Each of us is unique with different talents and find different ways to express them. Recently I was running a virtual pop-up Confidence Café for a group of people on Facebook and one of the things I was keen for the individuals to do was fully understand what confidence means and then work out how to boost their own confidence. At the beginning of the week, we agreed that Confident people are aware of both their good and bad points and accept themselves, flaws and all. Confident people don’t feel the need to be perfect. They are comfortable with who they are and that allows their authenticity to shine through. Imagine the pressure that takes off you!! No more trying to be something you are not. No more feeling the pressure to be more like this person or less like you!
Yet when I work with clients, I am saddened to realise that many are more in touch with their flaws (real or imagined) than their unique talents. Sadly, it still seems socially unacceptable in our society to acknowledge and share our strengths openly with each other. And this can be one of the reasons that we find so many situations, such as interviews or networking, where we are required to showcase our talents so difficult. Resulting in us playing safe and underselling ourselves.
This lack of confidence comes at a price. Many of my clients are successful individuals with good careers or run their own business but they live in awe of other people who they feel are more confident. Unable to express their wants and needs clearly, they often suffer from imposter syndrome. They feel awkward, misunderstood and powerless and of course, this can also lead to them feeling anxious, tense and even physically sick.
What determines our level of confidence?
Our current level of confidence can be determined by a number of different factors, such as
- the family unit you were brought up in. How praise and criticism were handled. Whether your parents were good role models of positive confident individuals. Your position within the family, being an only child or the firstborn can make a difference.
- the behaviour of teachers at school towards you and that of your friends. Whether the other children were friendly and kind or bullies.
- whether you have suffered traumatic events in your life.
- And of course, whether you have done any self-development so far in your life.
Yet our current level of confidence along with the beliefs we hold can be changed.
So let’s start by being clear what it means to be a confident person. A confident individual understands themselves and acknowledges their achievements but also is curious about what else they can achieve. This means that they know what they want and they are not afraid to go out and make it happen. They set themselves inspiring goals and undertake the work to hit the milestones along the way. Generally, you will find that they are positive individuals who take care of themselves. Most confident people also love to be around other confident individuals. They recognise that they still have much to learn and are keen to learn from others.
How do we become more confident?
So what does it take to become more confident?
- It is important for you to believe that you can change and become more confident. If you just accept that you’re not confident and use it as an excuse not to do the work, then nothing will change.
- Along with belief, you need to want to change.
- You need to gain some insight into your current behaviour and how it helps and hinders you from being confident.
- You need to set yourself some realistic goals and make sure that you write them down and revisit them often.
- You need to spend time and energy rehearsing the new behaviours and trying it out when you can.
- You will need encouragement to keep going and keep trying and also someone to help you celebrate your successes. This can be a friend or family member or can be a coach or mentor.
- You need to reward yourself for all your hard work. The ultimate reward will be that you will live a more confident life and that will open so many more doors for you, however, it is good to have short-term rewards for meeting interim milestones.
If you would like to work on your confidence, then please feel free to join us when I next re-open The Confidence Café. You can join by clicking the link here Suzanne’s Confidence Cafe