was so proud of myself for what I had accomplished. What I did not expect was the reception after the talk. I had coaches coming up to thank me for sharing and telling me they were going to share this with other coaches at home.
That was the moment I realized; I do have something to share that can help others.
As I share this, I want to point out, I am still a work in progress. I still get doubts and negative thoughts. The difference in myself now and myself (3 years ago) is that I can sit back and see the doubts and negative thoughts for what they are- something I can choose to listen to or not.
Building confidence is something that we must do (regardless of the what-if’s). The more we do, the more likely we are to do again. “Confidence is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.” Confidence gives us the power to be ourselves, try new things, learn to cope with challenges, and take pride in what we accomplish-but the critical first step is to take action:
Make a “Who Am I” list. Sit down and write out (at least) 20 things that make you the amazing person you are. For example: I am creative, I am caring, I am curious. It may be hard to come up with 20, trust me I know, but once you stopping doubting and questioning yourself the list will grow. Take this list and hang it up some where that you can see it every day.
Self-Talk- “You become very dangerous when you learn to control your feelings”. When you are noticing some negative thoughts, sit back and try to see the thoughts from an outsider perspective. Just because the thoughts are there does not mean you have to listen to them. The next step is to flip the script, try adding the word ‘yet’.
“I can’t believe they picked me to be a coach for that camp.”
Flip the script, “I haven’t had a lot of experience with being a camp coach yet, this will be a great opportunity to learn.”
Keep a confidence journal-
Make lists: what I admire in others, what strengths I want to keep improving, what weaknesses I want to work on.
Practice gratitude: What mood/attitude can I bring to each day- it is not the circumstances that matter, but how I react to them. Sit down in the morning and write what you are grateful for heading into the day. Or sit down and night and list 3 things you are grateful for that day. Somedays it may simply be that you didn’t spill your coffee on your new dress, that is ok.
Write a challenge you faced. What were you thinking going into the situation, how did you act during the challenge, and what did you learn from the experience? Make sure to acknowledge and give yourself credit for stepping up to the challenge!
Help others around you. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to think outside of ourselves. What can you do to help someone else overcome a challenge, help someone else realize how amazing they are, do something kind for someone else, or be there for someone else when they just need someone to listen? Take time to help others, you will also be learning through the experience and building your confidence at the same time.
I will leave you with this quote and the encouragement to put yourself out there, you will be amazed at what can come from it. Enjoy the journey, I believe in you!
“Confidence is not- they will like me. Confidence is- I’ll be fine if they don’t”
Dana is in her 14th season with the First Colony Swim Team. She is the lead coach for Age Group 1, where she gets the privilege to work with the 9- & 10-year-olds. She is also the Head Developmental Coach, working with the awesome coaches in the novice groups. She is an ASCA Level 3 certified coach. Dana started her coaching career with the East Bay Bat Rays in California. This introduction to USA Swimming kick-started her love of coaching, working with young swimmers, and learning what it means to be a great coach. Her coaching philosophy includes doing what is best for each child, parent, and coach in the sport. Focusing on what we can do as a collective whole to promote the sport, help everyone become better people, and have the children see the benefits of working hard. She uses an IM based training (with lots of kick) to ensure the young athletes have a solid base to keep developing through the sport. Dana has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, East Bay. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 daughters. Hobbies include being active, being crafty/creative, exploring the great state of Texas, and seeking out education to continue improving herself (on and off the deck).
FCST rep for Gulf Masters
Texas All Star Camp coaching staff
Southern Zone Select Camp coaching staff
Meet Task Force for Gulf Swimming TPC
Committee Chair for the Texas Select Camp
USA Swimming Age Group Committee Member
Committee Chair for Gulf Club Development Committee