Do you look and ask around when you're feeling low on confidence? Do others' suggestions or reassurances make the necessary difference? How about taking some thoughts from Wayne Dyer's Excuses Begone? He suggests we take what we read about the conscious and subconscious mind way too seriously. We use it to make excuses. It's time to move on from excuses to action.
What if we didn't need motivation when we found ourselves procrastinating? I've always liked positive thinking, but I had to read Burkeman in The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking to figure out his point of view. He said that many put off doing things 'till they feel motivated. Why not, he says, drop that practice and just do what they want to get accomplished! As practical as that sounds, we may need practice in not waiting for inspiration to strike. It's worth trying!
When I'm feeling overextended, antsy, or unclear about my next steps, I use my Coin Tracker system. When I complete even one step toward my goal, I take one coin from a small bowl on my desk and put it in my favorite ceramic container. I know at the end of the day I'll count the coins and write the number on my chart. That by itself would be my first step in how to be confident.
Since it's easier to tell ourselves what we should do, how about listing the reasons we want to be confident:
1) Wanting to be confident can be the sauce that makes the entree of a new endeavor more delectable.
*I'm revising my first book, Pleasures and Ponderings; From Nun to Nudist to Now by adding 2+ questions to each of the 77 essays, to make it more reader-oriented. Wanting to do more speaking, I'm seeking a title closer to Discovering Pleasure and Purpose in Every Endeavor. The right title will grab a meeting planner's attention for a keynote speaker gig.*
2) We feel more positive about ourselves when we look good in what we're doing, whether it's giving a talk, serving a fine meal, playing golf, leading a discussion, or whatever. So visualizing ourselves looking and acting like we want to be seen is a good step. An example is my putting on soothing Chinese music when I'm lying in bed and needing some assurance I will be able to afford a trip to China in the future. I have a strong belief I will go there, and I feel myself being there as I take in the music.
3) We want to be able to believe our goal is reachable. So make a list called "Things I've Already Done" toward your goal of _____. I've hired as my book publishing and speaking coach www.patricksnow.com. I'm on most Monday morning calls with Patrick, and learn something new every week. Each suggestion I follow can be added to the "Already Done" list. Review it each month and keep it current.
4) I'm taking a class at Landmark Worldwide on Being Extraordinary. I'm glad for the questions about what holds me back so I can moderate or modify some behaviors I'd like to change. I just got the idea to google "how to know what holds me back" and found some interesting articles to read later. Then I googled "how to be extraordinary" and have more ideas to ponder.
5) We already know that focusing on past problems is only useful if geared toward present solutions. So when I noticed I wasn't invited to share my "Dealing with Difficult Conversations" workshop with a potential client, I reviewed what was shared, got any feedback I can get, and have tested another way to present my workshop, with other possible clients. We don't need to keep reminding ourselves of what didn't work. Rather, we can review any positive input we received.
6) Let's look around and notice how others who seem very confident act, talk, dress, etc. If they're wearing suits, talking quietly, acting friendly (and you're not), make some changes and see what impact they make on your confidence level.
7) Google "how to be more confident" and see which articles speak to you. Try the suggestions out.
8) Ask close friends or business associates if they have any thoughts about behaviors they think might add to your confidence level. If their ideas appeal to you, try them on! What do you have to lose, and what do you have to gain?!
9) Ask a librarian for book suggestions on increasing confidence. Commit to reading a minimum of 15-30 minutes a day. Tell an accountability/ support partner 2-4 times a week what you are putting into practice.
10) Reward your efforts and your results with a treat: a healthy snack, a nap, exercise you enjoy, dancing, an outing—something you will look forward to just because you enjoy it.
11) When you are not feeling at the top of your game, take a minute or two to notice how you want to feel and act. Then say "I love it when..."(or "I feel peaceful when...") or ("I feel powerful when). I notice what's not working and I take one step toward making it work." The point is to visualize your desired behavior and then to take action.
12) Maybe you have been pushing yourself and you're just tired of the pressure. How about taking a week or a month break and committing then to evaluate it again. Remind yourself—write down all the things you have done in the past that reinforce your self-awareness as a confident person. Do afformations (questions, not the same as affirmations), such as "How did I get so comfortable with showing up as the confident person I am?" or "When did it get so natural to feel confident in my work/relationship/whatever)?"
I bet you'll feel more confidence each time you take on one of these practices. I'd love to hear your results. And feel free to call me at 206-938-8385 for a complimentary coaching call about any area of your life you'd like to change or improve. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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