Courage is our “ability to do something that frightens us.” Mark Twain says it best: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” Self-confidence, on the other hand, is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement. Courage, as opposed to self-confidence, is what gets us started. Passively waiting for confidence to begin any endeavor is fruitless. Only when we exercise the courage to act, can we build self-confidence. Still not clear? The following story will help illustrate the difference between courage and confidence.

I once knew a woman; we’ll call her Bertha. Bertha decided to start an ice-cream shop in her city two blocks from her residency. Excited, she talks about the plan with her parents and acquaintances. In their quest to save Bertha from failing and embarrassing herself, they tell her all the reasons such a venture will fail. Bertha goes back home with the negative stories that add to the mountains of self-uncertainties that she, herself, is trying to get over. She sleeps on the idea, and the next day, she goes along with it, anyway. Here, Bertha has acted out of courage. She has never opened a business before, and neither has anybody in her town. This is a genuine act of bravery that got Bertha started despite doubts thrown to her by family and friends besides her own self-doubts and limiting beliefs. 

A year later, Bertha Ice-cream is flourishing. She is making money, only now her parents and friends realize that Bertha’s act of courage paid off. The compliments she receives and that small taste of success help build her self-confidence. Courage gets us started and self-confidence is the increase of our self-image that results from past successes that keep us going. Bertha would never have started if she was expecting an increase in self-confidence. You must muster the bravery to start, and the resulting confidence will propel you forward.

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Whether you decide to start a business, write a book, make or movie, you need to gather the courage to get it out there. Only through the audience whom you choose to serve can you know whether your offering fits. Instead of waiting to have everything ready before you begin, muster the courage to start and self-confidence will follow.