Most of us have experienced the desire to have more confidence in some aspect of life. Confidence in our work, in our looks, in our behaviour, in a social context. Read on in this article to find small steps to build the muscle of growing your confidence.
Particularly in a work environment, people experience a huge amount of expectation and pressure to perform with certainty, determination and confidence. As a woman working in a male dominated environment, this pressure can be huge! But what if, deep down, we don’t feel capable of a certain task? What if we don’t believe in our ability to deliver an upcoming presentation? What if we cannot handle the criticism from the top? What if we feel so nervous about a client meeting that our hands get sweaty and we feel sick?
What is so bad about feeling unconfident?
People with little confidence have unhealthy, self-sabotaging behaviour which gets them into a vicious cycle. We start comparing ourselves to work colleagues and only see what they are better at. We start to please and have little boundaries, often therefore doing tasks that are not part of our job description. We avoid challenges and taking risks. Rather than embracing an opportunity, we shy away from it to avoid more unpleasant experiences. We don’t grow. We feel small. Insecure.
The benefits of increased confidence
There are several, very important reasons though to strengthen our confidence. The more we believe in ourselves, the less negative self-talk we experience. We act with intention based on our values and therefore live a more fulfilling day to day life. Confidence helps to overcome failure and to learn and move on from it. We can handle challenges, deal with complex situations, and are perhaps even motivated to take risks. Greater confidence also results in better relationships as we can focus on other people more when we’re not wrapped up in our own thoughts. Interactions become more genuine and authentic and there is no need for comparison to other people. The list of benefits goes on. The point I want to make is that it really is worth investing in our confidence and strengthening the believe in our skills, choices and decision making. I want to share some ideas how you can start building this muscle.
Baby steps to increase your confidence
Reflect on past experiences
When working with clients on this topic, one of the exercises we do is to reflect on a past experience when they felt fully confident and alive. Questions we discuss are along the lines of:
What was a time in your life when you felt really confident? What was going on? Who were you with? What were you doing? What values were being honoured? What contributed to you feeling so confident?
Small steps rather to create big change
Self development takes time and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of tasks or commitments we make to ourselves. But if we break them down into small, achievable baby steps, we can actually follow through and see the accomplishments over time. Seeing the results in itself strengthens our confidence as well as working towards something meaningful.
Say, for example, you want to get better at writing. What amount of time can you afford to dedicate to this skill and where does it fit in in your calendar? What is a small action you can take that would bring you closer to this goal? Make it a habit and let the number of small steps accumulate to create big change.
Get to know your inner critic
When feeling insecure, our inner critic becomes very loud and gives us all sorts of tips what we should do in order to protect ourselves. While all of this is nice in the short term, it actually doesn’t serve us in respect to growing, developing, and moving forward. It keeps us nice and cozy in our little comfort zone.
Becoming aware of our inner critic doesn’t make it go away, but we can learn to manage it better. And a first step towards that is noticing when it appears. Here is a whole article I’ve written on this subject.
If this content resonates and you would like support with a similar topic, let’s connect and have a chat.