Let’s talk about common misconceptions of self-confidence and learn what it is and is it possible to attain it at all.
So, I got a text recently from a dear friend who sent me a screenshot of an email she recently received from a recruiter inviting her for an interview.
I immediately congratulated her and wished her a good luck. The next thing she texted me sank my heart a little. “What congratulations? I’m not going to get it….”
In the time I got to know her she has always been meticulous in her job, achieved so many academic and professional milestones, never missed a deadline and delivered a quality work. And yet her self-doubt and imposter syndrome have been keeping her in a place which didn’t make her happy.
All the other stories I hear from amazing ladies across the globe sound quite similar to me. Today another client was asking me advice on several options of her career advancement and self-development. I was suggesting her how to get a job in a desired place. She immediately responded to me saying that all those people who apply for those kinds of jobs are very experienced.
I asked her how she knew that and whether she met or spoke with any of those people?! And what makes her think that she has less experience and knowledge than any of those mysteriously amazing people?! We ended up having a long discussion.
Don’t reduce your destiny thinking some unknown people out there are better than you for the job! You are as good as any of them. If they can do it, you can do it! Instead of giving so much confidence and trust to those people who you’ve never met, who may not even exist, give that level of confidence to yourself.
Instead of saying: ‘I can’t do it’, say “I too can do it’, instead of saying: ‘others are better, smarter, more confident, more experienced’, say: ‘I too can be the best version of myself, I too can get to the place where they are, ‘I’m too gaining all the necessary experience and growing my mindset’.
Change the narrative in your head, change the words from negative to positive, and not a lala land positive, but action oriented, highly inspired, well planned positivity. Read my post on positivity here if you need some tips.
Remember, confidence comes from knowing who you are, remembering what is important for you in life, connecting with your inner world instead of blocking it and distracting yourself. Your values give you confidence, your hard work and small accomplishments can serve you as a proof that you are able bodied and able minded person. You just need to give yourself that attention you give to other successful people, if you could live one day in their shoes, you would know that what the outside world sees is not pure success filled with smooth and painless endeavours.
Remember, no one possesses confidence every single moment of every single day. In fact, if you ask the most confident and daring people, they will tell you how they question every decision they make, think through their every step million times, plan and re-plan things all the time. There is no failure proof action out there, everyone is bound to make small or big mistakes, sometimes losses and failure can be so painful and paralysing, but only those who can live through those moments, stay resilient and pick themselves up every time when they fall, can get to see the face of success. Confident people are not successful because they never failed or did any mistakes, but because they failed more than anyone else around them.
Once you realise how it works, it will not be that difficult to get into that mindset. But in order to shift that mind, you need to practice self-awareness and accept who you are and where you stand in your life with compassion. If a friend comes to you all beaten up with failure or heartbreak, would you ever say things like “you messed it up”, “you can’t do anything right”, “you are not good enough”? No, you wouldn’t. You would show compassion, support and reassurance to them, and give them all the help they might need. So, why don’t you do the same for yourself?!
At the end of the day, only you can change your situation. Other people can only support you, encourage you and be there for you at best. But if you don’t choose to act, you still will be in the same situation. Do yourself a huge favour and decide what kind of life you want to have for yourself.
Here are some actions you can take to start building confidence:
- Take a break from a social media for a day, week or as long as you can. See if it helps with your thoughts of comparing yourself with others. That can help you create some room for your own thoughts about what is happening in your own life. Glossy pages never helped anyone feel better about themselves. Strangely enough, even when we know that most of those social media photos are fake, polished, and filtered so much than it is what it looks like in real life, we still continue self-bashing with comparison. Acted out frozen moments in the pictures cannot show you the whole life and tell you their stories.
2. Walk in the nature, fresh air will boost your mood, but most importantly you will connect with the world and see that you are not a singular being detached from the world, but the opposite. That you are an equal part of this world and can equally access the good experiences life can offer. When you connect with nature, you can find inner peace and see the harmony of the world in one piece. That can give you the sense of belonging and a personal space to hold.
3. Reconnect with your values, find out what is important for you. You might be fearful of other people’s judgement, but no one can actually tell you or know better than you what is important for you. In times of anxiety and stress from the uncomfortable situations, connecting to your core values can help you ground yourself and take the right course of action, which then will turn into confidence.
4. Find out what type of support works for you. Some people like sharing and advising with close friends and family, and some people like to keep their plans to themselves until they are sure and ready to share. I for instance share my intentions with handful of people who can just listen to me and ask me right questions which then put me to the right direction. However, I don’t involve people in decision making process, because I like to choose the actions which work for me, and if they don’t, I still want to live through them, so I learn something from my mistakes. So, if you like to share and consult with your circle, then choose the right people who won’t preach, or jump into telling you what you should be doing, or worse, projecting their own fears and insecurities. Choose someone who can give you solid, objective opinion and can help you plan your steps.
It takes a lot of courage and resilience not to fall into the pressure of the other people’s expectations. You don’t wake up to a big and full confidence, it is often the small decisions you take to take control over parts of your life build your confidence. My secret weapon is to say ‘NO’ to things which don’t suit me. I find people pleasing ungratifying, long, and exhausting act. It also somehow takes the power off your hand and makes you forget about your own needs. Being able to say no each time to situations which make you uncomfortable is very empowering. As long as it is polite and true to your core values, people won’t get offended, and you will end up gaining extra ‘ounce’ of confidence.