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by Darren Held

Confidence is a tricky thing.

I know, profound, right? I’m nothing if not deep.

Confidence is not my strong suit. I’m shy, which implies a certain inherent lack of confidence to begin with, and on top of that it’s my job to teach people how to be fearless. Yeah, the universe has a funny sense of humor.

I was talking to a classmate the other day, who was also having a crisis of confidence. She has an on-camera job and can’t show fear any more than I can, and we agreed that all you can do when you’re feeling less than the kick-ass alpha chick you are is act like you are and put it all out there, then go home and have a good cry. (Note: this is not a sexist statement, so please don’t yell at me. I think the kick-ass alpha guys should do the same.)

The thing is, as with virtually any problem you’re having in life, a crisis of confidence results from not being in the moment. It’s either angstyness over something you’ve done in the past that you fear others are judging negatively, or paralyzingness over something you have to do in the future that you fear others will judge negatively. When you are RIGHT HERE IN THIS MOMENT, you can’t be thinking about the past or the future at all. And when you’re fully present in this moment and committed to what you are doing in this moment, there’s no fear. All there is, is this thing you’re doing.

In improv classes, you learn to be in the moment because the moment is really all you have. And that skill spills over into real life, which is awesome. I’m not perfect, so I don’t always remember to stay present and in the moment – but I recognize it quicker and quicker when I don’t, and I don’t let the Crisis of Confidence Monster have its way with me nearly as long any more.

I know it can be scary to try something new, especially something as intimidating as improv. But finding the confidence to try it can be the key to finding the confidence to do pretty much anything else in life you’ve been afraid to try.

And yes, I’m quite confident that angstyness and paralyzingness are words. Sheesh.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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