Confidence is a funny one isn’t it?!
Most people see it as a trait that they either have or don’t have, but it’s so much more than that.
YOU’RE BORN WITH IT…
There’s a great many things we can learn from babies, they don’t judge others, they are born with this in-built belief that they can do whatever they want and be whoever they choose…they don’t worry about whether their bottoms look big in any particular nappy or whether they wee on you when you’re doing them a favour (not that I’m saying that’s something we should aspire to), what I’m saying is that they have this in-built confidence that knows no bounds until they start getting older and their beliefs, dreams and thoughts start to become censored and limited by others around them.
We learn to lock some confidences away.
For some, their confidence is stripped away earlier on in life, some are lucky to carry it and build on it as they mature.
How many times have you been to a wedding and see kids zipping around on the dancefloor by themselves without a care in the World? Or watch enviously as they splash about in puddles, laughing uncontrollably and not caring one little bit that they are drenched through and their hair is plastered to their head?
It’s rare we see adults behaving like that – even if they really want to! And who doesn’t want to jump in that puddle and laugh til it hurts?
But at some age, for some reason, that stops for most of us.
We become more concerned with how we look to others, what others think of us; how we look, how we act, how we speak – all these judgements and labels raining down on us.
THE SCIENCE BIT
If we want to get all ‘sciencey’, it’s just called “projecting”.
In its simplest form that means we take what we think and project it into the minds of others – imagining that it is what they are thinking (when really it’s just what we are thinking).
Some people who feel they are not good enough will often project their own thoughts and judgements into the minds of others and think that others are thinking…
“Look at her in that dress…”
“Who does he think he is…”
“She’s so shy…”
“He’s not very clever is he…”
They think others are taking in their flaws when, really, it is just their own thinking being projected into the minds of others
(psssst…reality check here; these other people are actually too bothered about their own projections to really take that much notice when you tripped over a chair walking into the meeting!).
REBUILDING LOST CONFIDENCE
Confidence isn’t an innate, fixed characteristic. It’s an ability that can be acquired and improved over time.
Social confidence can be developed by practicing in social settings. Take some time to observe the structure and flow of a conversation before jumping in, prepare questions or topics to discuss ahead of time.
Anxiety takes hold when you’re plagued by self-doubt, so putting yourself in and getting accustomed to a specific situation that you ‘fear’ can reassure you that nothing truly bad will happen. It’s gets easier with practice, I promise!
Outside of a social context, you can gain a sense of confidence from personal and professional accomplishments; set yourself goals and challenges on a regular basis. Meeting and exceeding these challenges reinforces the belief that you are competent and capable
A WORD OF CAUTION
There’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness and important that you strike the right balance. Too little confidence can prevent you from taking risks, seizing opportunities and living your best life.
Too much confidence can come off as cockiness, arrogance, or narcissism. Overestimating your abilities can also lead to problems such as failing to complete projects on time meaning you’re seen as unreliable, untrustworthy and dishonest.
Projecting confidence helps you gain credibility, make a strong first impression, helps you deal with pressure, and tackle personal and professional challenges.
It’s also an attractive trait; confidence helps put others at ease.
If our confidence has been stripped away then we seek, until we encounter someone who reminds us of what we can be. That someone, or those someones are confident people. You are either one or, if you’re reading this, then you’re on your way to become one.
I can help you reconnect with the confidence that you were born with to become unstoppable and I’ll leave you with the words of the late Walt Disney:
‘Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.’