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16 Jul 2016
Not good enough… Not skilled enough… Not educated enough… Not prepared enough…Enough is Enough!
Not good enough… Not skilled enough… Not educated enough… Not prepared enough…
Sounds like you may be singing the “woe is me” blues. And I’m sad to say that you are not alone.
One of the most common excuses my readers face is feeling like they do not have the energy or confidence to pursue their goals. I’m hearing a proverbial chorus of “not good enough!”
Well, enough is enough. It’s time you establish some chest-puffing, chin-lifting, energy-elating self-esteem. You need a bright, shiny feeling of confidence to help you satisfy your ambitions and take steps toward the goals that really, truly matter to you. Bonus: Once you build confidence and energy in one area of your life, it spills over—no, it floods!—into other areas of your life as well. You’ll find that you become a lean, not-so-mean confidence machine.
But first, let’s get educated. Knowledge is power, so before you look at the tips listed below, take stock of your current energy and confidence triggers and detractors.
What are the things you know for sure that give you energy or make you feel confident?
Write them down. You might be surprised. I get energy from busting out in a little dance around my house, having a cuddle with our cat, listening to a motivating podcast or writing a Top Five.
What are the things you know for sure that do not give you energy or make you feel confident?
For me, if I am feeling tired, I know reading one of my favourite magazines, The Renegade Collective, which is full of social entrepreneur stories, does not energise or motivate me. In fact, it can make me feel more tired. However, I feel relaxed and restored while watching a Soul Pancake clip on YouTube or a clip of Jimmy Fallon squashing eggs on the forehead of another celebrity—giggling at them giggling. Or reading some fiction.
What’s the point in these questions?
More often than not, we have the answers already. When you start with “what you know for sure,” it’s a great foundation on which to build confidence and energy. With that said, I am a big fan of learning from other people’s approaches. I like giving them a test drive, finding out what does and does not work for me. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to building confidence. In fact, trying to follow a one-size-fits-all approach could make you feel less confident.
So I have included the following tips for inspiration for you to experiment with and find out what works for YOU:
Find a routine that awakens you. I make better and clearer decisions if I move in the morning. Could be a gentle walk, cycling to the office, dancing around while getting ready or doing some mindful stretching. I don’t necessarily notice this on the days that I do it, but I notice the difference on the days I don’t do it.
Break out your cassette tape of the Rocky theme song. Seriously, listening to uplifting music has been proven to make you feel powerful.
Move your body in a way that builds strength.
Naomi Arnold, award-winning coach, draws on the following questions when supporting clients and trusting our intuition, “If I was my best self and if I really believed in myself and my skills and capabilities and the evidence that I have seen of what I can do, what would I say about that? Would I trust myself? What would that more loving side of myself say?” Go on, grab a piece of paper and write down the answer!
Volunteer. Supporting a cause you care about gives you perspective and shows the power of your small actions.
Be inspired first thing in the morning. If I commute on the train I listen to a short guided meditation. I seem to find space to laugh more and have more perspective on these days.
Have a go-to flow list. What’s a flow list? It’s a list of things you can do for a short time, things that you lose yourself in, things that you do just for enjoyment—not for a result. Don’t dismiss the value in seemingly non-productive tasks as they actually rest part of your body and strengthen it for later.
Write a Top Five list.
Celebrate yourself when you step out of your comfort zone.
Reflect on and write down other times when you stepped out of your comfort zone.
Have a hard time seeing your own amazingness? Recognise that “Imposter Syndrome” can sneak up on everyone. You can spend your life questioning yourself or you can make decisions and take action utilising the experience, knowledge and resources you have.
Buy some Top Five Movement Positive Thought Starters.
Stop comparing who you are now with who you want to become. As I always say, be inspired by the vision — but don’t measure yourself against the vision.
Rediscover something you loved as a child.
Take a social media cleanse. When you have a digital social life, you are constantly comparing yourself to the filtered photos of others. Take a weekend hiatus to refocus on what you like about yourself (instead of worrying about liking other people’s posts).
Set goals based on the feelings you want to have — not your preconceived notions of success.
Think about all the people who love you and respect you. When you have a cheerleading squad behind you, you can do anything.
Hang out with the happiest person you know. Positive, confident people inspire positivity and confidence in others.
Be your own spin doctor. Every time you think a negative thought about yourself, switch it to something positive. Instead of, “Oh man, I really bombed during the first part of my presentation,” think, “I finished really strong!” Remember, the more positive thoughts in your head, the less room for negative ones.
Envision yourself succeeding. Pro athletes use visualisation for mental training, creating a mental roadmap for winning. You can use visualisation to envision yourself being awesome.
Create a mantra.
Know your reality. If your goal is to run a marathon, you need to know how far you can run. Take the time to understand where you are now, so you know how far you have to go.
Think negatively. That’s right! Think, what’s the worst thing that could happen? You may discover that taking a chance is worth the potential risk.
Face a fear.
Pay attention to what people value in you; ask co-workers, former colleagues and friends. What doesn’t get done if you don’t show up? What ideas or perspectives do you bring to meetings or brainstorming sessions? Discover how you add value to any situation.
Do what you are good at. Seriously, if you have a knack for baking, spend tons of time in the kitchen. Soak up the joy of feeling 100 percent confident in what you are doing. You may just get used to it!
Dress like the person you want to be.
If you find that observing other people’s work is leaving you uninspired, then stop doing it and just focus on your own steps.
Pretend. You know the saying “Fake it until you make it.” Well, give it a try. Play dress up in a costume of confidence and energy.
Set realistic goals. Sometimes we set the bar much higher than we can reach. Rethink your goals and set a realistic timeline and plan for reaching them.
Sit up straight and walk with power.
Compliment someone else. By seeing the best in others, you will begin to see the best in yourself.
Contribute. At work, with your friends or at home, the more you speak up, the more empowered you will feel. Especially if you get good feedback.
Do something nice for someone else. It simply makes you feel good.
Change a small habit. Positive change begets positive change, so start by making a small tweak to your daily life—for the better. Quit smoking, start working out, read more.
Just get started with the smallest step. If you aren’t sure what the smallest step is, pick one step and go for it. You know all the cliché sayings like, “a journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step,” so take it!
Clean up. Clear the papers off your desk. Tidy your closet. Sort through your book shelves. Our environment can often reflect how we feel, so when you clear your physical space, you actually make an impact on your emotional and mental spaces.
Understand that everyone gets rejected. JK Rowling received multiple rejection letters from publishers who couldn’t see the potential in Harry Potter. The key is, she kept trying.
Practice makes perfect. It takes something like 10,000 hours of work to master a skill, so get to work. Practising can improve your confidence and improve your work. Don’t just rest on your natural skill.
Keep a praise folder. When you receive an “atta girl” or “nice job” email, save them in a folder titled “Pick Me Ups.” Then, when you feel down, you have a collection of compliments to lift your spirits.
Don’t forget your lucky socks. That’s right, I’m encouraging you to embrace your superstitions. If you have a job interview and you are feeling less-than-confident, throw on those lucky socks and feel confident!
I know! It’s a huge list, but don’t get overwhelmed. My advice is pick a few tips that work for you or a few to experiment with and enjoy. Or try picking one a week. It might feel more confident to schedule loads of them in, but I believe there is power in simplicity.
These tips are all tools, and as I always say, dutifully using a few tools is better than having a shiny, packed and unused toolbox.
Which one works for you every time? Which new one will you try first?