Self confidence – a function of knowing what you are doing, knowing that you are good at doing it, and knowing the task will be successful. It’s in your own knowing that you will succeed.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
Recently I wrote about Self Esteem; it has much in common with Self Confidence, but there are significant differences.
Self Esteem is feeling good about you.
Self Confidence is feeling good about your ability to perform in a given situation and knowing you can handle it.
I once gave a talk to a large group and a question around Self Confidence came up. When asked how it was I could talk so easily in front of so many people, my reply caused a ripple of laughter. I said “If you were the nursing mothers association, and I was giving a talk on breast feeding, I wouldn’t feel quite so confident!”
When you look at it, I’d have been talking on a subject I knew next to nothing about, to a group of people who were the acknowledged experts. Both of these are key areas of potential failure – failing because I knew so little, and then being called out by people who knew so much.
Did I have a self confidence problem because I knew I’d fail if I was talking to a Nursing Mothers group? No, not at all, because I knew I was already good at what I did when in my chosen environment. I had a confidence benchmark, because I already knew I could speak confidently on my own topics. It’s not my place to lecture people in their areas of specialty.
“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” ― Coco Chanel, Believing in Ourselves: The Wisdom of Women
From there, we can look at how to gain self confidence. How do you develop self confidence?
Firstly, look for what you are good at. Doesn’t need to be a major skill set, start small, regardless of whether you are actually a master at something. Can you tie your shoelaces? OK. Can you tie them in a perfectly even bow? Great.
Look at what you have just said about yourself. You have manual dexterity and an eye for detail. Where else can you apply those skill sets?
This is the beauty of understanding yourself and getting a little tutoring in self development – your lessons teach you that being good in one area automatically means you are good at other things too – you don’t need to go try everything out to learn that! You can be CONFIDENT about it, without ever doing it!
The key to self confidence: because you can do one thing well, it means you can also do other things well! Your skills and abilities are transferable between tasks and challenges.
I hear the Nay-Sayers: “But there are things I am hopeless at! Can’t I feel bad about not being good at something?”
That’s your choice, but I’m not going there. You see, there are things I’m hopeless at too. Keep me away from a filing cabinet – you don’t want me filing for you! Not my skillset. I could lose every important document you ever had in quick time. But I wouldn’t feel bad about it; because I know it’s not my thing. I have a filing system arranged for me here, and instructions on what to do with it. The main file I use is called, wait for it: DATA ENTRY REQUIRED! And not by me! My self confidence doesn’t get dented just because I know I can’t file papers. Other people can, so they do it. I don’t. It’s that simple! I am no rocket scientist and that doesn’t concern me either. Nor am I a botanist, although I love looking at flowers. I just look; it’s close enough and safer for the plants.
See the emerging picture? Leave the things alone that you don’t have to do, or are not good at. Find someone who can handle what you can’t. But pour your heart and soul into what you can do well and feel great about it. Another secret to self confidence, let the good feelings about what you do well, the self confidence feelings, overflow into the rest of your life!
Here is a classic example of a downward spiral in self confidence.
Billy is at work and messes up a contract.
The boss bawls him out over it and the whole of the office hears it. The people he supervises now wonder about him and he feels their eyes boring into him. The end of the day comes and he escapes to the sanctuary of home, where he reluctantly tells his wife about his humiliation. She is all comforting and makes him a nice dinner, then they put the kids to bed and she says “Come to bed and make love with me….!”
Up to that point, he was starting to recover, but now, he has to perform again and his mind suddenly goes back to the session with the boss, and he has already been humiliated once today, over his work performance! He pours himself another drink and decides to watch TV instead. One humiliation a day is enough for our Billy! Bad move, Billy!
Self confidence can spiral both ways.
Billy could have thought about all the things he was good at, and perhaps considered that his boss was also having a bad day and that was why the loud voices, rather than the regular quiet discussion over the contract. He could have decided that one mistake doesn’t a failure make, told his wife about it and celebrated with her that he was thinking of a way to regain that contract next day. After an evening of loving and nurturing with his wife, and a great sleep afterwards, he could go into work next day with enthusiasm and inspiration to pick up the phone and win that contract back…
The lesson from this is that our attitude and the self development environment we create around ourselves plays a huge part in our self confidence. If we choose to be in an environment where goals are set each day, where our achievements are celebrated every day, where positive self talk is the norm, and where we review and reflect on our day every evening with a view to setting up tomorrow for success also, then an occasional flop is only going to create a great campfire story, rather than a downward spiral into depression. Creating this type of environment is actually a choice you can make at any time. If you choose not to surround yourself with positivity and celebrations of your successes, what ARE you choosing as your environment?
If your self confidence is important to you, then creating an environment that fosters self confidence is critical for you.
How do you create such an environment, which builds and multiplies your self confidence?
Check out this page on Success Habits and perhaps the recent blogs on Self Esteem and Self Development Tips. They will show you the way to a whole new world to live in, one where you get to be King or Queen – which ever you choose!
Til next time, fair winds and full sails!
- Self Esteem (lifechange90.wordpress.com)