How to Believe in Yourself When You Are Doubtful

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

…do I know this person at all?

Your identity is how you see yourself. Your inner view and projection into the world.

When you introduce yourself. What do you say?

Hi. My name is Cara and I’m a ….

55% of people create self-identity through their job.  I often identify as a leader, physician assistant, wife, dance mom and jack of all trades!

Identity is founded in values. Reflective of choices.  Mentally strong leaders know their identity. They lead teams to success. Remove obstacles. Rescue in a crisis, when fear is the greatest.

A crisis. People are raging with anxiety and fear. Mentally strong leaders are calm. They are the ones you seek out. The ones you call on.

Emotions are contagious. Consider the last time someone smiled at you. Did you smile back? Same with laughing. Happiness spreads when you are in the company of someone blissful. The same is more true of fear. Fear is contagious–spreading like a wildfire.

How do mentally strong leaders create peace in a crisis?  The sense of identity leads to the one quality all leaders need for success—confidence. The feeling of assurance about one’s own abilities.

Confidence is believing in yourself when you are doubtful. Confidence is fundamental. Confidence in yourself and others. It is the power that allows others to trust you.  Confidence is the glue that holds a group in a mission. It is the unwavering agility of employees, senior managers and business associates.

Lack of confidence is like building a house without a blueprint. There is lack of the foundational knowledge to build upon.  You flounder and stumble. Often making mistakes. You may get through it and survive. But, will you be effective? Will you be successful? Will the team follow you if you leave? Eventually, the house will tumble.

Confidence grows from abilities and relationships.  Confidence in your abilities is reflective in your mindset towards challenges. Your view on a new task, new project, new job or position. Ability confidence reflects your mindset around your skills. The “I can do it” attitude.

Lack of confidence shows in having the ability but not using their ability. How many people do you know getting by? Despite knowing, they can give so much more. Yet, they strive on giving less.

High ability confidence leads to taking risks because they believe in themselves. They get a task and reply with “I’ll figure it out.” They believe and don’t need others to tell them they can do it.

The second element is confidence in relationships. Relationships are why people follow you. They follow because they want to, not because they have to. This is relationship through influence. The ability to lead in one direction or another.

Low confidence leaders may or may not ask questions to check understanding. When they do ask, they rebut any lack of understanding.

Leaders with high confidence ask questions to understand. Then give clear answers to avoid confusion.  They argue their view if they feel they are right. Leading with influence and persuasion for others to align with their viewpoint.

Self confidence is believing in yourself when no one else does.

Confidence is the essential to leadership. Believe in your power and skills to perform a task. It is the reassurance needed for others to succumb to influence.
Self confidence is natural for many. Sometimes to the point of inflated egos. Have a underlying self-confidence that is not boastful or bragging.

Here are 5 confidence building exercises to knock out those premeeting jitters:

1. Stand tall and sit taller

Notice how you are standing or sitting now. Are your shoulders slouching? Head down? Now, hold head high, shoulders back and make eye contact. Regulate your breathing. Hold this position for 3 minutes.

You completed your first power pose. Holding a power posture can actually make you feel more powerful.Do you feel more confidence? Power posturing can impact your brain chemistry and your mood. High power positions actually increase testosterone and reduce cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for increased anxiety and stress.

Slouching shoulders, looking down, soft voice give the presence of low confidence. Be cautious if you find yourself in a low confidence position.  Power posturing produces more self certainty and different actions. Changing yourself results in seeing the world through different eyes.

2. Give me the Mic

As much as 75% of people have fear in public speaking. A large majority of leaders also fall in that category. However, we must be able to get in front of our team.

Concerned about embarrassment, stumbling on words or difficult questions? Practice and prepare! Rehearse your speech in front of a mirror or with a colleague. Have prepared answers for questions you aren’t ready to address. Something like “I appreciate the way you are thinking and we are working on a solution” or “We take this serious. Thank you for bringing {xyz} to my attention.”

If you vow to do something, follow up with your group. It will show your consistency in leadership. If you cannot disclose the outcome, say “thank you for bringing to my attention and it is addressed.”

Learning to embrace public speaking provides a path of several benefits. These benefits include learning what key points to emphasize, discovering how to best connect to the audience, self control over thoughts and emotions, and discovering how to better communication.  These benefits translate into development into a great leader and knowing your identity.

3. Teach me to Fish

If you are going to mentor someone, you will need to know your stuff! Mentoring someone else builds your confidence. Someone requesting your expertise. They want to learn from you!

Mentoring reinforces to your brain your known skills and abilities. It is constant positive feedback. You know exactly what you are doing and have high quality skills for any task. Thus, you reinforce one of the 2 confidence essentials—confidence in abilities.

Sharing your knowledge and helping others succeed reinforces your leadership skills. The success often spreads and soon you will be sought out by others for your expertise. Huge confidence builder!

4. Record Like you are on American Idol

I know, I know. You hate the way you talk, huh? Who loves their voice? Maybe a voice actor, but those are few and far between.  Many of us do not realize how we sound when speaking. It is not just the tone of our voice. It is the little words. 

The pause filled “ums” or “so.” Repetition of these little space fillers often lead others to question your communication. Often we will pick up these little habits from others with who we frequently interact.

Record yourself. Listen to the playback and be aware of these space fillers. Also, notice if you articulate your words or mumble. Are you asked to clarify what you just said?
Ask others for feedback. Notice if your voice is loud and commands a presence. Leaders naturally have the skill of projecting their voice.

5. Gold Stars

When is the last time you praised yourself for a job well done? Or even told yourself you have the skills? It’s time to get out of the negative mindset and give a little self-love with positive affirmations.

Positive affirmations are mini praises your give yourself. These attaboys cause a mental shift. What you think to be negative about yourself transforms into positive thoughts.

During failure, do you remind yourself of your initial thoughts of thinking it would fail? This can often lead to feeling foolish or like a failure. Instead, initial thoughts reinforce your known confidence in skills. If failure, acknowledge it as now victory of how it does not work.
Affirmations will inspire you to excellence and promote trying again during failures. Positive affirmations will build you up and help you encourage others.

There you have it. 5 little confidence building exercises guaranteed to make a huge impact.

Want more?  Check out this amazing TED talk!

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