Step 1 – Realise you already have confidence (but just not in the thing you want right now)
Another word for “confidence” is “skill”.
You already have skills which gives you confidence and you have confidence because you have skills. These feel natural because you are used to it, and for some, it’s a habit. But once upon a time, you didn’t have these skills, and therefore were not confident.
There is no difference in gaining confidence now, you just need to practice and build up the skill first.
Step 2 – Be specific on when you don’t feel confident
I work with a lot of my clients on confidence issues with the workplace, so I’ll use this as an example throughout this article.
Sometimes we tend to think of “confidence” as one big block of horribleness. But when you take the time to isolate the specifics, you gain more understanding of what and when needs working on.
Look at when this might happen for you and be as specific as you can – what patterns do you notice?
- Is it during certain activities? Presenting, Speaking, Interviewing, Discussions?
- Where are you? Big Events? Pitches? Board Rooms? Team Meetings?
- What are the people dynamics? One person? Group? How many? Senior colleagues? Important clients?
Now we can start looking at setting goals for that specific pattern.
Step 3 – Set Your End Goal and Your Micro-Goals
On your confidence levels currently, where are you out of 10 for this pattern?
0 being, close to depression and 10 being, super confident (but not arrogant)?
What would be acceptable to you? It might not be 10/10, but 8/10 may be good enough.
How would you know you are at an 8/10? What would you have to feel like, talk like and act like to be at that level? Write this down as your end goal.
If you are currently at, say, 3/10, now write out the 7 steps, from 3/10, 4/10, 5/10 etc. in the same way. What are the micro steps to take you from where you are currently, all the way through to your end goal?
When you gain the confidence in this micro-step, move to the next, etc.
- 4/10 – I would need to ask a question in a meeting and make good eye contact with the CEO
- 5/10 – I would need to give my opinion in a group discussion and do this consistently for 2 weeks.
- 6/10 – I would need to walk in the room and sit at the front and volunteer to chair the team meeting
- 7/10 – I would need to volunteer to present a section to the team
- 8/10 – I would need to volunteer to share findings, as a presentation, to the whole department
Step 4 – Put These in Action!
Oh yes. Actually start dong them.
But I don’t want to!!!
That’s ok. You don’t have to, but things will stay the same, and do you want that?
But what if you did start? What if you actually gain that confidence? What would that give you and what would that lead to?
A potential easier way to start is to confide in someone at your work that does this well. Could you ask them and get some tips on how they have done it? The chances are, they would be honoured you are going to them for support or advice.
Or is that is too daunting at first, can you use them as a model and get yourself in the mindset of them? Act how they act? Do they seem genuine? Do they seem calm? Try and slowly replicate one or two things they do and before you know it, these will get easier and easier with practice.
Step 5 – Gain Awareness As You Go
Things will go well and things won’t. Be ok with both. This is a time to experiment and learn.
Document your actions in a learning journal and write in it, every time you are progressing toward your next micro-goal.
- If it’s a positive thing – write it down.
- If it’s something that didn’t go as well as you would like – write down what you learned from trying it and what could go better next time.
- Once a week/fortnight/month look back at where you started, go through your positives and lessons from your journal and see how much further towards your end-goal you are.
These will feed into your habitual pathways of your brain and start to activate the evidence and assurance muscles that will give you that confidence you’re looking for.
And of course, if you need support with any of this, you know where I am.
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