the natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women don’t act, when we hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it’s because we’re forced to, we perform just as well as men do’.
My question for you is what are you going to do today to narrow the confidence gap?
Curiosity is my favourite behaviour at the moment because focusing on curiosity creates confidence.
It allows me to see things from the other person’s perspective and to question why they interpret comments and situations in a different way.
By depersonalising the situation it means I don’t go down the “it must be all about me” thinking route, which can knock your confidence levels.
I recently worked with my client Jane* on using curiosity to help with her work relationships.
Jane was worried about her colleague’s behaviour towards her. She felt intimidated and undermined by them. Whatever friendly or professional approaches Jane made to her colleague the response was abrupt and sometimes rude. That left Jane with self-doubts and worrying about what she was doing wrong.
As part of our work, I suggested Jane replace her spiral of worrying with curiosity about her colleague’s mindset instead.
Jane can never know what her colleague is thinking, but several possible scenarios occurred to her:
Was the fact that Jane had recently joined the team triggering her colleague’s own insecurities?
Did her colleague feel more important having worked there longer and resented having to bring another team member up to speed?
Was she worried about relationships within the team changing?
Did she have issues outside of work that could be affecting her behaviour?
Now that Jane has accepted she can’t change her colleague’s behaviour, she’s chosen to believe it’s not about her. That has allowed her to break free from the self-doubts and become a confident member of the team.
If you struggle with managing your relationships at work, then try being curious about the other person, rather than giving yourself a hard time.
Worrying what others think can really hold you back at work and in life, if it’s affecting you then do read my latest free download. Click the link below.
“I want to be authentically confident”, is a common wish I hear from clients. But what does being authentic actually mean?
The Oxford Dictionary defines authentic as ‘not a copy; genuine’. To me, it means being yourself, and not an imitation of what you or others think you should be.
You are acting authentically when your behaviours match your beliefs and personality. It can be tricky, though to identify which are your beliefs, from those you may have picked up from your parent or partner.
In my younger years, I moulded my personality and beliefs to fit in with the people I cared about. This meant I traded my authentic self, to ensure I wasn’t judged and I fitted in.
Unfortunately, this can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety and shame, as well as the need for others to give you the love and approval you can’t give yourself.
It wasn’t until I had the courage to authentically speak up for my opinions and feelings that I stopped the constant search for validation.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings
Being authentically confident requires courage, time and commitment, however, it is well worth the effort.
Here are a few simple steps to help you:
Identify your beliefs and values. These are your moral compass and guide you in the actions and decisions you make. You can identify them by thinking about times you were really happy and times you were very low, and identify what yours and others behaviours were that meant you felt good or bad.
Respect yourself. This sounds easy but can be difficult when other people disagree with your behaviour or opinions. The important thing is to speak up or act on your thoughts, wants and needs. It gives your self-worth such a boost to have trusted and respected yourself
Accept your weaknesses. If you can acknowledge and accept both your talents and your flaws, it empowers you to be authentic. The focus shouldn’t just be on what you want to improve, but also recognising and celebrating your successes
Have courage. Be bold enough to live your life according to what you believe is right, and not let fear stop you from doing the things you dream of. What is the worst case scenario if you were brave? Could you live with it?
Focus on yourself in the present moment. By eeping your thoughts on the moment you’re less concerned about what others think, and it liberates you to be authentically you.
Imagine the empowerment and feeling of freedom, from truly being yourself and listening to what you need and want. From treating yourself with the respect and approval you deserve.
‘10 Things You Like About Yourself’ is an exercise I use with some clients to develop a positive self-perception and build their self-esteem.
It sounds very simple however it’s more about the process they go through to make the list, than the exact words they use.
One client of mine, Jane (she gave her permission for this) found the exercise incredibly difficult. She struggled to find any positive words about herself, despite easily being able to list her negatives.
I suggested she asked her family, friends and colleagues at work for 3 positive words about her character. She bravely took that step out of her comfort zone. Using me as her reason, she was empowered to get answers from all the people she requested.
Initially she was quite dismissive of the words they gave her. “They’re just being kind” or “they don’t know me very well“.
However when she began to see a pattern in the words used ‘kind, caring, loyal, organised…..’ she started to believe and accept them. This has led to a real change in how she sees herself and her value.
It’s amazing that such a simple exercise can have such powerful outcomes. However it’s also sad that many women don’t actually recognise or celebrate their positive qualities.
How easy would you find this exercise?
How often do you say something positive about yourself to another person?
I’m not suggesting you have to continually blow your own trumpet, just a passing remark is enough to boost your own confidence. Such as “that was a really difficult meeting, but I think I handled it well” to a colleague. Or “I’m really pleased with how my daughters party went, all the organisation I did was worth it” to a friend.
It will probably feel uncomfortable initially, but keep practising as it’s such a powerful message to your self-esteem and confidence that you value yourself.
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If I look back to my much younger self with the benefit of hindsight, there are many things I might do or say differently.
More importantly there are some key messages about confidence I’d want to share with the less experienced version of me.
I grew with a secure and protected childhood, which was wonderful but may not have allowed me to develop my independence muscle enough.
It’s okay to listen to others opinions and take on board different perspectives, but trusting in my instincts and feelings should have been the most important influence.
2. Speak up, you won’t look stupid
Again this is about trusting that what I have to say is as important as anyone else thoughts. There isn’t always a right answer and by speaking up more I would have respected myself and boosted my confidence.
3. Your confidence will grow
I remember that scared feeling, when I first left home, when I got my first job and bought my first house.
Feeling nervous and uncomfortable in new experiences and situations is normal and I’d love to reassure my younger self that the more new experiences I throw myself into the more my confidence will grow.
4. Everyone is doing the best they can
It seemed to me when I first started at University or in new jobs that my peers and seniors all were so confident and sorted.
I now realise that everyone is just doing their best in situations and struggling with their own insecurities. So I should stop worrying what others think and just be me
5. Good enough is good enough
I definitely have some perfectionist tendencies and set myself high expectations. These days I have learnt to be more realistic with my intentions, which means I don’t always have to do or be the best.
The freedom and calmness this has given me are something I would love my younger self to have experienced.
Having said all this, I’ve enjoyed the learning process that has taken me to where I am, so maybe it’s better to discover these lessons for yourself?
Do you have any lessons on confidence you’d like to share with your younger self?
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