A typical line I get when meeting new people: “You’re a burlesque performer? You must be REALLY confident.” Yeah, I am – when it comes to my performance (see above). In other areas, like schmoozing, algebra or reversing with a trailer, I’m not so confident.  I don’t know about you, but I hate that phrase “Fake it ‘til you make it”. It just feels so fake. The word confidence has been bandied about so much it’s become drained of meaning. How many times have you struggled with something only to be told by a well meaning friend “just be more confident”? Like it’s some switch to easily flick on and off. Confidence means so many different things to each of us. Just how do you embody this elusive and mysterious quality?

The important thing to remember is we ALL have areas in our life where we are proficient (read; outwardly appearing confident) and where we are weak. In a world focused on productivity, success, being an all-rounder and shiny finishes, confidence without vulnerability can seem like a veneer of swagger and snake eyed charm. We need to remember that we’re not meant to be amazing at everything. This is why we have community to draw upon and contribute OUR strengths to.

Real confidence is a feeling of trust from within rather than donning a cloak of bravado. It feels expansive as opposed restrictive.

Case in point: I was recently working with a client who isn’t very confident in her abilities in a new business venture. She knows she is talented at what she does but still feels unsure. The lazy answer from me would be to say “Just be more confident” (what a cop out). It’s part of her journey on this new business venture to learn the skills that enable her confidence to blossom in the right way for her. So I suggested an alternative way to think about this: how about letting the confidence develop on it’s own accord? In the right growth conditions, confidence doesn’t need to be willed, it just needs to be patiently tended, like spring bulbs. Her confidence will come through a combination of experience, engagement, self-possession and most importantly, patience. Sure, we can fake it ’til we make it, but if that feels icky and disingenuous, there is the route of building confidence up brick by brick rather than going straight to the facade. Enjoy the extended building metaphor there.

Confidence On Stage: When I’m teaching classes around confidence and taking up space on stage, a big part of this is dropping into the heart, drawing on our inner energy and powerfully projecting this out with the intention that you LOVE what you’re doing and that you know you deserve to be taking up space on stage. Knowing that “You are beautiful. Own it. Walk like your hips move mountains.” – Unknown. I’ve found it is essential to encourage new performers to develop this particular habit as it’s easy to perform your first few shows when all your friends are in the audience cheering you on, but what happens down the line when your mates can’t make every gig and you have an audience who may appear disinterested or not giving you the response you’re expecting? There needs to be a strength that shines from the inside out. More holding space and letting the audience’s energy meet yours, rather than leaning in and trying to grasp energy from the audience. A trust in the self.

Also, Confidence Mentors: Call on chums, colleagues and family who seem to have no problem with something you are lacking confidence in and pick their brains. Recently I reached out to a friend who is an ace at asking for money for funding projects. With her help, I drafted a letter and the funding was accepted. Another friend is a whizz at not caring what people think of him so I turn to him for tips when I notice my people pleasing tendencies flare up. In turn, a lot of my friends and colleagues ask me questions about sex, sensuality, relationships and feeling good in the body!

How about you?  What’s one thing you feel really confident in (hint: your friends and family will often ask you for help in this area)? This may be something you’ve worked really hard in building up in yourself or it may come so naturally to you, you don’t even realise people aren’t as innately adept at this particular skill as you. Where’s one area you feel you’d like your confidence to grow? Drop me a line in the comments below.

All the love possible,

Sophia X

P.S If you’re in London, I have a workshop in Farringdon on Sunday April 10 combining burlesque moves, meditation and goddess exploration, I’d love to see you there.

Image Credits: Feature Image – Chris Baker, Middle Image – Moi