Would you love to feel more confident? More self assured and able to go out and grab opportunities head on?
Well, you’re not alone! It’s absolutely the most common thing clients tell me they want more of. They wish they’d feel more positive about themselves, more self assured and that they knew deep down that they were good enough.
What often goes hand in hand here is a tendency to beat oneself up. Do you find yourself having a go at yourself in you mind? Maybe you say things like ‘How could I think that?’ ‘How could I do that?’ ‘I’m so stupid!’ What kind of idiot am I?’…. Well, if you didn’t lack in confidence after such conversations, I’d say you’re pretty certain to after a short while in this company. The company of yourself! The great news is that as it’s you doing it, you can change it!
The thing is, there are a number of myths associated with confidence that can hold you back from allowing yourself to enjoy the confidence that otherwise would be absolutely available for you. Here’s the top 6 myths of confidence as I see it:
- That we’re either born confident or unconfident. That we simply are one way or the other by nature. Very untrue, as confidence is actually a skill just like many others.
- If we accept that confidence is a skill, the next myth that can trip us up is that ‘practice makes perfect’. Actually, practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. As long as perfection is the success measure, we’re setting ourselves up to fail and by doing so, we knacker our confidence. So, rather than perfect, practice makes confidence. The better you know something, the more confident you’ll feel and the better your delivery of that something will ultimately be. This reframing, from perfect to confidence, can make all the difference.
- That if you’re a confident person, you’ll be confident in all situations. Not true, as confidence is very situation specific. I’m sure you agree that to confidently deliver a public speech will be very different to confidently sit an exam. By extension then, even if we feel insecure in one setting, it doesn’t mean we’re not confident in many other. By over generalising, we make it pretty impossible to view ourselves as confident.
- That to be confident you must be outgoing and extrovert. The gregarious, charismatic personality type as the confident role model has been popularized throughout the Western World and media for many years. When actually, an introvert can be just as, if not more confident, but only if they accept that their style is just as good. There is only a problem if we buy the myth that introversion, or a more quiet, contemplating style is somehow inferior or a sign of lacking in confidence. This can then result in an introspective person trying to fit a round peg in a square whole which would really set them up to fail.
- That once lost, confidence can never again be found. Thankfully this is very untrue. It does take guts to start building your confidence back up after a knock, but once you’re there you’ll be much more resilient than you were before and less likely to have your confidence shaken again.
- The belief that “I’ll know I’m confident when I can be sure I’ll succeed”. How can you know you’ll succeed at something you’ve not yet done? Actually the opposite is true – one of the best ways to gain self confidence is to do what you’re afraid or nervous about.
So, rather than labeling yourself as lacking in confidence or beating yourself up over your perceived shortcomings, accept that confidence is a skill. Just like driving a car or playing a game, it can be learnt. Indeed, just like a muscle it can be strengthened with practice and repetition. Wonder how to get started? See the Top Tip of the Month in next week’s blog.
Here’s to a more confident you!
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