Confidence and Self Esteem
‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right’ – Henry Ford
Self-confidence is ‘the belief that you can do things well and that other people respect you’ Cambridge Dictionary (2021). There is a common misconception that confidence is about being extroverted and outgoing, however it is possible to be introverted and quiet but still be confident. Just because someone is the loudest person in the room it doesn’t mean they have a belief that they can do things well or the belief that others respect them.
Sadly, research suggests that over 85% of us suffer from a lack of confidence and/or self-esteem (Rubino, 2006). However, confidence is not an innate personality trait, it is a skill, which is great news as this means that it can be learnt and developed – take it from someone who used to blush in primary school when I answered my name to the register!
There are, however, no quick fixes, no overnight solutions and no miracle pills. The biggest mistake people make is waiting for the day that they feel confident enough to… take that new job, start a new relationship, achieve their goals. If you keep waiting, that day may never come. Confidence comes from facing your fears and getting back up each time you are knocked down. Run towards the thing that scares you, this doesn’t mean you can’t show vulnerability or ask for help, in fact these things are part of being confident. What this does mean is that you are not afraid to fail. Ask yourself – what is the worst thing that is going to happen if this fails? Each time you face your fears, you teach yourself that you are in control of your own life, you are resilient enough to tackle any challenges that are thrown your way and you are determined enough to work through the hardship to achieve your goals.
‘We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…
we must do that which we think we cannot.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
Most highly successful people have a long list of failures (learning opportunities) behind their success. Thomas Eddison failed thousands of times prior to inventing the lightbulb, however his perspective that ‘I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work’, propelled him forward with his invention until he achieved what he set out to do. Without his thousands of failures, we would not have lightbulbs today!
Sir Richard Branson, an extremely successful entrepreneur struggled with dyslexia throughout his school years, dropping out when he was 16 to start his own magazine. Following this, several of his business models failed to make money or to take off, but he kept persisting, choosing to see the opportunities that each failed venture created.
We all have excuses and reasons to not do something, it’s whether we choose to listen to them that matters. Yes, some people have it harder than others in life, but that just means that those people have to work that little bit harder to achieve their goals!
So, if you have never been told that you can achieve anything you want to, let me be the one to tell you now, that you can achieve anything that you set out to do. It may not be the first time, the second time or even the fifth time, but with persistence and dedication you will achieve your goal. Embrace failure as part of the journey and enjoy watching your confidence and self-belief flourish.
Here is your self-confidence check list;
- Face your fears – your thoughts about what might happen are usually far worse than the reality.
- Positive self-talk and visualisation – be your own cheerleader, telling yourself why this is going to work and why you are going to be great, even if you can think of 1000 reasons it could fail. Really try to picture yourself walking into that interview room or that group setting, feeling calm and confident. Visualisation is a powerful tool that many athletes, actors and professional speakers use prior to their performance.
- Fake it until you make it – research has shown that how we hold ourselves (body language) can have a huge impact on how confident we feel and boost our self-esteem (Nair et al, 2015). Think about someone you know who is confident, watch how they conduct themselves. They are likely to stand up straight with their chest open, give good eye contact, smile and breath deeply and slowly. Try it yourself and you will be surprised at how much of a difference this can make. Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, once stated, “We are what we repeatedly do’.
Our mentors are experienced in helping our clients improve their confidence and self esteem. If you are unemployed and looking for support feel free to contact us for an informal chat over coffee (on us) to find out how we can help!
Sources referenced in this blog:
Cambridge Dictionary (2021) Confidence. Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/self-confidence (Accessed: 07/06/2021).
Rubino, J. (2006) The Self Esteem Book. Vision Works Publishing.
Nair, S., Sagar, M., Sollers, J. III, Consedine, N., & Broadbent, E. (2015). Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial. Health Psychology, 34(6), 632–641. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000146.