The Confidence to Be You

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As I sit here with a rainbow coloured beard after once again publicly looking incredibly silly, as part of the fantastic SIRF community carnival I can’t help but reflect on the reasons behind it. That maybe aren’t so silly, in fact that I know are not silly in the slightest, but showing that once we learn to embrace who we are and let go of that inner fear we can achieve great things.

I spent over 20 years developing a character/fascade that allows me to achieve the things I wish in life. But they don’t come from a positive place, but rather like many from feelings of inadequacy, constantly worrying about the opinion of everyone, on everything. The phrase that changed my life maybe from a former rugby coach at Billingham Rugby Club as a young 16-year-old scrum-half stepping into senior rugby. “Become the pantomime character” Simply meaning it may not be the real you but build the character then use it to aid performance. Well over 20 years later I wonder is it still the character or  is it simply the person I am within.

Paul and the kids from BCT Aspire CIC
Paul and the kids from BCT Aspire CIC

Having ran youth sessions for well over a decade and also lived with anxiety problems, I see the difference between being nervous and being completely paralysed by fear, for whatever reason. So when children walk into my world, the first task is always to simply make people feel comfortable and safe, just as we all need in life. Sure fear can on occasion help performance in some, but living in a constant state of fear, is like being slowly poisoned. The same can be said for once of the most potent fuels for performance and something that can be seen in many great achievers, that of true anger, again overuse it becomes toxic. I say that having suffered a breakdown in 2009 with these both very probable ingredients. So my pantomime character, that of the clown is maybe not so silly. To show children that within our world, you can be the person you wish, deep inside, without the constant worry of judgement. Sure, not everyone is or has to be an extrovert, but to simply understand that you can be who you really are, is a worth more than gold.

Behind the Tiger Face anything is possible
Behind the Tiger Face anything is possible

It also leads onto the other vital ingredient of everything we do and believe, that of energy and more specifically positive energy. I have used this in many aspects to achieve great goals, I have set myself and understand that when we can pull together as much positivity it is truly infectious. As a collective, a team we gain strength from the energy and strength of one and another. The introvert rests easy next to the extrovert understanding that we all bring something special to the team. The great teams work around those who need support positively and ultimately improve everyone and everything. This is the culture that we work hard to achieve at BCT Aspire CIC.

So think about it for a second, how far is the gap between the inner and outer you? This is the gap I have tried to slowly bridge building something I call true confidence vs perceived confidence. The latter is the performance, the fascade that allows us to get the job done. True confidence is the magic, when we know longer have to think about who or what we do, but simply be who we are, in whatever way that manifests.

When I am in the room with my groups hopefully they can rest assured they need not worry about feeling silly as you are going to have to go some to look as daft as me. But first we must all feel safe in our environment, that go’s across business, sport, whatever place we step foot in.

Think about it for a second how many different characters do you have to use in your life, one for business, one for socialising, one that is the real you, whilst surrounded by those who make you feel safe. Well when we can begin to bridge the gap, the discord within can slowly be broken.

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Bizarrely since writing this blog and then reflecting on it, i have interestingly been brought back to my rainbow beard. As i got ready for my Saturday night run i pulled on my new running vest, which represents Sara’s Hope Foundation and who’s logo is a rainbow. My good friend Tony the Fridge is currently running 100 consecutive Great North Run’s for BCT Aspire CIC and Sara’s Hope. So anyway i guess the beard needs to stay till that challenge is completed, so if you see the rainbow beard you know why.

Remember ! No one can ever be a better version of you, than YOU

Peace and Love – Paul

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