Why being confident will be the X factor of 2010
11th January, 2010
Written by: Nicol Chaplin, Executive and Career Coach
Believing in your abilities and having the confidence to try out new things has never been more important.
There are so many ways our confidence is being undermined on a daily basis - and for any number of reasons. Who doesn’t know of a friend or family member who has lost their job, or is at risk in the next round of cutbacks? And if you are still in a job, chances are that you’re being asked to do the work of colleagues who were not so lucky. If you are leaving school or college there are no jobs to be had. Small business owners have to work harder and longer hours just to keep their heads above water. Your house may be worth less than you paid for it, which seriously challenges your future financial plans. And on top of all this there is the endless flow of bad news from the media around the clock, with promises of even more public service cutbacks, tax rises, job losses, high energy prices and years of austerity.
It’s no wonder that many of us don’t feel optimistic at the moment: confidence levels are right down. However, with real challenges to be faced, we have a choice. We can bury our heads in the sand, or make changes to our lives. And the key to successful change is self-belief... you need to be CONFIDENT.
So, what’s the best way to get the negative messages and thoughts out of your head and boost your flagging confidence levels? One of Henry Ford’s most compelling observations was ‘whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right’. However confident (or not) you feel right now, you need to actively find ways to believe that you can succeed. Everybody wants something different in life; some want to get a first job or a new job, others want to make their current job more enjoyable but don’t know how, whilst others want to strike out in a totally new direction. Only a vote of confidence in yourself can stop you taking the easy ‘do nothing’ path, characterised by negative thinking such as “this is an impossible time to make a change” or “if I don’t try, I can’t fail”.
Taking the first step is crucial. As coaches, we meet people with a whole range of issues, but nine times out of ten, they don’t know how to move forward; they feel stuck within their situation. We find that “being stuck” and low confidence levels usually go hand in hand. It is so much easier to make a plan to move forward once you believe in your own abilities. This is a question of rediscovering a natural strength: everyone is born confident. Just ask any new mother if their baby lacks confidence and they will tell you that their newborn has no problems whatsoever in letting them know what they want - in the most self-assured manner!
However, over the years we all get knocked around by life’s challenges and some of us lose that initial confidence. A coach can help them rediscover it and build a mindset and the self-belief which enables them to do the things they really want to do.
How? We use a number of tools and techniques to boost confidence; it isn’t a case of one size fits all. However, there are three golden rules behind turning inaction into progress.
The first is to focus on what you want. It’s no good saying “I just want more confidence,” you have to be specific about what you need it for. For instance saying “I want the confidence to apply for a new job” immediately provides a purpose. The second rule is you must take action, however small. It is only by doing something different that you will see and experience progress and this in turn will boost your confidence. Just thinking about it isn’t enough.
Finally, you need to keep working at it. You wouldn’t expect to be an expert driver with just one lesson; you have to keep practising in order for it to come naturally. It’s the same with your confidence. You have to keep working at it, making it the X factor which helps you overcome life’s challenges - so that you can make those all-important, life-enhancing changes.
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