If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life
– Marcus Garvey
If there is one life skill which propels you up the success ladder, it is building confidence! However, this particular life skill does seem to be missing in a vast majority of people nowadays, especially in the IT Bandwagon. “How is that Satish?” You might ask … Well … this is the No.1 challenge which 95% of my clients did say they wanted to overcome when they came to me.
Now, all these people were highly qualified, placed in some of the top companies and were doing reasonably well when suddenly, something did give a blow to their lives. Some went through an unfortunate layoff, some went through a painful divorce, some were on the verge of losing their jobs and so on … This made them go down a negative spiral in terms of their confidence level. Bringing it back to normal was not easy but I must say, they were amazingly successful!
Now, the question is …
Is confidence building a one-off step or a detailed process carried out step by step?
I would certainly say that it is more of a detailed process. Whenever a client does come to me facing confidence issues, the first thing I do is dig into the root cause. Most of the times, the underlying issue will be at quite a deep level and not at the surface.
Following are few of the causes which could have led to a low confidence level in individuals.
1. Overcome Limiting Beliefs
What you do tell yourself eventually determines your confidence level. You need to be positive yet realistic in your self-talk. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is certainly a difference between having certain limitations and self-limiting beliefs.
The limitations may be due to some medical reasons or some other challenge. This is not in the scope of this article but there are surely ways to overcome most of the limitations too.
What I am talking about is the false beliefs we set to ourselves. Everything happens twice in life. First in the mind and then in reality. If you do not feed the right belief to your mind itself then, realizing your goals/ dreams and facing certain challenges is certainly a far cry.
One of my previous blogs does cover various common limiting beliefs and how they can be overcome.
2. Set The Right Expectations
Over-expectation always leads to under-performance. It’s quite logical right? Many a time, “pushing our boundary” is mistaken for wanting to achieve more than we actually can. There is certainly a difference between the two. Push the boundary when it does come to certain challenges … However, a practical aim needs to be set too.
A more practical approach is to push yourself step by step towards greater and tougher goals. This way, you do cross your comfort zone and at the same time, work towards realizing the goals in a very practical manner.
When this approach is not followed, you will always fall short when it comes to meeting your expectations. This will be followed by disappointment making a huge dent in your confidence level.
3. Analyse The Environment You Have Been Brought Up In
Upbringing is the key when it does come to developing life skills, especially building confidence. One of my clients did have a fear of public speaking. Infact, she did fear a lot of areas such as networking, tele-conferencing and so on …
I did dig into the root cause and this is what I found out. She was very weak as a child and had a hearing problem too because of which she was not very interactive with people. She used to be a loner as much as possible for fear that people might ask her something and she would not be able to reply back. There were not many facilities available way back and such limitations were considered huge and an obstacle to progress. People around her, except her immediate family could not empathize with her and were more discouraging actually. She was eventually branded as a fearful child. She grew with this impression in her mind and carried the fear even years later.
Now, if her upbringing had been more constructive rather than giving in to the negative opinions of others, her confidence would not have suffered a huge blow. The sad part was that it had not happened and she paid a price for it later on.
The impression you would have carried about yourself over the years may not be true. You can definitely work on certain areas, become stronger and align yourself with your goals.
This video by Bright Side does throw some light on certain upbringing behaviours which could have a negative impact later on.
4. Behaviour Is Contagious
Negative behaviour, especially demotivating dialogues affect us very soon. Hence, it is very important to be away from a low-confidence environment.
They popularly say that you tend to become like 5 people whom you are constantly with. If you are in the company of negative thinkers then, it won’t be long before it starts rubbing on you.
5. Your Past Failures Keep Making You Fail
A person might have failed at something. Fine! The failure would have happened once. However, the fear of failure pops up repeatedly. Now, he/she is replaying the whole process of failure in their mind again and again. Every time it is replayed, the confidence level does go down further and it will become more and more difficult to give it a try again.
I would suggest any of you to understand the whole process of failure. Yes! What steps had you taken that resulted in failure? It is only when you break it down that you will be able to get to the root cause and also remove the fear of failure from your mind.
You could also try out The Fresh Start Effect as suggested by Professor Katherine Milkman to move beyond your past failures.
6. Upgrade Yourself To Be The Latest Knowledge Bank
When you are constantly up-to-date with the latest knowledge in your respective domain, you will definitely have a clear picture of what to expect and what not to in future. This will infact prepare you for the future. When you are constantly in the process of updating yourself, low confidence does take a back-seat.
This is of course, the first step. You can eventually focus on the implementation part which will then boost your confidence step by step.
7. Embrace The Unknown
Fear of the unknown is a silent killer of your confidence. I have observed certain people who constantly reel under low confidence. Some unknown fears would probably be taking a toll on them. This is natural. At the conscious level, you might feel that everything seems to be fine and you are confident enough However, the results of your actions might still showcase patches of low confidence.
Why does this happen? It may be more so due to a chain of connecting factors which does lead to low confidence. In such cases, you need to work at the sub-conscious level to identify that factor/factors which are causing the fear factor leading to low confidence. When the root cause becomes known, the unknown factor vanishes and so does your fear. This inturn does boost your confidence level.
If you are someone who would want to re-look at your confidence-building process, then you can schedule a Strategy Call with me to discuss about your area of challenge.
To your success always …
Co-Authored By Sushma Krishnan (Co-Founder, High Performance Alchemy)