Last week I delivered some workshops on building confidence. This was a new area for me but it felt like an important subject to cover given that confidence is inextricably linked to our career success.
Of course there are many shades of self-confidence; it is not an overarching banner that defines us but a complex mosaic made up of many individual nuances. We can be abundant in confidence in some areas, yet completely lack it in others, and again that may depend on the how, when, why and with whom.
The following points are some of the areas we discussed.
Getting out of your Comfort Zone
The ‘comfort zone’ is the place where we feel psychologically safe. This is not a bad place to be but perhaps some of us stay there more than we’d care to admit. How many times have you been reluctant to do something because it makes you feel nervous or uncomfortable?
To take yourself outside of your comfort zone is to challenge yourself, to go beyond your previous experiences and discover the exhilaration of trying something new. Taking yourself out of the comfort zone gives the possibility you may fail, but once you have accepted that failure is a fundamental element of success, you may find yourself more willing to give things a go.
If the thought of stepping outside the familiar terrifies you, just take small steps towards your goal and be proud of your achievements. Changing your daily habits can be a proactive step to achieving something new – it may just be a small change, but repetition can create some beneficial habits. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, do what’s good for you; your journey is your own.
Letting go of the past
Who is responsible for your confidence?
We’ve all had people in our lives who have, consciously or unconsciously, dented our self-esteem – parents, teachers, managers, friends, partners. Taking full responsibility for yourself is a productive step towards building your confidence.
‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom’ – Aristotle
Understanding our inner world, our emotions and reactions and why we behave as we do is, perhaps, one of the most difficult endeavours of personal growth that we can undertake. But self-awareness is the cornerstone of success.
We all have a brilliantly unique combination of skills, strengths and values which guide us through our decision making. To utilize ourselves in a way that has complete congruity with our true selves is key element in finding a career path which is both fulfilling and rewarding. Think about the projects you have worked on which have been successful; which skills have you used, what are you good at and what do you enjoy? What are your strengths and values? When have you become so lost in an activity that you don’t notice the time pass? Under what conditions do you thrive? Being clear about our personal qualities is a key factor in self-confidence.
Calmness and Mindfulness/Meditation
Feeling mentally and physically calm can be extremely potent: walk slowly, calm your breath and speak slowly. Calmness means you have far greater control of any situation and can make more measured decisions. Mindfulness is a powerful meditative practice of keeping your attention in the present moment, being aware of your thoughts and the world around you.