Learning to Become More Confident

Learning to Become More Confident

by | Oct 25, 2016 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Learning to Become More Confident

I recently went to an interesting seminar run by a lady called Samantha Clarke who was talking about Inner Confidence. It was a seminar for business owners but I think many of the principles we discussed are applicable to many situations in life so I’ve written up my notes to share with you.

3 key steps to becoming more confident

1.    Understanding our response to adversity
2.    Take an audit of yourself and those around you
3.    Creating a new narrative for your obstacles

1.    Understanding our response to adversity

We are all products of our early childhood experiences to a greater or lesser degree. What and how we were exposed to things in our childhood often determines how we respond to life now. If there is an area of our lives in which we don’t feel very confident, then when something goes wrong, or doesn’t go to plan, or we mess up in some way in this area then we might react in one of four ways:

    We’ll spiral downhill – feeling more and more despondent about the situation
    We look to someone else to blame for what’s happened
    We’ll think the grass is greener (our thinking will be along the lines “If only I had ……”)
    We’ll go into paralysis – a sort of learned helplessness

It’s useful to spend a bit of time thinking about the patterns of behaviour that were demonstrated to us by parents and siblings whilst we were growing up. Did we grow up in a blame culture? (which might lead us to be a blaming person ourselves); were we encouraged to make mistakes and move on, or where mistakes frowned up as failure? Looking back in this way can help us see some of the ways we respond to events now – and to realise that we can change our responses if we become aware of what our default position is.

After this introduction Samantha then asked us to look at something we’re finding difficult in life right now, and to consider how we’re feeling about it. We reflected on it in light of our typical response. Most of us made quite sweeping statements about it – for example “I’m really bad at dealing with my children’s tantrums” or “If only I had a more understanding partner I’d be able to cope with my children’s tantrums better”. She then got us to break the problem down into sections, and to look at each part in terms of what we do well in that situation and what we could improve upon.

Suddenly when you break a situation or problem down into lots of smaller pieces it changes the way you look at something. You’re unlikely to be weak in all areas, and rather than thinking the whole problem is a disaster area – something you’re completely unconfident in, you can begin to see that there are bits of it that you are good at and other bits that you are weak in.

Consider the issue again and look at what you can do well and what you could improve on. Look at it this way:

Where are your Strengths? (for example courage, determination, flexibility, communication skills.)
What Strategies could you use to move forward? (for example asking for help, problem solving, meditate and self care);
What Resources could you use? (for example friends, mentors, books, support groups, places to visit) and lastly
What Insights might be able to help you? (for example ideas, perspectives or sayings – and I’d add Bible verses)

If you do this exercise with a problem you’re facing and feeling unconfident about and complete the following statements looking at which Strengths, Strategies, Resources and Insights you could use, you’ll find that your confidence towards that situation increases.

I have….
I am…..
I can…
I could….

2.    Take an audit of yourself and those around you

We don’t live lives totally alone and there are often others in our network who could be a great help to us.
When approaching a problem we have, let’s look at three groups of people who could help us.

There are people who love us – group 1.
People with skills in the area of the problem I have – group 2.
And people with influence in the arena of the problem I have – group 3.

Get out a piece of paper and put yourself in the middle and write the issue where you are lacking confidence underneath your name.

Now you want to make three columns for each group and start to brainstorm who you know that would fit into each group. They won’t always be friends or family members – although they might well be. They might be people you’ll have to approach or effect an introduction to. The important thing is to brainstorm at this point.

Once you have your list, then with each person you need to consider how they could help you and how you’ll ask them for help.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see that you don’t have to face this particular problem alone – and that there are a variety of people you can go to for to get help in becoming more confident in this area. And what’s even better, asking them for help with this specific area in your life where you are lacking confidence will probably be a great compliment to them – and chance are they’ll be delighted to help you.

3.    Creating a new narrative for your obstacles.

The way you think affects so much and yet your thinking does not have to be set in stone. The key thing here is to be aware of how you’re thinking and whether your thinking is fixed or developing.

Have a look at the table below

Fixed Mindset        Developing Mindset

•    Something you’re born with
•    Fixed    Skills    •    Comes from hard work
•    Can always improve
•    Something to avoid
•    Could reveal lack of skill
•    Tend to give up easily    Challenges    •    Should be embraced
•    An opportunity to grow
•    More persistent
•    Unnecessary
•    Something to do when you are not good enough    Effort    •    Essential
•    A path to mastery
•    Get defensive
•    Take it personally    Feedback    •    Useful
•    Something to learn from
•    Identify areas to improve
•    Blame others
•    Get discouraged    Set backs    •    Use as a wake up call to work harder next time

Now think of an area in your life where you lack confidence or are struggling in.

Here are some different ways of thinking based on the above table

The pessimist with a fixed mindset            The optimist with a developing mindset

“Set backs are permanent”                “Set backs are temporary”

“I always mess up when I go on a date”        “I messed up on that date last Friday”

“I’m hopeless at contacting others”            “I’m working on getting better at contacting others”

“It’s my fault I’m single”                “There are things I’ve done to contribute to being
single but my Dads illness also has had an impact”

Do you see in these examples above that the way you think about something can have a great impact on how you move forward (or don’t for that matter)? We all have pretty set ways of thinking – and an internal voice that we listen to. But the good news is that we can change our thinking – and we can change that internal voice – and that can lead to us changing our behaviour – and ultimately becoming more confident.

Watch and notice how you think about an area of your life that you aren’t feeling confident in at present. Write down some of the ways you think and see if you can amend them to a more positive mindset and then watch what happens from there. I’ll be amazed if you don’t see a difference.

If you’d like to do one of these exercises or look at an area in your life where you are lacking confidence and apply some of these techniques and ways of thinking to it, we’d be delighted to discuss this on a coaching call.

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