14 May, 2019

Even the most confident person is often plagued by nerves underneath the surface. But in order to go out and grab life, you need to lean into the fear. Hynotherapist Chloe Brotheridge, author of Brave New Girl, explains why courage is the key to unlocking your potential

One would assume that the superstar Adele is super confident. That she has it all figured out and was probably born that way. But the truth is that she has admitted that she gets so nervous before her performances, she sometimes throws up.

We look at Michelle Obama, and assume she too must be incredibly self-assured, but she’s admitted that she suffers from imposter syndrome.

Inspirational speaker Mel Robbins seemed super-chill during her 2011 Ted Talk, but she later shared that she was having a panic attack the whole time. Even Queen B herself is a self-confessed people pleaser.

A woman rock-climbing

It’s easy to look at others and assume they must have been born confident; that things are just easy for them. We let fear get the better of us and think “that’s just not for me” or “I could never do that”. But we shouldn’t allow a lack of confidence to hold us back.

When we peel back the surface, we learn that even those with apparently iron-clad confidence still worry they’re not good enough, experience fear and doubt themselves. What looks like confidence on the outside is often actually courage.

Read more: How to make yourself fearless, in 5 key steps

This is good news. It means we don’t have to wait for confidence to materialise before we start taking action and doing the things we want to do.

What if, self-doubt was just part and parcel of doing “stuff”? What if, feeling like an imposter, was a normal side effect of moving out of your comfort zone? What if, fear and nerves were simply a sign that you’re learning, changing and growing?

A man mountain biking in the desert

I’ve found that there are moments in life when we have a choice to either walk (or run) away, or move towards the thing we’re afraid of. I’ve learned that fear shrinks when you walk towards it. And if we run away? The fear only grows.

When you walk towards your fear, you learn that you can do hard things, and survive. You discover you can trust yourself to handle what comes up. Your nervous system learns that it’s not actually a life or death situation, and it calls off the alarm. And your confidence grows.

How can you find small ways to challenge yourself? It might be striking up a conversation with the person making your coffee, hitting publish on your first blog post, sending an email you’re afraid to send or jumping into a cold lake. Whatever it is you’re scared to do, know that confidence starts with being brave and taking action.

And if you do that, your horizons just keep expanding.

Chloe Brotheridge’s book, Brave New Girl, is out now


Four trips to test your inner grit

Find out how to be brave with these game-changing escapes, shared with a group of like-minded solo travellers

Hit the peaks of Peru

Have your game face at the ready for this demanding ascent up Rainbow Mountain, at 5,200 metres. Climbing through the spectacular hills of the Peruvian Andes, we’ll stop for an overnight camp at altitude before making a dawn ascent to see the multi-coloured summit aglow in the morning sunshine.

Also on this thrill-a-minute trip, we’ll take a twilight boat ride down the Amazon, cycle in the ancient Inca hills and roll our sleeves up for a Pisco Sour workshop in the capital, Lima.

Peru, we’re ready

Snorkel a shipwreck in Bali

Shipwreck snokelling in Bali

Off the shores of the fishing villages of Amed in Bali lies a World War II shipwreck; and it’s become a haven for tropical marine life. Don your goggles to paddle around the spectacular fish and coral that cluster by the vessel’s hulk.

Also on this dreamy escape to the Island of the Gods, we’ll be hiking up a live volcano at sunrise, hiking through the jungle hills of Ubud (with a slice of anti-gravity yoga on the side), and kicking back on an idyllic traffic-free island.

Bali, get set

Canyon the wilds of Slovenia

Canyoning in Slovenia

Gear up to slide, scramble and rappel your way through Slovenia’s rugged Bohinj Valley. This area of Europe is completely remote and off-radar; you’ll feel like you’re venturing into a long-forgotten world. At the same time, you’ll be challenged and stretched in the best possible way.

Also on this weekend getaway, we paddle-board across the picturesque straits of Lake Bled and glamp in beautiful lakeside cabins. Not to mention a riotous night out with local food and beer pairings in the capital Ljubljana.

Slovenia so fine

Learn to surf in South Africa

Surfing in South Africa

It takes no small amount of pluck to take your first, wobbly foray onto the waves of Knysna Lagoon. But when you finally master the art of surfing – if only for five glorious seconds at a time – the feeling is like nothing else on earth. It’s possibly the closest you’ll get to the sensation of actually flying.

Unearth your inner surf dude on this fabulous adventure to smashing South Africa, along with tackling one of the world’s highest commercial abseils: Table Mountain in Cape Town, at around 1,000 metres. Then, hop your way merrily through the vineyards of Stellenbosch, and settle in for a game safari across the magnificent Eastern Cape.

South Africa calling

Images: Shutterstock, Flash Pack

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