Confidence is both an inside feeling and an outside behaviour.
Both are important, if one is out of kilter you will appear incongruent and inauthentic, therefore lacking impact.
1. You have perfectionist tendencies
Inside confidence is critical to managing your health and energy. Confidence problems are often a side effect of perfectionism. Trying to get everything right is impossible and if you try it will only make you feel worse about yourself. Get in touch with your inner confidence by:
- Becoming aquatinted with your skills and abilities, get accurate feedback on what you do really well and do more of it.
- When people give you positive feedback, don’t reject it, say thank you and take the feedback on board.
- If you have a negative image of yourself in your own mind, work on creating one that is OK. Don’t aim for a really amazing internal image as your brain will reject it as ridiculous. If you find talking to groups really tough, imaging you are energetically leading a discussion with skill and confidence is a step too far, start with picturing yourself being engaged and making a few positive contributions. Confidence is improved in small steps not giant leaps.
2. You find other people intimidating
Often people mistake loudness for confidence, someone who holds the rooms attention obviously know their stuff right? In fact these people are very often masking their own confidence issues with this kind of behaviour. In order to find the right level of confidence for you, learn to look for it in other people. Confident contributions should be:
- Relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Insightful or helpful in some way - not ‘look how amazing I am’.
- Owned by the contributor not blaming others.
Remember: the most competent person is not necessarily the one talking.
Read more about this in Real Leaders for the Real World, you can download a free first chapter here.
3. Insecurities cripple you sometimes - Case study by Coach Eleanor Shabika
Everyone thought Eva was confident and self-assured. On the inside, though, Eva was writhing mass of insecurities. Petrified of public speaking, she staged “emergency phone calls” to give her an excuse to skip presenting in management meetings. She avoided networking events and even found reasons to leave the staff Christmas party early, because she found socialising so difficult. Eva’s insecurity was undermining her career. That’s why she came to me for NLP coaching.
We worked together for 12 months. Her success was summed up by her boss, who later told Eva that she was “the most transformed shy person” he had ever met. Little did he know about all the hard work that had created that transformation. This included learning how to:
- Plan ahead for social situations, so she would know how to connect with attendees.
- Master stage techniques which would help her feel at ease when presenting to groups.
- Manage her posture and breathing, so that she could relax under pressure.
- Using future pacing (mental rehearsal) techniques to prime her mind for success each day
Eva was a great role model for anyone who wants to feel more self-assured and confident. Her story proves that confident thinking patterns and behaviour can be learned.
Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, Karen is also a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. Her new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.
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