Confidence: The Oxford English Dictionary says it’s ‘A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.’
When did you last feel confident? Now? Earlier today? Yesterday? Last week? Last month?
Over the last 6 years I’ve worked with individuals, teams and organisations to help them to think creatively and develop their ideas to get better results. I’ve learned that regardless of role, seniority or sector, the two biggest things that stop people achieving the results they want, are lack of time to think and lack of confidence.
I do not believe that some people are born confident and others are not. I’ve noticed that people who are more confident deliberately work at maintaining their confidence.
Dips in confidence can affect both individuals and whole organisations. When the pressure is on it can be easy to lose our nerve to push forward with a new way of working, product or idea. I’ve noticed that lack of time and lack of confidence are connected. When we’re busy, stressed out, juggling many conflicting priorities our attention to detail can slow. We drop balls. The odd dropped ball doesn’t matter, but if several balls drop at once it can knock us back. That often knocks our confidence. And when we’re busy we don’t take time out from our packed schedule to regroup and put our confidence back on track.
In her TED TalkAngela Duckworth tells us about ‘grit’ – the ability to persevere in the face of setbacks. Her research shows that when it comes to achieving success, grit beats talent every time.
Whilst we know that we need to dust ourselves off and keep going, it can be much easier said than done.
Our setbacks are emotional. Whilst rationally we know we must pick ourselves up and keep going, we have to wait until our emotions catch up with our rational thought process. Only then can we move on. We need to allow ourselves time to do this. And if you are in any doubt about these two different thinking systems check out The Chimp Paradox.
Working on confidence can feel intangible but focusing on it is part of looking after ourselves along with eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. When we are taking time to look after ourselves it helps us keep our confidence in check. When we feel good we feel more self assured and more confident to tackle whatever situation working life throws at us.
If you’re keen to be more deliberate about building and maintaining your confidence here are my top three quick and practical tips. Do them daily.
Log your achievements. Get yourself a notebook or create an online file and log your achievements. Log them all, especially the small ones because they add up. Keep the good feedback you receive from other people; a thank you from a client, the well done good job email from a manager or the time your team went the extra mile for you. Write them down. Writing them down helps you to acknowledge them, which makes you feel good. In addition, seeing your achievements written down helps you realise how far you’ve come, the positive impact you have every day and how much you’ve achieved overall. Instead of your ‘to do’ list – it’s your ‘I did it’ list.
Call out Imposter Syndrome. The nagging voice that tells you you’re not good enough or are going to get found out is a thing. Its called Imposter Syndrome and 70% of people are affected at one time or another. When that little voice tells you that you’re not good enough and anything good that happens to you is luck – call it out. For example, I acknowledge that it’s happening and disconnect that annoying voice from the real me and tell it to pipe down. Your task is to find your own way to change the negative story that your inner critic is telling you. Look for evidence to deny the things that your inner critic is saying. For example, if you think that you’re a failure, ask yourself, “What evidence is there to support the thought that I’m a failure?” and “What evidence is there that doesn’t support the thought that I’m a failure?”
Build your troupe. This is your trusted network of friends and colleagues, the people you go to for help, the people you can talk though problems with, the people who help you to dust yourself off and keep going. You need people who listen, challenge and ultimately you trust are on your side, people who have your back. As well as building your troupe of people who build your confidence, disengage from the peoplewho put you down and shred your confidence.
Guest blog by: Lucy Gower. Lucy is the founder and director at Lucidity helping individuals, teams and organisations to think differently to get better results.
As Confidence is such a big deal Lucy is running a free webinar on 3 simple steps to build your confidence on Thursday 1 November at 12.30pm UK time (GMT). Last time it sold out. Places are limited to sign up today.