If you were to take a reading of your confidence right now – what word would describe it? I love poppies and we are loving the wild garden that has been planted directly across from our house. However, this particular poppy reminded me of what happens when confidence is eroded, so I decided to write this post about the six factors that can erode confidence. These confidence stealers were identified in my research a few years ago. Are you experiencing any of them?
1. Other people’s negativity. We all know how draining it can be to spend time with people who are either negative about themselves, the world, everyone they talk about, and You! It’s easy to ‘catch’ some of this negativity for ourselves. So keep a watching brief on the people you spend time with. Challenge the negativity, and if it feels contagious take a step back if you can.
2. Excessive challenge. Challenge and stress are a necessary part of life and some of us thrive on challenge. However, even for those who love nothing more than a complex and demanding challenge, our bodies are not designed to live under the umbrella of excessive challenge. In a book published some years ago called Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers, Robert Sapoisky spells out in clear terms what happens in our bodies when we are under excessive unrelenting challenge. It is not a happy picture.
3. An unrealistic workload. Sometimes our unrealistic workload and expectations of ourselves are set by ourselves and sometimes set by others. Either way, an unrealistic and unrelenting workload will result in us feeling that we are never achieving enough, never at the end of what we have to do, and generally feeling we are not succeeding. And what reward does our confidence (and our bodies) get for completing a task… another one!
4. Lack of control. I have yet to find the person who is completely comfortable when they and everything around them is out of control. Feeling out of control is just that – a feeling. Feeling in control gives us a great sense of confidence, feeling completely out of control is a scary place. Of course, we need a dose of realism about what we can actually control, but the more we have a sense of control over our main life choices the more confident we are likely to be.
5. Feeling negative about yourself and assuming other people feel the same. This one is for all those people out there who can be pretty tough on themselves, feeling they are ‘never’ good enough, clever enough, smart enough, talented enough, never could do a great job or be the star. This is an unhelpful trend and really saps at any sense of confidence – it is compounded greatly when we put everyone else in our own negative viewpoint. We have no idea what they are thinking unless we ask. We leads to the next confidence stealer.
6. Lack of feedback. There is good evidence to suggest that if we are not getting feedback we default to feeling that any feedback given would be critical. There is no evidence for this of course. Perhaps you can test this by asking for some feedback from someone you trust to be honest and helpful.
Check out your own confidence level, and have a good look to see if any of the six factors are impacting on you right now. Self awareness is the beginning of taking steps to revitalise your confidence and stop the droop. What areas do you need to think about, challenge or change in order to give your confidence a better chance of blooming?
These are six of the stealers identified in my experience. Are there any others you’d like to share? In next week’s Blog, I’ll write about the factors which increase confidence. Look out for that next Friday.