‘Without confidence you think you can’t and you prove yourself right.’ Henry Ford
As a life coach I work with people of all ages and backgrounds but the one phrase I hear over and over again is: ‘If only I were more confident I would be able to……….’
Many people believe that their lack of confidence is an inherent part of their ‘make-up’; that they were born this way and will never be able to change. However confidence is a learned state of behaviour and attitude resulting from all our individual life experiences and although you might think you can’t do anything about your own low self-confidence, if you are prepared to step out of your comfort zone and do what it takes, it IS possible to change.
Take Sally’s story. Sally was convinced she would never learn to drive. She’d had six lessons and panicked every time she made a mistake, making her less and less confident in her ability to master the skill. Sally was also an accomplished dressmaker and had the ability to rustle up amazing outfits from her own pattern designs, learning from her mistakes and improving her skills along the way. She knew, (with a bit of perseverance and faith in her abilities), that she would succeed in the end. By comparing her attitude and approach of learning how to make clothes with learning to drive, she was able to rationalise her feelings of inadequacy behind the steering wheel and her confidence improved.
As well as changing one’s attitude to being able to improve self-confidence levels, as with anything in life, practice makes perfect and it takes time to think and act in a different way. People like Sally will often undervalue what they are and overvalue what they are not and their self-perception is often very different from how others see them.
If you are prone to poor self-confidence, here are a few tips but do remember, it has taken a lifetime to become who you are, so don’t expect miracles to happen overnight!
- Make a list of all your personal successes and things that you are good at. This need not be big things -eg,’ I choose great presents for people’- but they must relate to you and not someone else.
- Ask three people who know you well to describe your strengths and qualities. When I ask clients to do this coaching exercise, they are often pleasantly surprised by the feedback!
- Keep a ‘feel good’ diary. Each day, write down something that has made you feel good. For example, making a crying baby smile in the supermarket queue.
- Develop yourself and learn something new. This may not be life-changing but it will certainly increase your self-confidence and your belief in your capabilities.
- Be true to yourself and set boundaries. Confident people value themselves and this includes respecting their own feelings. In contrast, people lacking in self-confidence often don’t think their voice should be heard or is important enough.
- Learn to say no. You should feel able to say no when something makes you feel compromised, exhausted, stressed or, most importantly, because you don’t want to do it.
- Deal with the fear. Fear plays a huge contributing factor to low self-confidence but fear is an attitude and you CAN change your attitude!
So what is your low self-confidence preventing you from doing? Why not find out how you can make the changes you want to see in your life during an initial FREE coaching session?