I wasn't always the confident passion igniter I am today. Truth be told it's something I work on every day because I want to live each day a little bigger and bolder than the last. So my ambition tests me. And most days I thrive but on occasion I want to hide under the covers (like when I inquired about joining an exclusive women's group and they said no before they even met me).
I used to shy away from challenges and didn't feel like I was good enough to do many of the things in life I wanted to do most. So I lived life on auto pilot and hung out in my comfort zone, which was kind of boring. And a lack of challenge and accomplishment didn't make me feel good. So I wasn't very happy.
And I am not alone.
At one point or another many people have experienced a lack of confidence and are unsure how to develop, grow or regain it.
What would your world be like if you didn't get in your own way? Here are a few ways to feel more confident:
1. Look for the small wins.
Honestly, you are killing it! Bust out that flashlight and shine it on your life. Go ahead, I give you permission to focus on you (because we so rarely do that, right?). What went well today? Did you get kudos for a project that was done ahead of schedule? Did a friend seek you out for advice? Did you impress the soccer moms with your (healthy) snack for the group (everyone actually ate it- magic)?
See, you are killing it!
Focus on what is going well! How does that make you feel? Great, right?!! Channel that feeling the next time fear tries to hold you back. Hit a road block? Think about that small win and how you felt in the moment to keep yourself moving forward. You can build on your small wins that bring with them a confidence boost and turn those successes into a BIG win.
Some days having my own business is hard...I have to be willing to take a lot of risks and that means harnessing a lot courage. And in order to be courageous you have to have a strong sense of self. When fear creeps in and I feel like I might start doubting myself it helps me to pause and remind myself why I am doing what I am doing....to help people. Sometimes, the scope of what I am trying to can be overwhelming so I focus on helping one person. And when that seems doable, two people and then the world.
2. Tame the beast
When we don't feel good about our self, it's often because we have a negative inner dialogue encouraging us to play small:
"You don't deserve a promotion"
"You can't start a business. No one would hire you or buy your product."
"You are so fat. No one will want to date you."
"You are the worse mom ever because you got distracted (like you always do) and forgot to pickup your kid up on time." it says.
Can you relate? Our inner voice and the messages it spews can be toxic. Or if you tame it, the voice can be more positive than negative. I don't think it ever goes away, it can be significantly minimized though.
It's hard to feel good about yourself until you tame the beast. How can you do that?
Reframe the narrative. Battling back against negative messages. For example, when the voice says "Why do you think you deserve a promotion?" Instead tell yourself: "I've been working very hard and accomplished a lot in my role. I am ready for the next challenge."
If you have a reoccurring negative message that pops up when it's least helpful, use a positive mantra or meditate. Don't underestimate the power of positivity. How would you day go if you started off the day with a positive statement or by meditating on all that is going well in your life?
Look for evidence to the contrary of what the voice is telling you. Think about a project that went well or play a mental slideshow of all of the times you were early and waited for your kid. You are working hard and more importantly doing your best!
3. Be brave beautiful one and life will be beautiful to YOU.
What's one thing you feel less then confident about? How can you work on this to build confidence? For example, a client was feeling less then confident in her marriage. Most nights they spent time doing their own thing, he watching tv and her on her smart phone playing Candy Crush. They were physically together but not emotionally and that didn't feel good. She knew how important quality time is to a strong marriage and because she didn't have that she wasn't feeling very confident in her marriage. That lack of confidence was seeping into other areas of her life. She decided she would try to do something about it, instead of just feeling sad about the disconnect.
We strategized how this might go to ensure the results she hoped for. How would she handle it if he said yes? How would she handle it if he said no? (When you get a no from someone you love, typically it's the idea and not you personally being rejected but the voice will try to make you feel like you are being rejected).
She picked a day when her husband was in a particularly good mood after work to suggest a walk. The result? They had time to bond and talk about things they would not have talked about during a normal evening. It felt like a mini date and was re-energizing. He thanked her for suggesting it and the good mood lingered the next day. It gave her the confidence to suggest another activity that weekend, which also went well. And much to her surprise, a week later he took the lead. Her one act of bravery snowballed! A month later her marriage, and her feelings about it, had done a 180. She was feeling great about her marriage- and life in general.
It's human nature to doubt our awesomeness on occasion. In fact, it keeps our ego in check. But when it is harming and not helping -that's when you need to take action and tame that bad habit.
It's what you do when you are feeling vulnerable that will either help or hurt your confidence.