Building Confidence: "Change vs. Transformation"

Ed Darling
4 min read

What you’ll learn:

  • The many things I tried to build confidence.
  • Why people get stuck not building confidence.
  • The difference between change and transformation.
  • The reality of building confidence long-term.

Video summary on Building Confidence:

I tried so many things to build my confidence.

After developing social anxiety and a petrifying phobia of public speaking, I knew I had an uphill struggle ahead of me.

During those years, I tried many “quick wins” to change how I felt:

  • Supplements
  • Tapping
  • Hypnosis
  • EMDR
  • A weird herbal spray to reduce nerves (it tasted awful)

Some of these things seemed to help, but the results never lasted.

I was desperate to find a permanent fix. 

Something that would eliminate my anxiety and give me rock-solid confidence in all situations.

Your situation may not be as extreme as mine, but if anxiety and nerves have ever impeded your performance, I’m sure you can relate.

But was there a “fix” for my confidence?

Why people get STUCK not feeling confident.

What often keeps people stuck is the false idea of the “overnight success”.

In movies, the Hero turns their life around in a 90-second montage. 

A few cut-scenes of running on a treadmill while studying a stack of books, and ta-da: they’ve transformed.

On social media, people present a similar perfect fairytale: sharing the highs, hiding the lows, and manufacturing a “highlight reel” of unrealistic success.

We’re bombarded with messages that tell us: change should be easy, and change should come quick.

Then we look at our own lives and think:

  • “Why am I still stuck?”
  • “Why is it not working for me?”
  • “Why am I still so anxious when speaking in public?

We internalise these feelings as a problem that we uniquely have. Which is why I meet people who tell me with absolute certainty that they: “could never speak in public!”

So, what’s the answer?

Ready to feel confident while speaking in public?

Join our next 1-Day Public Speaking Masterclass

The difference between change & transformation.

The antidote is understanding the distinction between changing, and transforming.

Here’s how I define it:

Change happens in days, hours and seconds – a single thought or experience can change the way you think and behave. But it’s only ever a temporary change.

Transformation happens when you ACT on those changes over the course of weeks, months and years. That is when the change is embedded and becomes a true transformation.

A self-development example:

The first time I picked up a self-development book (“Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers I seem to remember) I realised for the first time that I could learn independently – build new skills, change my mindset, and become a better person.

But my mindset only transformed years later, when I’d read 30+ books on psychology, spirituality, communication and leadership (and implemented their ideas into my life).

A public speaking example:

When I walked into a Toastmasters club for the first time and delivered a table-topic to 30 people (after which I didn’t return for over a year out of embarrassment), it triggered a change within me.

I realised that public speaking was a skill – a skill that other people struggled with, and that it was something that I could practise and improve over time.

But my skills only transformed after I’d committed to going back, spending 4 years as a member, and eventually becoming the club President.

An acting example:


My self-belief changed when I stepped off stage after my first time acting in a theatre production – as the Husband in Lorca’s “Blood Wedding” – because I realised I could actually perform in front of an audience and enjoy it.

But my self-belief transformed after I’d spent years working as a professional actor – performing in dozens of plays, in front of hundreds of audiences, and in theatres around the UK and abroad.

Change comes quickly, transformation takes time.

The reality of building confidence long-term.

On your journey to building confidence, you want to look out for the “quick wins” that can help you to build momentum. 

The actions you can take, the fears you can face, and the challenges you can step up to.

But it’s crucial to remember that these are only the first step.

In reality, your “90-second montage” means:

– Taking risks
– Facing fears
– Making mistakes
– Being uncomfortable
– Constantly seeking improvement

Day-in, day-out – over months and years.

Whether you’re building a career, a business, a skillset, or your self-confidence – you must be willing to ignore the glamour of “overnight success”, and focus on growth of consistent effort.

But here’s the good news:

All that effort is absolutely worth it. Because one year from now, “future you” will be able to look back and recognise how far you’ve come.

So keep moving forwards, keep taking action, and remember that when it comes to building confidence, public speaking skills, or achieving excellence at anything – true transformation takes time. 

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