You will have noticed much more uncertainty in the world at the moment. People are reacting in some very different ways and it can even feel like to world is undergoing a huge upheaval at the moment. How have you been feeling? Has it affected your confidence in the economy or even yet, in yourself? Has that drop in confidence made you feel even more uncertain?
As humans, we need certainty as it gives us peace of mind and we can relax. Confidence and certainty go hand in hand – we are attracted to people who are confident because they give us a sense of certainty.
However, you will have noticed that certainty is a commodity in short supply right now. If ever there was a time in history when confidence levels in people need a boost, it has got to be now. After months of uncertainty due to the impact of the coronavirus, confidence has taken a hit from world markets right down to our own personal confidence.
So what can you do to boost your confidence when the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket?
The first thing is to realise what is within your control and what is not. The only things we have control over are our thinking and how we respond or react to a situation. In other words, we have no control over what other people say or do or anything outside ourselves, we do have control over everything within like our feelings and the meanings we give to what someone might say or do.
Our thoughts create our emotions which then influence how our bodies respond, for example, when we have a thought that someone is following us, our emotional response is one of fear, adrenaline is released and our body’s response is to either fight or get the heck out of there.
The same can be said for confidence – or lack of it. When we have a TV diet of bad news, we can believe the world is unsafe and lose confidence in the economy or other people; when we constantly bombard our mind with negative thoughts or berate ourselves for making a mistake, we feel inadequate and our confidence in ourselves takes a hit.
However, when we are confident, when we tell ourselves ‘we’ve got this!’, we can achieve great things, we become more of who we truly ARE and can become a positive influence on those around us. This is what is within our control. As the late, great Norman Vincent Peale once said: ‘Change your thoughts and you change your world’.
So how do we become more confident in a world where uncertainty is the ‘new normal’?
Learn to Embrace Uncertainty
As I said before, we have no control over what is outside of ourselves. We want to live in a world where we know what we are doing, where we can hope for a predictable future and knowing that our world is ok, but that is not always the case. Life isn’t always certain – at any time, we could lose our job, a friend or family member could die, get sick or have a catastrophic accident. We have no control over these events.
When we begin to embrace uncertainty and trust ourselves , discover that we will be ok and that we have got what it takes to get through this, our confidence grows at a huge rate. Embracing uncertainty might not be comfortable at first but the feeling of confidence that it produces certainly does. One of the best ways to embrace uncertainty is to stretch yourself and step out of your comfort zone by taking a small risk each day; as you do so, you will notice that your confidence grows and the risks become bigger and more exciting.
Bring More Gratitude into Your Life
Gratitude is one of the higher energy emotions like love and compassion whereas fear, worry and anxiety reduce our energy level – think about how your body reacts when yo are feeling grateful and then when you are feeling fearful. Huge difference. Try doing Gratitude and Fear at the same time. You can’t do it. It is physically impossible.
So, how can you feel more confident by being grateful? When you think about all the things and people you can be grateful for, your body language changes and you enter a state of absolute appreciation and confidence naturally flows from this state.
In keeping a Gratitude Diary, you can help your mind focus on gratitude and confidence and the more you do this, the stronger you will become.
Change Your Thoughts and Your Language
Language is a powerful thing. Think about how you would talk to a friend or a small child – would you constantly tell them they were useless, tell them off when they make a mistake or tell them to give up if it all gets too hard? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d want to encourage them, talk to them kindly and help them to keep going. So why do we talk to ourselves this way?
You know yourself when you’ve done a great job, bask in the glow of that success. Tell yourself you are amazing and that you are an expert in your field and keep challenging yourself to make that true.
This is where Confident Affirmations can be used to over-ride the chatter of the head trash. The more you do them, and put action with them, the more you will start to believe that you are pretty amazing. Examples of these affirmations could include ‘I am confident, I trust myself and I find ways to challenge myself to make my confidence grow even more.’
Change Your Physiology
I’ve already told you about how our bodies respond to our thoughts and I also told you that you have control over your internal world, so when you notice your body slumping and you are feeling lacking in confidence, simply change your physiology. Stand tall, take full body breaths, if necessary get into a power pose where you put your shoulders back, chest out, legs slightly apart and hands on your hips. There is no way to feel anything else but confident when you are in a power stance.
This is probably the fastest way to change your state to one of confidence…..even if you aren’t feeling it inside (yet), you will project confidence and attract people to you. Remember, people are attracted to confidence because it meets their need for certainty.
Change Your Focus
‘What you focus on is what you get to the exclusion of everything else.’ I first learned this concept when I began my coaching career and it was a huge revelation for me. I hadn’t realised that we only see things from our own perspective which meant that there is so much more that we are NOT seeing, hearing and understanding. For me, I hadn’t realised that when I focussed on worry and fear, that I couldn’t possibly be confident and when I focussed on my own pain, I couldn’t see how I could help someone else in pain.
Shifting your focus isn’t always easy to do….you often can’t see what else to focus on. This is where having an affirmation of confidence or even a picture that reminds you of a time when you were confident, can create an ’anchor’ to confidence.
You were confident as a baby, you demanded what you needed, you expected it to be there, you took risks, you persisted in learning to walk and talk and you did not let thoughts of “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do this” stop you. These were learned behaviours which means they can be unlearned and you can retrieve the confidence that is within you – the confidence that always was and always will be.
In integrating these 5 tips into day, right now measure your level of confidence on a 5 point scale with 1 being very low and 5 being very confident, do this again in a month and notice how much you have risen on the score board. Keep growing and measuring and surprising yourself with what you are achieving. Lack of confidence will become a thing of the past. As your confidence grows, fear drops away and you will find the success you have been wanting, come knocking at your door. Are you ready for it?
Article written by Maureen Wise
Maureen Wise has over 30 years’ experience as an art and social sciences teacher. After seven years coaching women to gain more confidence and clarity whilst exploring or using their creativity, Maureen has created a unique coaching experience for her clients.
Maureen's focus on whole brain thinking (left brain analytics crossing over with right brain creativity and mindfulness), is the core of her Success Pathways and Wise HeART Studio programs.
Drawing on her love of learning and art to bring that unique style of coaching to her business, Maureen is an engaging speaker, a passionate author, mentor, teacher and facilitator.