Words that give you confidence
One of the things that affects our confidence level, or any other feeling for that matter, is our language or how we speak to ourselves and others about our experience.
If I say to you, ‘This building confidence thing (or this sorting out your relationship or career or business)… it’s going to be a problem.’ How do you feel?
How does that feeling change if I say, ‘This building confidence thing (or this sorting out your relationship or career or business)… it’s going to be a challenge’?
And what about if I say, ‘This building confidence thing (or this sorting out your relationships or career)… it’s going to be an adventure.’ How do you feel, now?
I’ve found that most people feel more positive about tackling the issues when they call it a challenge or an adventure.
The word challenge makes them feel like they’re willing to roll up their sleeves and overcome a problem. Although some people feel cynical about the word, seeing it as a politically correct way of describing a problem.
Adventure often conjures up fun, the thrill of not knowing what’s round the corner, exploration and, often, nice surprises. When we feel a lack of confidence, we want certainty that things will turn out well and that we won't make a mistake. By tapping into our love of adventure, it's easier to make curiosity and discovery more important than our need for certainty.
However, a significant number feel more confident about challenge than adventure. Adventure, for some people suggests too much that’s unknown and unpredictable.
So, basically, I’d encourage you to use whatever language helps you to feel most resourceful, positive and confident, when you’re talking about a future task, project, experience, conversation or goal.
You also need to think about this when you are trying to lead, empower or parent others.
I remember when a manager who proudly told me, “And I was frank with my team. I said that we’ve just got to grind through the next three months.”
I smiled as he reflected and said, “Okay, that probably wasn’t the most confidence building and motivating thing I could have said to them.”
He was probably right.
But… we do need to take into account our audience… and… remember the platinum rule, ‘treat others as they would like to be treated.’
For instance, I remember watching a film called Sister Act. Whoopi Goldberg was playing a character tasked with empowering a group of nuns to sing melodiously as a choir. Whoopi’s character perceptively said to one nun whose leadership position was being usurped that she’d need the nun’s help to work the choir hard. As this nun was motivated by duty, hard work and difficulty, she was on board immediately and suddenly very resourceful, confident and enthusiastic!
What’s your next step to becoming more positive, confident and successful in your personal, business and career?
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About Madeleine Morgan
Madeleine Morgan, Cambridge-based confidence coach, leadership coach, business coach and life coach.