Goodness, it’s that word again ….CONFIDENCE! As women we seem to be endlessly talking about it, we are pre-occupied and some might even say obsessed with it, but for good reason as for so many of us it remains an elusive quality or at the very least an inconsistent one! If we’re not reading about it, we are trying to find new ways of developing more of it, by attending courses or seminars devoted to it or buying the latest self help book. Some of us have experimented with therapies like hypnosis to help us to develop it, so where do you sit you in this mix? Have you discovered the secret to your confidence or are you like many us, a searcher for the holy grail of confidence? Well I have to tell you that this is a big subject and there is no holy grail.
Now I’m pretty sure that we are all painfully aware of the issues surrounding women in the workplace: the fact that many of us struggle to find and use our voice when it matters, the fact that many fail to ‘go for it’ when it comes to promotion time or in business. We all have our inner voice, you know the ones that spring into action without a direct invitation; the guides that when we’re feeling positive propel us into action, and when we are feeling doubtful drain our ability to move forward Some of the behaviours that we repeatedly indulge in are:
* Overthinking and ultimately allowing that doubting inner voice to take control & sabotage our intentions.
* People pleasing * Inability to bounce back from setbacks or negative feedback. Why? Because we mistakingly allow that doubting inner voice to convince us that we are not meant to learn and grow from setbacks or negative feedback! That little voice actually persuades us that we are the only person in the world who has experienced a setback, and that somehow there’s an audience watching, and waiting for us to curl up in a ball, never to try again!
* Lack of self belief. Seriously, you’ve got the degree, diploma or certificate. You’ve got so much experience in your subject that you could teach it or write a book! You are competence personified, and yet…… and yet somehow that doubting inner voice manages to persuade you that your level of competence is not enough!! Seriously? How many times have you counselled someone who underplays their abilities? Where you are literally pulling your hair out in exasperation because they won’t step out and go for it? Well look in the mirror, because that may be you. This is a gap in your confidence not your ability. Ultimately If the gap between our confidence and our competence grows too big, it becomes a problem.
* Competence and confidence are linked; It’s hardly surprising that we suffer from this hesitation, this confidence issue after all, despite our enormous achievements over decades, women are still judged and measured by metrics overwhelmingly designed by the males of the species! Lest we forget, most leadership business models are based on them…even now! Confidence is part of our personal power and it involves finding the courage to own it; you have to get out of your head to own your confidence. It’s about being able to jump in and take action without the burden of that doubting inner voice telling you to overthink and practice ‘analysis to paralysis’! So, how do you conquer that doubting inner voice? Well….you don’t.
* Ultimately it’s your voice and it can be helpful in encouraging you to reflect and doublecheck yourself, to ensure that you are fully prepared for whatever is ahead.
* It’s always good to listen to your doubting inner voice just in case your positive inner voice has overlooked some vital element….our intuition is designed to propel us forward as well as hold us back if something isn’t right or if we are really not ready for action.
* Once you listen to your doubting inner voice and question what it’s highlighting, you can decide whether its just good old fashioned fear in which case you can thank it for visiting and ask it to leave; if however you find that it’s your intuition speaking and that theres a good reason for holding back, you’ll be better prepared and more confident once you do decide to take action.
Confidence often means having the courage to turn thoughts into actions. confidence is about the ability to #just do it. So the next time you want to do something and you feel the hesitation setting in, acknowledge the voice, decide whether its fear and if it is, mute the little inner voice and just do it!