To know, actually know in your gut and body, not just intellectually in your mind that you will be okay is more important than confidence.
Because confidence is context-dependent. I may be confident cooking but not painting, or confident with my friends but not at a networking event, or confident leading a small team but not a large one.
To know we’ll be okay
But knowing I’ll be okay I can paint freely and make a mess and it might be art or it might not. That’s okay.
Knowing I’ll be okay I can walk into a networking event without much concern about what people will think or what I will say. I’m just there as me. And that’s okay.
And knowing I’ll be okay, I’m less intimidated by the size of the team, and more curious about the people in it. Will I get it wrong here and there? Sure. But that’s okay.
The vulnerability of being okay creates permission for others. It’s difficult to invite people into vulnerability if you are not okay with your own.
We must go into the unknown
To truly know you’ll be okay though, you must go again and again into the unknown.
You must let yourself proverbially fall without a parachute, walk into a meeting with no agenda, make a proposal on the fly, let yourself be in the fear and anxiety that shows up.
It may be incredibly uncomfortable at first, but a trust in yourself starts to develop. A realization that it isn’t as bad as you thought.
Now you do it again, but with greater intentionality. The fear and anxiety are still there, they’re not going away, but you’ve danced with them a little now. You’ve shaken hands. They’re less solid and you’re beginning to see through them a little.
Now you enter a space, a wide open field, as Rumi describes it:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make any sense.–Rumi
Nothing makes sense here, because you’re not bringing your preconception of logic into it. Now you’re present to yourself and the situation. To what is.
Now you’re listening in every way, in all directions.
Even you’re less solid.
And suddenly a question or idea or statement shows up, just like that! Saying it out loud feels authentic to you, and also to the situation.
And now you trust this field a little more.
Where nothing is known
The place where no-thing is known, where no-thing makes sense, and there is just an inner openness that’s settling.
You’re more porous now, lighter, more free, and the trust grows.
Now you don’t have to go anywhere, because you are the field.
You are not your fear or anxiety or worries, you’re not your confident self, or right, or your best. You don’t need to go somewhere else to remove yourself from those boundaries.
You are you. You are okay. And now you know it, intimately.
And now everyone can be okay too.