Lack of confidence can limit your ability to believe in yourself. It also limits the ability to recognise your skills and to reach your potential to have a fulfilling life. We are often given the advice before important events (like job interviews) to ‘be confident’ . This gives an assumption that confidence is something easy to call upon when needed.
Sadly, that’s not always the case. Sometimes it is difficult to feel certain about yourself – your knowledge, experience, skills and values – and be able to show this through your actions.
Confidence and self management
Confidence can be the foundation of successful self development because, when you think about it, all self development activity relies on the ability to identify and communicate your own strengths, capabilities and past achievements. You can seriously sabotage your chances if you feel uncomfortable speaking about your past successes or fail to recognise them by dismissing evidence or positive feedback, attributing good work to luck, other people or ‘it’s just my job’.
So, how can you make sure that a lack of confidence doesn’t impact your career plans?
Think for a moment about all the thoughts that play in your head as you move through your day-to-day life. Things like:
- I’m not good with technology.
- I don’t cope well with change.
- I’m not a numbers person.
These are the kind of thoughts that subconsciously replay in our minds, gradually chipping away at our confidence and sense of self-belief. Pretty soon these stories become the truth. In your mind, you simply have a realistic view of:
- What you can and what you cannot do.
- What you are and what you are not good at.
But in reality, who told you these things which are now the truth? Probably no one but yourself. So, here are a couple of killer questions for you to think about:
- How certain are you that they are in fact true?
- How are they affecting your career success and satisfaction?
Let’s look at ways to combat and unpick these truths. In particular, there can be two key things that affect your confidence:
- Negative self-talk – a voice in your head known as your inner critic
- Impostor phenomenon – feeling like a fraud who is about to be caught out.
Negative self-talk – the inner critic
We all have an inner critic which can be helpful at times – like when it reminds us that what we’re about to eat isn’t healthy or what we’re about to do may not be wise.
However, this voice can often become more harmful than helpful when it gets into the realm of excessive negativity, known as negative self-talk. Most of us experience this from time to time. Basically, negative self-talk is:
- Any inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself and your own abilities, and therefore reach your potential.
- Any thought that diminishes your ability to make positive changes or embrace new challenges.
In my next post, I will share the second factor which can impact your confidence, the Impostor Phenomenon.