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Courage Comes Before Confidence

As I reflect on how confidence became a part of my essence, I realize that a crucial component was overlooked. I'm referring to courage. Before the idea of confidence can arise, courage must be present.

I was surrounded by darkness and a crowd awaits.

Being trained to play in front of people at age 6, I was familiar with the silent anticipation as I was about to start my solo.

Suddenly, a spot light shines on me as I play notes I've practiced with my clarinet.

I played with ease until I hit a note, a squeak. Every time I played that same note, I squeaked. The squeaking continued.

I was 14 at the time.

As I continue squeaking in the darkness, I realize to quit wasn't an option. I had to complete the song. I was reminded by my piano teachers that to finish is the goal no matter how messy it's played.

And so, I kept playing.

I knew I had to face what was next when the lights turned back on.

A standing ovation from hundreds that were in the crowd.

I realize then that without courage, confidence wouldn't stand a chance.

That learning opportunity transferred into areas of life as I became an adult. Not only was I able to play an instrument (piano, clarinet, sing, guitar, hand bells) in front of audiences, my speaking on stage and video applied the same lesson.

Courage is really about taking action while fear surrounds you.

Questions for you:

1. Reflect when you were courageous, did you have confidence?

2. When it comes to public speaking with confidence, what is holding you back?

3. What are you doing to grow your courage every day?

By Claudia Martens

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