Confidence is like putting on your favourite jumper.
‘it is something you create within yourself by believing in who you are’
Suffering from imposter syndrome?
It’s that feeling of not BEING good enough, a fear of being caught out not knowing what a role defines you must know and do. It’s an assumption you make about yourself that because you don’t know now, you won’t know how to, when the time comes. It creates an anxiety that can stop you from reaching your potential and most of us suffer from it at some point. With specific job descriptions and expectations in roles such as described in ‘social norms’, like a mum, dad, father, wifethere are a lot of people who lack the confidence to take up the challenge of even trying to be that.
The remedy prescription for Imposter Syndrome is Confidence. Not faking it, but knowing you will know or you will learn what you need to. Knowing yourself, being content with who you are and defining what you stand for and against. You see………
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Confidence is a fluctuating state of being that is challenged with everything that comes your life. Your level of confidence is influenced by your level of skill, knowledge and experience in a specific situation. Therefore at each point in time, what you are truly experiencing is a transformation from not knowing to knowing which then increases levels of self confidence in your ability and capacity. The success you experience is a tipping point, dangerously addictive and rewarding. Overcoming any challenge especially self doubt is a realisation that things may not have gone the way you wanted them to and it is this fear that we fear, and so we avoid.
As you become more competent, through practice and repetition, your confidence undoubtedly, grows. That old saying from your parents, ‘practice makes perfect’, does have a little merit yet as with most cliches there is another component of this sentence that’s been forgotten. ‘Give yourself time and be patient, you’ll get there.’ Now, there, is actually a place for you to decide. This permission granting phrase takes the pressure off getting it right the first time. To succeed we often have to fail. We have to learn how to do it better, more effectively, more efficiently. The biggest thing that influences your self confidence is the way you talk to yourself when you recall, recount and remember the experience.
“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A Edison.
Confidence is an optimistic view point, a knowing that you have not only the potential but the capacity to deliver. Believing you have the ability to close the deal, render the service and deliver the product to a standard that you are proud of. Success and failure are also temporary states. Things like time, money, productivity, budgets, deadlines and outcomes are influencing factors which you are not always in control of. But remaining confident is an attitude, as stated by Winston S Churchill, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
To find your limitless supply of confidence there are three key components that will stabilise your self belief and self worth and help you to remain positive and optimistic.
SELF CARE. SELF RESPECT. TRUSTING YOURSELF.
You can check out my blogs on these topics and check out the podcast with some through provoking interviews but ultimately the acts of kinds and compassion towards your self soothes the disappointment, sadness or perceived loss. Allow yourself time to know all you need to know but remember “You don’t know what you don’t know, but you do not there are things you don’t know. And when you know them, you will do better.”
By respecting your values and priorities, you are setting boundaries within relationships. You are creating a space for you to sustain commitments that engage your time and energy for your purpose.
Finally, trusting yourself is something that helps confidence to flourish exponentially.
A little after 27 years of life, I realised ‘The opinions of others are none of my business’ but they certainly impacted on who I thought I was. It wasn’t until I realised that their perspective was about serving their wants and needs, that I then lowered the importance of their opinion in my self talk.
“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” ― Herbert Bayard Swope
By trusting yourself (the little voice inside your head, the gut feeling) to do the right thing FOR YOU, you step through the fear of failure and build the confidence in your ability, capacity and potential.
Now, I’m sure many of you rely on the opinions, comments and feedback of others to help you have the confidence to try something new. Support and encouragement is an amazing gift that others can give, but ultimately being able to tap into your unlimited source of confidence is the key to a ‘knowing’ that recycles a positive energy, giving you more confidence to carry on.
In November 2018, I was so humbled to hangout with some amazing women at the Womens Weekly High Tea, who for the first time in their lives walked the runway of the Intimio and Sirens Swimwear Fashion Show. Yes, we were in our underwear and parading around in swimsuits in front of 7000 people. Now the courage these girls displayed was inspiring and after 11 shows over the 2 days, these women shared with me how vulnerable they felt showing off all their ‘real women curves, bumps, lumps and scars.’ At the beginning confidence levels were low, anxieties were high and self judgement filled the room.
The intensity of expectations by the organiser showed up as worry. The internal shame of our bodies became a fear. Despite practising the walk, turns and poses, all of us felt the self doubt creep in. Even humour, a typical coping strategy, didn’t help. That first walk onto the stage was like jumping out of an aeroplane, not knowing if our parachutes would open.
Yet it was the acceptance of the crowd that was reflected back to us in their wide kind eyes, beaming smiles and hardy applause that increased our levels of confidence. After the show we asked ourselves, How had we got to this age and still heavily rely on the approval of others to be who we wanted to be and do the things we want to do?
Had we been socially conditioned to doubt our own abilities?
