“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
It may seem strange to many of us and also to people who have retired, or about to retire, that we need to be reminded about becoming more self-confident. However as we make changes in our lives we often find ourselves in situations we have not encountered before – being home alone for the first time, looking at new work opportunities, starting a course, or making other plans.
We are more likely to succeed in what we do, either in our personal or professional lives, if we are more confident. This month I would like to talk about some strategies to help us develop the level of confidence that we need to succeed and to perform at our best in all areas of our lives.
- Engage in positive self-talk – negative thoughts can sabotage our success if we let them. Mostly the negative thoughts we may have about what may happen and why we should not do something, never actually happen. So how do we prevent those negative, doubtful thoughts from shaking our confidence?
Firstly we can practice listening to those little voices inside our heads- the ones that may say, “I can’t do this,” “I’m not ready,” “What if it goes wrong?” When we catch ourselves saying these, stop and realise that we don’t have to accept them or cling to them. Then, replace them with positive and optimistic thoughts, such as, “I am capable and ready for this,” or “I can handle whatever comes my way!”
- Don’t strive for perfection –It is very difficult to come across as confident if we are terrified of making a mistake, saying the wrong thing, or embarrassing ourselves in some way. I am a keen Toastmaster and used to rehearse my speeches so that I had them word perfect.
I made a huge turning point in speechmaking when I realised that people prefer “authentic” to “perfect.” In fact, we often develop greater rapport with people when we make a little mistake. We are seen as being more human, someone who they can relate to, and as someone who is comfortable enough to be themselves.
- Find a way to get grounded – before we begin the day, before we meet someone, or before we stand up to give that presentation, it is good to take a few moments to collect our thoughts, to get present, to filter out any random and distracting thoughts and focus on the task at hand. If we find our own way to do that, we will carry ourselves with confidence and power.
- Believe in ourselves – when we like and believe in ourselves, we allow others to do the same. We let other people know how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. It is important not to see this as being vain or arrogant. It is about having a great respect for ourselves and being grateful for who we are, and what we say and do.
- Create a “pick me up” file – sometimes our minds drift off to remember and focus on our failures and shortcomings. It’s now common knowledge that if we remember 10 things and 8 of them are about what we have done well, we will still remember and dwell on the other two! Then every time we have those negative thoughts, our confidence dips again. We can begin to change this pattern by retraining our memory.
One idea is to have a “pick me up” file, a place where we keep reminders of our successes, triumphs and notes of praise. We can add thank you notes and notes of praise and appreciation from family, friends, work colleagues, clients, etc. It is also important to take time to celebrate what you do well because sometimes we are too busy to do that and want to move on to the next thing. Remember to visit this ‘file’ often and especially before our “big” days and events.
Nurturing our self-confidence is an ongoing process and it is a good idea to visit these ideas regularly. The more we practice, the faster we will be able to get out of the slump.
What is your own way of building your self-confidence? Would you like to share it with other “Revivers”?
“Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others … Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” Katherine Mansfield
By Ron Trustin
Motivating baby boomers to see the world with fresh eyes.