Achievement and confidence do not always go hand in hand. We are told that success means believing in ourselves. Hearing that, in true achiever fashion, we try to force positive thoughts into a resistant brain. If I tell myself I'm competent, smart and beautiful, the belief will follow. What if it doesn't? I'm left with failure: I've failed to believe in myself.
What do the confident people know?
- They know the difference between real confidence and a mirage. Not knowing does not equal failure, it equals willingness to learn. Look around at the confident people you know. Achievers are risk takers. They put themselves into situations where they do not already know the terrain. At the start that means faking it til they make it. Faking it, that is, with a certain belief: I'll either succeed or I'll learn something. That's how they grow. Make a decision first then learn through doing. Don't pretend you know. Real confidence grows.
- They are open to the value behind negative thoughts. A woman (I'll call her Sylvia) struggles to lose weight. Before children she was a corporate middle manager with fabulous outfits. Now buried in child care she wears sweats and a lumpy middle to my office. She is desparate to get back that old self. One day I asked her to play the roles of two warring internal parts. We called them Rebel and Slave Driver. Rebel had binged on a bag of chocolates. Slave Driver was horrified, disgusted. I consulted Rebel, knowing each part of our personality serves a legitimate purpose. Rebel said her job was to get spontaneity back into Sylvia's life of drudgery. If Slave Driver were the only part, Sylvia's life would be unlivable. Suddenly Sylvia saw the wisdom in her own sabotage. Both parts wanted the same thing, a vibrant life. The heat went out of the fight. It was time to seek balance.
- They cultivate connections. Confidence does not mean flying solo. In the 1950s, Madmen years, a powerful person was the one who knew the most and shared knowledge the way a miser dispenses coins. Now the workplace keyword is collaboration. We accomplish more when we seek ideas and expertise from others. The same applies to family life. Raising a teen requires the skill of getting buy. Confidence arises out of the network, not out of what you already know. Keep reading...
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