When it comes to confidence, there are 2 foundational rules you need to keep in mind:
- Confidence is situational
- Confidence is subject to change
You may be confident as a tennis player but crumble at the thought of speaking in front of a large group of strangers. Or perhaps you are a confident speaker, yet sometimes still lose your confidence and feel like a fraud and amateur before an important presentation.
A classic example comes from Jenny, age 42, a small business coach. Jenny has always loved writing. She’s been a writer since she was 10 years old when she wrote her first book. Yet she didn’t feel confident enough to start publishing her work through her blog until 3 years ago.
The first 2 years went well. She received encouraging feedback from peers, she took advanced courses, and she was in the habit of writing daily. She was confident in her ability as a writer.
But a year ago, the ideas started dwindling away. She began approaching writing and creativity with growing anxiety. With the ideas, the confidence left, too.
The more she fell behind, the less she wanted to write, the less confident she felt.
What happened? She surely hadn’t lost her ability to write?
We have a confidence bank account that holds the trust we have in ourselves – our “trust funds.” The kind of trust I talk about is the trust we have in ourselves – the belief in our ability to handle pain and failure, to believe we are good enough, and to succeed.
Turns out, our “trust fund” works the same way as any bank account. If you keep using the funds, you’ll reach a point of over-drafting.
That’s what Jenny had failed to do, and she’d let her confidence bank account run out of funds. She had stopped taking classes, attending peer groups, and fallen out of the habit of writing daily.
How can you replenish the trust in yourself?
1. Take action. It’s the fastest way to reinstate the confidence you once had. Action means movement, and movement releases energetic blockages. In Jenny’s case, she got back into the daily writing habit.
2. Surround yourself with positive people. Our environment influences the way we think of others and ourselves. Complaining and criticizing are the enemies of creative and solution-based thinking. Coming back to Jenny, she had to stop complaining about having no ideas and re-join the writers’ group where she received feedback and encouragement.
3. Use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to release fears and negativity. Sometimes we have to deal with an underlying issue when facing a lack of confidence; sometimes these issues are the reasons why we can’t seem to hold on to our confidence. Even a few minutes of EFT can turn your day around. Jenny realized she had underlying fears about being criticized which stemmed from an experience in high school where a teacher told her she was not good enough to make it as a writer. She used EFT to begin releasing those fears and made progress already after a few days.
It might be a good idea to treat your confidence as your baby – something in need of nurturing and care on daily basis. So make sure you have a trust fund for your baby.
Photo by Eva Fanari, My Planner