Many of us want to be more confident. We’d love to have the confidence to go for that new job, take on a big project, or start that business we’ve been dreaming about. There are many things that can stop us, and at the heart of most those things, is fear.
Fear is a contraction.
Fear wants you to stay stuck. It wants you to think about all of your mistakes, the skills you don’t think you have, all of the reasons your ego tells you shouldn’t take the next right step. Fear wants to strip you of any self-confidence you have, because it knows you can’t move forward without it. Fear wants to take away your faith in your own power, and in any higher power you are connected to. Fear wants to keep you firmly grounded, because it secretly knows (but doesn’t want you to know), your true self is powerful beyond measure. And fear is terrified of your potential power.
The antidote to fear is action.
Once you move forward, proceed and engage, fear loses its grip on you. It tries really hard to hold on, grasping and clutching at you as you start to shift. You get a little slippery as you fidget a little, settling into the possibility that yes, you are going to take that step. What do you need to take that step? You need courage. Courage moves you out of a paralysed fear state, into action. And it’s action that builds your confidence more than anything else.
We build our confidence by taking small steps consistently that move us toward the best version of ourselves. That inch us closer to what we know to be true, not what we worry others will think. Steps that help us move into our power. And we need courage to get ourselves into gear.
Here are some steps you can take to support your confidence journey.
Identify your triggers
What are the situations that suck the confidence right out of you?
Is it speaking up in a meeting filled with your peers? Perhaps it’s giving a presentation in front of your boss, or your boss’s boss. Maybe it’s being unprepared in a project review. Not having all the facts on hand for a client.
Some women, for example, are full of confidence at work, but when they drop their kid off at the school gate, the other mum’s are enough to drain all of their confidence and make them feel unsure of themselves.
It can be anything. But most of us have a few main triggers that impact us more than anything else.
Work out what they are, and how to counter them.
Not confident giving a presentation? Work with someone to improve your mindset and skills.
Being unprepared? Schedule time in advance so you have space to get up to speed.
Afraid of speaking in front of your peers? Work out what sits under that fear so you can address it.
Triggers are small things that cause major havoc. Start there. You may need to tap into your courage to look at what’s really going on.
Catch your stories
We all have stories. You may not have noticed, but there’s a constant stream of chatter in your head.
And here’s a revolutionary truth that can change your life. Not only is that voice not you, it’s also not speaking the truth, and it’s undermining your success and your happiness.
Start becoming aware of the voice inside your head, and identify and catch the stories being narrated. You might find this challenging. Or you might know exactly what I’m talking about.
It can take courage to get real with yourself and really listen to your internal narrative, but you can do it.
First, start to tune in and observe what it’s saying throughout your day. You may be mildly horrified. Observe. Be the witness. Don’t judge. Just catch the stories. And know that this is critical for your confidence journey, so it’s worth spending time and energy on.
Flex your courage in meaningful ways
Think about your life or career for a moment. If there was one thing you really wanted to do, what would it be? If you knew you could take one courageous step toward that goal, what would your next right action be? Write out a list of 10 small steps — actions that will move you forward. When we really want something, can identify the stories that are keeping us stuck, and commit to taking one small courageous step, those actions are enough to build our confidence and propel us forward. Try it and see.
It’s what we do every day, not what we do sometimes, that matters and changes our lives. Really get to know yourself, your triggers, your stories and what lifts you up. And know that it’s the small things done with courage, consistently, that will make all the difference.