Why you don’t need to ‘be more confident’
Lean in, sit at the table, stand up, speak up. We’re hearing the messaging loud and clear and loving it; to a point.
What if I told you that you don’t need to be more confident?
It’s a relief, right?
One of the most common threads binding the female leaders that I work with together is that they feel like they are battling with some kind of self-doubt, imposter syndrome or lack of confidence barrier that is preventing them from living and leading at their full potential. Or at the very least preventing them from being able to truly enjoy the ride.
In case you don’t believe me, here’s the stats. A KPMG study of over 3000 professional working women found:
- 6 in 10 professional women aspire to be leaders, but 6 in 10 struggle to visualise themselves as leaders.
- 56% are cautious about taking steps toward leadership roles and site confidence building as a desired training and development skill.
- 82% of women state access to and networking with female leaders will help them advance in their career or business
It’s tempting then to simply tell women to ‘be more confident’, to speak up more, to sit at the table and to put themselves out there.
Here’s the problem.
For someone who is already struggling with confidence, telling them to ‘be more confident’ reinforces the fact they aren’t and has the opposite effect, making them even less
The little girl who’s told she’s confident will get more confident; the girl who’s told she’s not will continue to play that out.
The secret code to cracking the confidence barrier is knowing that you are not lacking in some special confidence gene.
Confidence is not a stable trait that someone does or does not have; it’s a feeling that can be developed and cultivated in the right environment
So, how do we create it?
Here’s a hint.
When you stop thinking you’re lacking in some way because you aren’t confident enough and start focussing on the value you bring to the table; suddenly you will magically feel, and appear more confident.
Here are three ways to create an environment that breeds confidence;
Know the value you bring, and remind yourself of it daily.
According to a recent study conducted by the UCLA, our minds are buzzing with around 62,000 thoughts per day; no wonder we need coffee.
And get this – a massive 90% of these thoughts are being pulled from the past! 55,800
of our thoughts are the same thoughts we had yesterday.
Your thoughts determine your actions, behaviours, and ultimately your outcomes. So, by repeating the same thoughts over and over again you’re going to repeat the same results.
Our minds are on a default setting that makes us more likely to focus on the negative than the positive. If you ask someone to point out their own weaknesses, they’ll quickly give you a long list. Ask about their strengths and you’ll hear crickets.
If a majority of our thoughts are focussed on our weaknesses, the self-doubt kicks in.
If we train our minds to focus on our strengths, we naturally get an immediate feeling of confidence. Give it a try!
Here’s some ways to retrain your mind to do this naturally.
· Take some time to find out what your key strengths are and list your unique skills, talents and experiences. Keep this list somewhere that you’ll see it daily.
· Surround yourself with people, messaging and content that lifts you up, encourages and motivates you. If you’re spending your days with people who don’t believe in you or share the same passion and drive, is it any wonder that you’re not feeling the desire to step up and shout your message from the rooftops?
· Focus on your mental diet. Be careful what you read, watch and listen to. Feed your brain with the tools it needs to propel you forward.
· Support your brain in carving new neural pathways by repeating a new message or a new mantra, something self-constructive rather than self-destructive. This could be as simple as ‘I am enough’ or ‘I’ve got this’.
Seek opportunities for growth
We are evolutionary mammals; we are designed to grow.
The fastest track to growth is failure! If we begin to look at every opportunity as a fast track to growth then we create a win-win. Either we achieve our goal, or we fail, learn, and grow.
No need for more confidence.
Know your why
This little phrase has been well used in recent times for great reason; if you have a big enough why, the how takes care of itself.
You don’t need next level confidence to stand up for something you truly believe in. You don’t need to exude confidence to do what it takes to achieve a goal that truly lights you up. If you know that you’re doing something for the greater good of not just yourself but those who you care about, you will be naturally compelled to make it happen.
There is a famous story that demonstrates the difference.
A man came across three stonecutters and asked them what they were doing. The first replied, “I am making a living.” The second kept on hammering while he said, “I am doing the best job of stonecutting in the entire county.” The third looked up with a visionary gleam in his eye and said, “I am building a cathedral.”
Which of these men do you think would have continued to take action, even in the face of fear or doubt?
Someone who is visionary, who is hooked on to a purpose greater than themselves, will appear to be confident because they’re willing to do what it takes to make their vision a reality.
Ultimately; be less confident, be more you.