Published in We Are The City on 25.02.19
You are not alone in seeking to boost your confidence.
Close to 90 per cent of the population is actively looking for greater confidence right now. However, confidence is a very big word. Ask for a definition and no two people will give you the same answer. Why? Because confidence is something that comes from within, that is unique to each and every one of us. So how come we keep looking for it on the outside? No one will be able to teach you confidence or show you what your confidence should be like. The secret is that it is inside you already. It’s been there all along. Still doubtful? if course you are! Trust me on this. You can discover the confidence within you. Here are a number of suggestions to help you on your way:
It takes only three seconds of courage
It literally takes less than three seconds to find the courage to throw your hat in the ring. I used to be scared of heights, but it took me just one second to pluck up the courage to jump out of that plane. It also took just one second to say “it’s not working out” to my ex, to tell my CEO what I thought we should do to move forward, to challenge my co-worker in front of our team for stealing my idea. Do you get what I am saying? Sometimes it’s a case of just going for it and throwing yourself out of that proverbial aeroplane. Once you are out, you simply have to manage what happens next in the best possible way you can.
Fake it until you believe it
I often come across situations in my line of work that I have never encountered before. For example, standing on stage at the Excel, or giving a talk to 400 teenagers – out of those two I still don’t know which one was the scariest. I get to tackle challenging people issues, discipline others, speak up, constructively criticise, run presentations and workshops all over the world. I am not a natural born speaker. I’d rather be in my room writing my books or meditating, doing Taichi or kicking backsides behind a screen. When stuck as to how to behave or what my next steps should be I often think of the mentors in my life or those people I aspire to be. They don’t need to tell me what to do. I just have to imagine, what they would do if they were in my shoes…and there. The answer just falls in place. Then all I have to do is adapt what that person would do to my own style.
As an HR professional, I observe lots of people. First of all, I can tell you we all have flaws. Have a go at observing what reactions you get from people once you start taking your power back. How do they react? Do things start to change for the better? Each and every decision we make has an impact on our future. Take dieting for example. What we put in our mouth is a choice. Will eating a Cornish pasty really help me achieve that goal of losing 3 stone? We are the masters of our destiny. No matter whether the decision is big or small, it all counts. Start with taking ownership of the small decisions and observe how others react. Then once you’ve built yourself up, tackle the medium- sized decisions, and then the bigger ones. Change is so much easier and more likely to be sustained if it is taken in small steps.
Life is not here simply be to lived, it is here to be experienced. I could easily have remained in my comfortable, successful life as a HR professional in Berkshire. I was happy but I was coasting. Once I took ownership of myself and my destiny, my life accelerated. I could never have imagined achieving half of the things that I have. Starting with teaching myself not to be scared of taking responsibility for who I am and the actions I take, I have accepted so many more challenges. In turn, lots of new opportunities have opened themselves to me. Now I recognise that I am blessed and incredibly lucky. I thank my lucky stars each and every day that I took that step. Then again, the one individual who had the cheeky attitude in asking for what she wanted, who made changes in her personal life and held those courageous conversations and who pushes her own boundaries each and every day is me. So, I’ll take the credit. Confidence is not something that magically switches itself on. It is a deep intrinsic belief that you can jump quite literally from a plane and build your parachute whilst going down (I wouldn’t advise you to try to do this in real life, just metaphorically).
The world will not become a better place without your contribution. Your voice deserves to be heard. It may shake a little or be a little quiet at the beginning, but as they say, lions are not born roaring. Just take one step at a time.