Moment of truth: I am NOT fearless. If we are honest, is anyone?
Recently, as I was prepping for a speaking engagement, a friend commented that she admired that I was ‘fearless’. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I have fear — and I do it anyway.
Everyone struggles with fear, uncertainty and lack of confidence at some point in their life—no matter how successful they are. Just because you have confidence in one area of your life doesn’t mean you have it in others.
I work almost exclusively with women entrepreneurs, and am often surprised at these incredibly high achievers admitting to ‘Imposter Syndrome’. I have met professional athletes, business moguls and motivational speakers who struggle with confidence.
It seems to be a ubiquitous phenomenon.
Nobody is born with limitless self-confidence. It is not an innate gift.
But, like most great things in life, confidence is a skill that can be practiced, honed and mastered. Improving your self-confidence can radically elevate your performance in every aspect of your life.
During my working partnership with the Confidence Coach himself, Dr. Ivan Joseph, we came up with the following Confidence-Building exercises. Give them a try and find out which ones work best for you:
1) Keep it positive/Believe in yourself
I have witnessed the radical transformation that occurs when women believe in themselves.
This does not mean donning rose-colored glasses or ignoring truths. Rather, positive
thinking focuses on interpreting things to our advantage. We all have choices in how we think about the situations we face. Our thoughts influence our beliefs, and our beliefs influence our actions: Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes.
2) Adopt The Mighty Growth Mindset.
Here is the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset:
Fixed: “I can’t do it”.
Growth: “I can’t do it yet”.
With a fixed mindset, you believe your qualities and talents are carved in stone, so critical feedback becomes “I don’t have what it takes.” With a growth mindset, you believe you can cultivate your qualities and talents through focus and effort.
3) Your Squad
Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. We don’t achieve the things that matter most on our own. As the saying goes, we can go faster alone, but we go further together.
We know that we are greatly influenced by the five people we spend the most time with. Not the five people we admire the most, but those most often in our company. Make sure that those five people support your personal and professional growth.
Pro Tip: Don’t pay attention to everyone. My rule of thumb is to only accept feedback from people doing ‘better’ than me, or people I would trade places with.
4) Knowing what to do with the negative voice in your head.
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brene Brown
We all have that negative voice in our heads. The one that fills you with self-doubt and insecurities, and reminds you of that time in Junior School when you called your teacher ‘Mom’.
I used to tell that voice to shush. I would try and try to shut it down and ignore it.
But then I realized that it is actually a friendly voice, coming from a place far back in evolution, that is trying to keep me safe. Our lizard brain says: keep doing the predictable things! You know they work! Don’t step outside of your comfort zone — that is where the saber tooths are!
Now, when the negative voice pipes up, I say “thank you, I appreciate your wisdom and caring”, and move on.
5) Celebrate the small successes.
We are often in a rush to move on to ‘the next thing’ and neglect celebrating today’s success.
It’s important to be intentional in savoring accomplishments.
Moments spent celebrating progress set us up mentally and emotionally for more wins throughout the day, so be sure to give them the attention they deserve.
6) Kaizen: 1% better
Biting off more than you can chew is a direct route to burn-out. Instead, try small chunks towards continuous improvement.
Have you heard of Kaizen?
Kaizen is the Japanese term for ‘continuous improvement’. Unlike the traditional Western mindset: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ the thinking behind Kaizen is essentially: ‘We need to constantly get better so that we can become and stay the best.’
7) Let go of perfection and focus on the process.
Perfection is NOT synonymous with excellence.
Infact, perfectionists tend to suffer from higher levels of stress than those who pursue excellence through goal setting. It may surprise you to hear that perfectionists don’t achieve better results, either. Perfection is often a compensation for feelings of inadequacy. By contrast, a focus on improvement builds skills and confidence at a healthy pace while producing better outcomes.