Recently I came across a wonderful quotation by an unknown author, that read “Self-confidence is a super power. Once you start believing in yourself, magic starts happening”. It got me thinking.
How many times in our lives, have we missed out on an opportunity because of a lack of self-belief? How many times have we given up before we have even started? And how many times have we discouraged others to try because we think it’s too risky?
If we are really honest, I am sure we can all think of plenty of examples when we missed out on exciting adventures and wonderful opportunities. But have we ever stopped to think about the effect it can have on our confidence and self-esteem when we play safe or avoid trying new things?
We don’t start life this way. When a baby is born, we believe everything is possible. We automatically assume they will learn to walk and talk. We give them heaps of positive encouragement when they fall over so they will get up again and eventually get it right.
Somewhere along the way, we lose this wonderful sense of self-belief and optimism. But when do we stop believing? And when do we sow the seed of doubt and start putting obstacles in the way?
As a society, we are greatly influenced by praise and recognition, in the same way we are affected by criticism and rejection. We are often conditioned to believe we cannot do something. We stick with what we know, what we are good and thereby start to live within our comfort zones and avoid risks.
However, when we stop challenging ourselves - we stop learning. When we stop learning - we stop growing.
It is safe to say most people have yet to reach their potential. It has very little to do with intelligence, opportunity or resources. It is to do with a lack of self-belief and the result of the thoughts and actions we take.
It may be a fear of public speaking, the lack of confidence to apply for a new job, a disbelief we can learn a language, an apprehension to try a new sport or take on a challenge.
The good news is that we can rewire our brains to positively change our thoughts, actions and behaviour. We can unlearn what we have learnt, get rid of the negative thoughts and relearn new positive beliefs.
There are a number of steps we can take to increase our confidence and self-belief to achieve our goals:
- Fake it until you make – Change your mindset and body language by standing tall, walk with purpose and adopt a smile. You’ll feel stronger and positive - others will start to believe you too.
- Use positive language – focus on inspiring words rather than negative ones that will drain you, scare you or stop you. You will feel more confident and people will respond better.
- Positive affirmations – everyday use positive affirmations – it helps your mind be more receptive to change, deal with challenges and build confidence.
- Focus on positive people – talk to confident people, learn from them, study and mimic their behaviour.
- Focus on can do’s – Focus on the skills and resources you need to learn or obtain to overcome challenges
- Do something that will push you out of your comfort zone – Take a risk and do something you didn’t think possible. Set your deadline, tell others, sign up and commit to it.
- Visualisation – learn to create a mental image of you achieving goals. Let yourself see and feel the results.
- Break it down – avoid becoming overwhelmed, create realistic plans - break down the steps at each stage
- Shut it down – every time you can feel yourself becoming negative, breath, exercise, take a walk, think of something positive or use other relaxing techniques to reduce the anxiety.