To be or not to be …
Having had the benefit of NLP training I look at this issue of ‘confidence’ in a different way now. For instance, watching my children grow up involved a certain amount of incredulity as to where they got their confidence from, because as far as I was concerned, it most certainly wasn’t me.
When I was young – in fact, up to roughly the age of 22 – I was ‘shy’. The few occasions I struck out and let my voice be heard were massive enough for me to remember them, still, in fine detail. At the age of eight I entered a talent contest in a park in Colwyn Bay (there are photos to prove it) and told a joke I’d made up. It was an awful joke so didn’t get many laughs. Of course, if it had got lots of laughs I wouldn’t have been ‘shy’ anymore.
Some years later I did an impression of our English teacher singing Bob Dylan songs for our Sixth Form Review. That one did go down well, but it was too late. I was nearly 18 so the shyness was ingrained for ever.
Much later, I played the front end of a pantomime horse and that went down so well that one audience member said she thought it was the most natural panto horse she’d ever seen. However, being under cover of the costume meant I could keep tight hold of my shyness.
Understanding Decision Making with NLP
What I now know is that I wasn’t shy at all. I’d just decided I was. It was easier to sit with my heart thumping whilst hoping against hope that the teacher wouldn’t choose me to tell the class what I’d done in the summer holidays (I might have had to tell them about the failed talent show attempt) than to actually open my mouth and speak for twenty seconds. And it was easier not to ask my teachers questions … to avoid sitting next to someone on the bus … to ask my mother to make those all-important phone calls … because I had an excuse for not being proactive. I was ‘shy’.
This isn’t to put all of the blame on myself – there has to be a degree of mitigating factor. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to hold myself back from all manner of opportunities under the guise of shyness. There were things around that didn’t help … it was accepted by others, for instance, that I was shy. My two brothers, decidedly not shy, naturally assumed my position as ‘the shy one’. My school didn’t offer anything as exotic as a Personal Development course and perhaps … just perhaps … if these things had been different I may have grown up with more confidence and self-assuredness than the little bit I had. But what this proves to me is the power of nurture over nature, and that with a bit of nurturing I may not have accepted my ‘nature’.
So now, NLP trained and with an understanding of decision making with NLP, I have a clearer eye on these things I look back to my own children’s early lives to see what differences there are between theirs and mine. Not much, actually. We were a social family unit – as was my own when young, and we encouraged friendships – as did my parents. My son certainly had a few hurdles to overcome in the confidence stakes when very young, but as soon as he realised he had the kind of wit that makes the girls laugh, overcome those hurdles he did. Both children perform and both have lives that are full and interesting. Did I have much to do with that? Of course I did, but ultimately, the decision was theirs.