Based on my research, there are certain conditions that positively enhance and encourage confidence. Confidence is not a fixed state: it is influenced by a wide range of factors including the environment and contacts we have around us.
Make sure you create the environment and relationships around you that support your confidence. Here are 5 confidence boosters.
1. Being listened to. Being listened to (and heard!) is one of the gifts we can offer each other as human beings. Perhaps being listened too begins by developing ourselves as good listeners, and developing relationships where that gift of listening can be shared and is mutual. In a coaching setting, sometimes the coach is the first person who has truly listened without any agenda to the client: listening to hear rather than listen to speak. Find ways of offering and receiving listening of that quality.
2. Feeling supported. Life is a mix of joy and sorrow – that is just how it is! Having a network of support around gives us the confidence to face the tough times, and stretch ourselves. In the year 2000 I worked on and still have a personal mission statement that covers the important areas of my life. One of the statements is that I will nurture and encourage my children to lead independent lives making sure they know they will always have a place of support when they need it. Feeling supported helps us to confidently face the tough times in life. Ensure that within your relationships you have people who act as ‘radiators’ in times of challenge and not only ‘drains’.
3. Feeling more in control. During the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow one of the athletes talked about the need to control what you can control and not fret about what you can’t. Feeling more in control begins with focussing on what you can control – ie focus on the right things!
4. Having a sense of hopefulness. Hope in its best form is a sure and certain belief, not some kind of wishy washy blindness to reality. It is intrinsically linked with optimism and self belief. If you are someone who is always looking at the clouds and expecting rain, go read some great books on the importance of positivity for well-being, or find someone who can support you to take a more positive view of life. Having a sense of hopefulness is a key building block of confidence.
5. Receiving feedback. Don’t default to wondering and speculating about what people are thinking about you or your performance, ask for feedback. Ken Blanchard says that “Feeback is the breakfast of champions” and there is wisdom in this. Feedback allows you to understand how other people experience you. Treat less positive feedback purely as information which you can use as you choose, and gain confidence from positive feedback which affirms your self confidence.
The picture for this Blog is a poppy doing what it does best: blooming confidently. Work on your confidence and be the best you can be too.