After the show, hoards of women flocked to us with compliments and confessions of how our ‘bravery’ inspired them. It’s crazy that we thought others would be so ‘rude, aggressive and nasty’ to our face at what was clearly a vulnerable situation. What does that say about how we expect humans to treat others? I know it’s plastered all over the TV in reality shows and news, but I can count on one hand how many strangers and friends have been so cruel, as to intentionally unleash criticism upon me. And as I worked out the issue had nothing to do with me. But I do know that in those few moments there was pain, embarrassment and injections of soul crushing distortions about who I thought I was.
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
And, it seems, it is this people pleasing distortion that we spend our lives trying to avoid. Saying no to life changing experiences, saying yes to things we don’t really want to do or care about just to get approval. Justifying our choices with “I don’t want people to think bad things of me, I don’t want people bitching behind my back, I don’t want to be wrong or others judge me.” But what wisdom brings is that people who do that are not your people.
“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” ― Rita Mae Brown
Despite all our internal struggles, doing something new, different and outside your comfort zone will develop your confidence. Confidence is fragile, delicate and built on a language of success and approval. Having the confidence in yourself is like putting on your favourite jumper. It’s pure comfort and whilst people may tug at it, try to tear shreds of it or even dampen it with their hostile words, the warmth it provides is actually the heat coming from your own body – you create it.
What is something you have always wanted to try?
We all agreed that this experience was transformational. But it was the action of doing something new, diving in, feeling our way around and allowing others to support us in the belief it could be done, that made the difference.
So what does confidence look like?
“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Signs of confidence and healthy self-esteem include:
- Looking ahead and setting short and long range goals that are reasonable and attainable.
- Avoiding procrastination as a result of perfectionism, and the ability to push forward and accomplish tasks.
- Accepting one’s weaknesses and lack of skills and able to hear and benefit from constructive feedback and criticism.
- Bouncing back after setbacks, and moving forward with determination.
- Trusting one’s own ideas, perceptions, and opinions and having the courage to voice one’s feelings and beliefs.
- Making timely and well-considered or thoughtful decisions.
- Displaying good social skills and the ability to get along with others.
- Having a history of more successes than failures and striving to achieve goals in difficult times.
- Learning from past mistakes, rather than repeating them.
- Willing to take risks and cut one’s losses when failure seems inevitable.
- Being flexible and able to navigate change when necessary.
- Displaying positive, energetic, and assertive behavior.
- Being wiling to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things
- Complimenting others without expecting it in return.
- Waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments and not fishing for it.
- Accepting compliments graciously. “Thanks I really worked hard on that prospectus. It means a lot to me that you recognise my efforts.”
- It’s knowing and accepting that others may not have the capacity to acknowledge you due to their low levels of self confidence.
Do you govern your behaviour based on what other people think?
Do you stay in your comfort zone, fearing failure, and so avoiding risks?
Do you work hard to cover up mistakes and hope that you can fix them before anyone notices?
Do you extoll your own virtues to as many people as possible to prove your worthiness?
Do you dismiss compliments offhandedly – with ‘Oh it was nothing, anyone could have done it”
And if you do then try this……………..
The first is to prepare for your journey.
Look at what you have already achieved, write a list for the last 12 months and include everything, then go back 2, 5 and 10 years. WOW. Think about the strength you found during those trying times and reflect on the actions, behaviours and choices you made. Were you honest, truthful, transparent?
Now consider what is important to you. This reflects the values you hold in your heart and what makes your life worthwhile.
Next is being able to manage your emotions, clear the mind and define your beliefs. With Positive thinking and mediation, imagine you in the life you want, positive self talk and rational positive thinking replace the negative self talk that chips
away at your confidence. You need to be aware of when you are doing this, catch yourself out and change the story.
Now it’s time for commitment – committing to your own personal success is finding and accepting how you measure success. This powerful tool suddenly makes everyone else’s opinions, just that.
To build confidence, you will need to build on your knowledge and skills. This is gained through experience and putting yourself through it to learn the lessons.
Focus on what you are good and do not hold back what for things to be perfect.
Set the small goals, achieve them, create flow with habits and routines and celebrate the achievements along the way.
Mind Map your doubts, fears and negative self talk triggers and develop strategies so when you feel them pop in you have a way to shut them down.
Finally. Accellerate your success.
Start stretching yourself by increasing the size of your commitments, take on tougher challenges, dive deeper into new arenas. Stretching does not me taking it all on, Everyone has a capacity, and building the structure to support your success gives your more room to move around.
Sometimes being confident might just mean you are leading from the front or doing it on your own.
But as we have discovered it’s the certainty about handling something, such as work, family, social events, or relationships with courage and a sense of calm. Confidence is the state of being certain that a chosen course of action is the best for you.
For more strategies on confidence, check out my article on detattachment.