Whether we face challenges or easier times, our actual experiences of them will be very different depending on our mindset.
So if we feel positive, calm and trusting of ourselves and the likely outcomes of the situations we’re in, this will to a large part be down to ourselves and our attitudes. Not simply down to luck or even our abilities.
So, by extension, whether we enjoy a feeling of success or not, is to a large part a creation of our own minds.
And during the 10 years that I’ve coached individuals, I’ve come to notice that confidence is the single most important factor in a winning mindset.
Over and over again I’ve seen that when confidence is lacking, our actual abilities and ambitions too easily get lost, our perception of ourselves becomes flawed, and we stop giving ourselves the credit we deserve.
Whether at work, socially, in our relationships, sports, as parents or indeed anywhere that matters to us.
The important point is that if you are stumbling in any area of your life that matters to you, then a spring clean of your mindset with an added dose of confidence is likely to get you back on track, and then ahead.
Because confidence allows you to be more you, and to be the best version of you.
Let’s look at this briefly. Confident people tend to be more optimistically minded, which results in them not only making the most of opportunities but also in them expecting a positive outcome, which increases the likelihood of that outcome materialising. And, importantly, their confidence allows them to enjoy the process more. So a real three-way win – with confidence you take more chances, enjoy taking them and enjoy more frequent success!
Imagine the relief of just knowing that whatever happens and whatever the outcome you’ll be fine, and that if you don’t get the results you hoped for you’ll be able to handle it and find a different way to get there.
A common barrier for people enjoying this reality, is the need to understand and control what happens in their lives.
Certainly the need to control is such a common and big drainer of a confident and peaceful mindset.
Because the truth is that life is unpredictable and by trying to control things we can easily end up increasing rather than decreasing our anxiety levels. This happens when you are trying to remain within your comfort zone because, though the comfort zone can be helpful and feel safe, when it keeps you stuck it’s in fact very far from comfortable or helpful.
Therefore, if this is happening in your life, your comfort zone is currently supporting your lack of confidence and in order to grow and develop your confidence, you need to push the boundaries of that zone.
This can often be easier said than done, so here are some easy to apply tips on how to find the courage to step outside your comfort zone.
Spring clean your mindset by pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone
- Be honest – You might be living healthily and in accordance with your values in many ways, but chances are, deep down, you know that there are some things you should change, things which are adversely affecting your confidence levels. Be honest with yourself and allow yourself to acknowledge what these things are.
- Focus your efforts – Zero in on the behaviour that you would like to change. For example, if you’re stuck and tend to say no to new experiences because you’re worried you won’t be good enough, then make it part of your daily routine to list experiences you’d like to try, look out for opportunities coming your way and say yes more often. Being specific and deliberately focusing on saying yes is a lot more enabling than just deciding to try new things. Which new behaviours will benefit your confidence levels and how will you start to practise these?
- Incentivise yourself – Make a list of all the good reasons to break an unhelpful habit and use this to incentivise yourself whenever you feel scared, insecure or like giving up. For instance, a better social life or greater achievements at work, which your current tendency to say no might be preventing. These would be real and very attractive benefits to feed your confidence – great incentives! What are your strongest and most compelling incentives?
- Do something! – Set yourself up for success by taking immediate action. However small the first step, do it, and you’ll find it leads to further actions as you build up momentum and your confidence grows.
- Congratulate yourself – Take every opportunity to look out for nice and good things you are doing and make a point of acknowledging them. Say to yourself, ‘What a kind thing to say’ (rather than ‘ah, that was nothing’), ‘Didn’t I do well not giving up in those circumstances’ (rather than ‘how rubbish was I at that’), or ‘I managed to fit in 30 minutes on the treadmill’ (rather than ‘I’m so rubbish, I should have done a 1 hour workout’).
- Enlist backup – Tell someone you trust what it is you intend to achieve. Not only can they help you recognise when you’re slipping, but you’re also much less likely to slip in the first place as you might lose face if you fail! Accountability can be key to staying on track or to recognising when you are straying from the path to success. Don’t allow a fear of failure to prevent you from sharing your intentions! To whom will you tell your plans and intentions?
- Record your achievements – Keep careful notes of your progress and achievements and the benefits you are experiencing. Progress is a very effective incentive to keep going.
- Persevere – If you slip up, perhaps because you feel overly nervous, you’re too hard on yourself or you let your insecurities stop you from doing something, don’t be tempted to throw in the towel. Just get back on track and keep going. Failure is only a reality when you stop trying.
These tips are an extract from my book What’s Your Excuse for Not Being More Confident? Drop me a line if you’d like a signed copy of the book or if you have any questions around how create your confident mindset.