What is Self-Confidence?
In a recent training session, we got to talking about self-confidence and its importance in being able to get what you want and move ahead in the work you do. These were some of the descriptions that learners used to describe what it is:
- It is another word for self-belief
- Believing that you can do whatever you set your mind to
- Having the skills, knowledge and ability to do what you set your mind to
I like all of them and if you put them altogether, you’d get:
What do you think?
Drop me a line here with your own definitions….. I’d love to hear what you think?
Why Do So Many Of Us Suffer From A Lack of Confidence?
As a woman working in a highly competitive industry, I find that when I am at my lowest, it is replicated in the results I get; how much training work I am bringing in, the positivity and results my clients and learners are receiving. Its all linked.
I recently recognised and was able to overcome extended depression that was invading my life – it started with the death of my Mom over 10 years ago. I probably would have gotten through this sad time with my support circle firmly around me, however I moved to Australia not knowing anyone other than my husband to be. So the depression was extended due to not having a support base around me to ease the pain of passing. This was exacerbated by having to relearn and redo all my qualifications and starting from scratch to move up the corporate ladder and the new world I found myself in. The depression led to a chronic lack of self-confidence that showed up in the decisions I made and the opportunities I passed up.
My story may be personal to me, but I am sure that many of you have experienced life’s’ changes and found yourself questioning and doubting yourself at some point.
A knock to your self-confidence is very human and normal. All of us have experienced knocks and bangs to our self-confidence at different times in our lives. And, for the most part, we recover and bounce back.
It is when the period of self-doubt and self-negativity continues for an extended time, that it starts to take over every area of your life and starts to impact on your ability to function at your peak.
The ability to recognise through your self-awareness that you have a challenge around your self-confidence is vital to recovery and rolling forward. And, to have close ones around you who love and have your best interests at heart, to give you gentle, loving and firm feedback when they see you self-sabotaging.
4 Steps to Developing Confidence
1. Recognise Your Challenge
Unless you can recognise that you have a problem in the self-esteem and confidence area, you cannot change it. Recognise that you have a challenge here, not judging it. Acceptance is a large part of the healing process, so don’t knock it 😉
2. Plan for Success
Make a list of what you are good at, what you are passionate about
Unless you know what your strengths are, you cannot focus on how to move you forward. So often we tend to focus on our weaknesses and put in place plans and moves to improve these weaknesses. Can you imagine focusing on what you are good at and figuring out why you are good at it and seeing how you can improve still further?
Marcus Buckingham, “arguably the business world’s most in-demand management guru according to Business Week Magazine and founder of Strengths-Based Leadership has done work around this and he has some cool stories to prove that focusing on your strengths is far more helpful than trying to kick a dead horse with your areas of weakness.
He says: The key to increasing team productivity, customer satisfaction and employee retention is to make sure that you and your team members have the chance to play to your strengths every day. Unfortunately, only 2 out of 10 people do so”. You can find more detail here
Sure, try to improve one or two things about your areas for improvement, but don’t spend all of your time here, it’s just wasteful!
3. Act with Purpose
Once you have identified your strengths, it’s essential that you set in motion your goals. I am always amazed how few people actually sit down, plan and write out their goals.
There is a very strong link between your success and the goals you set for yourself.
It is very true why they say that only 2% of the world’s population are successful in becoming financially independent, even though 99% of us would love to be so… The 2% set specific, visionary goals that are quantitative.
Check out Adam Leipzig’s video on “How to Find Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes”, a ted.com talk here:
4. Review Your Journey
Any work that you do in your life should be reviewed in order to highlight what is working and what could still be improved or changed to further learn from the process. Again, in our busy lives, it is often difficult to make the time for ourselves to do this. Try to set aside 5 – 10 minutes at least 3 times a week to review your journey to self-confidence and success.
If you are going to change your life, you have to change the way you are doing things right now!
3 Tools to Ensure Your Success
1. Create Consciousness
Take time out everyday to reflect on what is happening in your life. Some people suggest that you should document and write down in a diary your thoughts and learning. See for more detail from Greg McKeown: The 30 Second Habit with a Lifelong Impact.
2. Re-frame Your Message
When you have a problem, rather than seeing it in the negative which causes our brain to shut-down its thinking capabilities and to go into “threat” or survival mode, its more useful to “re-frame the problem” into a context that we can work with.
Please note that I am not suggesting that we become like “Pollyanna”, saying everything is good and positive because that is not real. What I am saying is that our brains operate better when we see things from a challenging perspective. We are geared to want to solve challenges far better than seeing and feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.
3. Create Positive Power Affirmations
A part of the reason that we get down about things, is because our brains start to take on what I call, “stinking thinking”. We start to ask ourselves questions that bring us down rather than lift us up. So for example, “Why does this always happen to me?” “Why did I marry x” – those are negative questions and our brains will respond in like manner i.e. “Because you deserve it, you are not good enough etc” and “Because you thought he was better than he is” – those are NOT helpful questions!! And that is not a helpful approach to building your self-esteem and confidence!
Rather, rewrite your destiny by creating statements that are positive.
Make sure they are short and simple.
Write them in the present tense as if you are achieving them right now
- I am a confident achiever
- I am successful in everything I do
- I regularly achieve my goals, I have healthy, strong and good relationships that uplift and empower my life
Read them out loud at least once a day, and the best time to do it would be just before you go down for the night because your brain will have a chance to mull over how it will achieve this for you while your body takes a rest….
Questions for You:
- What challenges around self-confidence do you have?
- How have you overcome these?
- What positive statements have you found to be useful to break “stinking thinking”?
Best wishes with these steps and tools,
See you at the top,