Confidence is often viewed as the holy grail of success and happiness but what if we feel we don’t have enough of it? Moreover, to what degree must we ‘fake it to make it’ or is confidence a skill we can learn and if so, how?
Our belief in our own capacity to ‘push through’ has never been as important; perhaps you
- have been furloughed due to the pandemic and are feeling shaky and uncertain or
- yearn for a change of direction but don’t know where to start or
- are returning to work after extended leave and find yourself in a role that appears barely recognisable
It is your belief and confidence in yourself that will be the key catalyst in instigating and accomplishing positive changes.
As a psychology student 15 years ago, I first came across the term ‘Self- efficacy’ coined by Canadian Albert Bandura. Fundamental to this concept is the notion of ‘trial’, of giving something a go – to try something even if you don’t know what you are doing. It is from this point that confidence can be cultivated. Confidence is a skill that can be learned, as long as you are willing to give it a go.
At Change Grow Succeed, we believe that learning and doing are key cornerstones in building confidence and we advocate the following 7 Habits to cultivate or strengthen yours:
- Numb the Negative Narrative – Do you tell yourself that you need more confidence? Maybe you spend more time talking about the negative aspects of yourself? Pay attention to the impact of your personal narrative. Some beliefs can be expired or self- sabotaging and certainly keep you stuck. Try telling yourself a different story. Become intentional about sharing what went well or progress that you made.
- LifeLong Learning – Regardless of what you want to become more confident at, any learning has a spin – off effect. Instead of dwelling on a lack of confidence, take a course on something that interests you. The combination of pursing a passion and engaging your brain will shift your energy and your confidence will spill over and be noticed by you and those around you!
- What’s your why? If you are not connecting with what is important to you and why – how will you know if you’re on the right track? Our ability to pause and evaluate is an essential activity to engage with, particularly, if you need to rebuild yourself after a knock- back. Your ability to focus on your ‘why’ is your motivation for accomplishing whatever it is that you yearn for, as well as ensuring focus and discipline and pursuing what you believe in will give you confidence. If you’re at a loss as to where or how to start this process, reach out to a coach for industry – led tools and tips to support you.
- Pause perfectionism – do you find yourself thinking about ‘worse case scenarios’? To what degree does this habit foster self- doubt or caution and reduces your capacity for self- belief? Often, the focus of perfectionists is ‘what could go wrong’ which fosters a negative mindset . When actively seeking to improve your confidence, seek to reframe risk with opportunity and pursue the bigger picture!
- Tribe therapy – In the last year, my observation through my work is that some individuals have lost confidence as they have lost connection with themselves and with each other.Our relationships have the ability to lift us up, they can also tear us apart. Evaluate who is in your network. Cherish those connections who support and empower you and consider disengaging from those who bring you down. Seek out those role- models who embody the confidence that you respect and identify what is it about them that resonates with you. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!
- Ditch thinking for Doing Our brain is hard wired to protect us. It responds well to comfort zones. Research shows that people who perceive their confidence as ‘low’ are plagued by rumination or ‘analysis -paralysis’. Getting out of our own head is a must here. Stop thinking and start doing. Remember, confidence is an active process. Small acts of bravery can shift your energy. Trial something new today!
- Power Pose – In her excellent TedTalk,Amy Cuddy shares that power posing (embracing more expansive body language) ignites physiological changes in our bodies. She tells us that two minutes of opening up and stretching our arms out fires us up with testosterone, boosting our confidence. If you think about it, most of us spend our days hunched over a laptop or phone (making ourselves small) so if you were to be intentional about opening up your posture on a daily basis -to what degree would this shift you into a more positive mindset? Try it and see!
Which new habit would make the most difference to your confidence? Trial something new today – get comfortable being uncomfortable and note the shift in your own energy and confidence!
Gillian McGrath is a Cork based life coach and experienced speaker and facilitator. For more information, go to http://www.changegrowsucceed.com