Starting Over

Where Is My Super Hero Suit?

I’m just days away from starting my first semester on a web design program and I find that I am having cold feet. NOT in starting the program, not really. But there is this ambiguous feeling of hesitation. Like pausing before you leap on a parachute jump.

Confidence in my experience is like a very dapper business suit. You put it on and it feels great. You look and feel like you have it together… and you are unstoppable. It’s a mental Colin-Farrell-Suit, if you will. Or maybe Daniel Craig? Once you are in that zone you can kick ass and take names and not even get a scuff. However, wearing the suit can take some getting use to. Just as a tie can feel foreign to your neck if you don’t wear it all the time, so confidence can feel strange when it’s not a natural part of your personality. And if you don’t choose to put the confidence suit on… if you don’t choose to be confident… then the magical feelings of self assurance just don’t materialize. Then you lack the confidence to even get into the mindset and things can spiral down from there. If you don’t get into the zone, the zone becomes harder to grasp.

So, here I am about to start a program at a school with people are are significantly younger than I am, dress better (maybe), and are more used to a world of computer design. The field has come a long way from when I was first in college (e-mail was brand new, websites unheard of, and discussions of SEO or UX nonexistent). Good design has become so prevalent on the web and so easily accessed (i-pads, smart phones, laptops). More than ever I need to wear my dapper Collin-Ferrell-Suit… but what is this cold feet feeling I have? What am I nervous about? Why am I hesitant in embracing confidence?

Epiphany: Confidence & Courage Are Not The Same

And then it hits me. I’m afraid of change. I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid that I will fail. I am flooded with questions of why am I here and what will I do if such-and-such doesn’t work out?

And that’s when I realize the most important thing about confidence: confidence is different from courage. Similar, but distinct. Confidence is the suit you put on… but courage is the heart you have inside. I found this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that really puts things in perspective:

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” You Learn By Living (1960), 41

Maybe I will fail. Maybe I’ll be a terrible web designer. But better to try than not, right? So, I will put on my Colin-Farrell-Suit one leg at a time and stare down this unknown future. And I feel whatever the future holds… I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.