Believe that one must be confident to achieve success? After all, it would appear that confident people seem to lead our world.
But each of these individuals would probably tell us that their road to success was not an easy one. That in order for them to achieve they've had to make themselves uncomfortable time and time again. High achievers push boundaries, understanding that little is ever gained if little is ventured.
The journey into uncharted waters is a scary thing, confidence waning because the map has yet to be drawn.
Finding yourself breaking new ground in a new role or responsibility? If so, you may be feeling uncomfortable and uncertain, and your self-confidence on the low side.
But perk up. All is not lost - in fact, these emotions may be a sign that you're exactly where you should be!
Follow these 6 techniques to focus yourself, boost your confidence and create an amazing experience from your current opportunity...
1. Remember that you're one of a select few
For most highly successful individuals, it's their willingness to journey to places that others shy away from that sets them apart. That creates the foundation for their success.
It's precisely because of the discomfort you now feel that few people ever take the plunge, yet here you are, making it happen! An opportunity leveraged.
So start this process by acknowledging and applauding this step you've taken. The very fact you've come this far has already placed you in elite company, and others will be noticing.
Know that, in time, you will not only be reflecting on your successes that follow from this crisis of confidence - from this sea of discomfort - but also be more enriched because of your experiences.
2. Check your thinking
The biggest threat - and boost - to confidence is one's own thinking. Thoughts manifest in your actions, and these actions dictate your path. Make sure the thoughts you allow to form and take flight are ones that will ultimately drive you forward.
Consistently high-achieving people get this before all else. They choose to find the positive in situations and are quick to recognize when their thinking is turning inwards and becoming self-limiting.
If you're confidence is taking a hit, take a hard look at your current thought patterns. Are they: Pulling you down? Criticizing you and others? Admonishing you? Telling you you're not capable?
Recognizing that these thoughts are bubbling up is the most important step to becoming more confident. Until you see these for what they are, you will be forever under their control. Take control back by recognizing them and then letting them go.
Personally, I find taking time to focus on my breathing helps me. I visualize sitting beside a flowing stream, inhaling positive energy, and on the exhale casting any negative thoughts into the current to be carried away.
Develop a process or visual that works for you to rid yourself of these self-limiting thoughts before they create their own patterns. Remember, your thoughts are your decision - no one else's.
3. Reflect on the positive
You haven't arrived at your current level of success without having significant strengths and abilities. In fact, you will have had past successes that occurred precisely because of these strengths.
Reflect on those past successes, and those times when you felt particularly confident. What circumstances or opportunities brought you there, that placed you in that feeling of flow? What abilities did you rely on that had served you well?
Build a mental or, even better, a written inventory of these positive elements. This can be immensely reassuring. Likely, you've been where you are now at some point in the past and, not only survived the journey, but came out the other end more successful and more resilient and confident than ever.
By the way, creating time out for reflection is highly recommended (as I've written about before). We allow ourselves to be swept along in a crazy world and controlled by our emotional response to it. A reflection practice puts the brakes on this emotional roller-coaster and allows you an opportunity to take control back.
4. Clarify your "Big Ideal"
Do you have a clear overarching vision that guides you forward in your career, or your life? A vision that appeals to your deepest drivers - your values and aspirations?
This is what I call my "Big Ideal". It's really a major goal or intention that transcends all others.
Why is this important?
When our confidence is suffering , it's often because we're viewing things too closely. What we're experiencing now - especially if it's accompanied by discomfort of some kind - becomes the centre of our world if we allow it.
This hyper-focus on the small picture allows it to become over-inflated and we lose perspective. A meaningful, big-picture goal or vision in critical to keep perspective in these situations.
You can be assured that an Olympic athlete achieves his or her level of success because they have a clear Big Ideal for which they strive. When their confidence or commitment falters, this blip in time is superimposed upon the backdrop of their vision of ultimate achievement.
What is your Big Ideal? Is it clear? Is it powerful?
Ask yourself these questions and, if you come up short, take some time to reflect on this. Likely, that big goal is there but perhaps just needs some TLC to sharpen it up.
5. Take action, incrementally
Action begets confidence. The most potent means of becoming more confident is simply doing.
This doesn't mean that you plunge headfirst into the most terrifying prospect before you. But it can be immensely empowering to choose one thing that you've been avoiding and building action there.
Often with my coaching clients, when confidence is at the heart of the matter, I have found that the issue is sometimes how things are being viewed. Breaking the issue down to its incremental, component parts offers up opportunity for forward movement.
List out those commitments or responsibilities you've been avoiding and prioritize them. Which ones seem less daunting. There will be some. Start there by committing yourself to action on these. Start now. As you gain traction on these, you quickly become more confident in your abilities, decisions and progress!
6. Ditch the confidence-busting assumptions
We all make assumptions. The problem is, when our emotions become triggered assumptions can quickly start to look like facts, and this is dangerous.
Take a hard look at your assumptions. About yourself and others. About how you feel others may be viewing you. If you think these are facts, best think again.
How much is your current confidence level dictated by these assumptions and the emotions they produce? For example, perhaps you feel that your boss or someone else has a certain negative view or judgment of you. How much of this is fact? How do you know?
In his book "The Four Agreements", Don Miguel Ruiz states, "All the sadness and drama you have lived in life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally."
Push back on any assumptions you're making. Be honest with yourself. As Ruiz says, you're asking for trouble if you live based on assumptions. Assumptions can and will lay waste to your confidence if you allow them.
It's often assumed that only naturally confident people reach the greatest heights of success, however, high achievers have reached their level of success because they have built their confidence by facing challenges head-on.
Confidence wavering because you find yourself in uncharted territory? Take heart. You have it within you to grasp the reigns and take control back. Find the success you want through building your confidence levels to new heights!
Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!
Glenn Case is a Leadership, Executive and Team Coach in Vancouver, Canada.