Wavering confidence – 8 useful tools to get you back on track

Confidence is something we all possess naturally. Yet what affects your confidence can be different for everyone, regardless of our seniority, experience, gender or age.

Confidence is about believing in yourself and accepting yourself for who you are. However confidence is not a fixed attribute and in high pressure environments, sustaining the level of inner self confidence that leaders need to succeed can be challenging in itself.

No one is immune and knocks will happen.

Long term low confidence dips can lead to serious problems; so getting back on track quickly when your confidence has taken a hit is essential.

Below are a set of useful tools that you can put into practice quickly.

Identify the positivesIdentify three positive aspects of the situation you’re experiencing. This helps focus and makes difficult situations more manageable. For example, if you have a knotty negotiation or business challenge, reflect on three things that you are learning from it. Identifying the achievements within your challenges can help you maintain a positive attitude when you need it. 

Start small. Identify one thing that you could do to move forward positively. Confidence is the outcome of the thoughts that we have and the actions we take, so focus on small actions and the cumulative effect will build.

Give yourself space. If you’re experiencing a sudden waver in confidence, do what you can to give yourself space from business critical decision making. Holding off for 24 or 48 hours will give you time to get perspective so that your mindset is where you need it to be when you need it..

Break the loop. When you sense your confidence starting to shake, interrupt the thought process cycle. The human brain identifies when we’re approaching a highly emotional situation and matches it to our normal bodily stress reaction. That cycle can be consciously broken by forcing a different emotion or response. Try counting to ten. Or have a pre-prepared ‘replacement thought’ to remind yourself of an alternative perspective. For example “I’m reassured by the fact that this situation will never have the power to change who I am or what I love“.

Be kind (to you). When you’re feeling like you’ve had a knock, take a few minutes out. Write down the negative thoughts and worries that are coming up in your mind. Take three big breaths, and then look at what you’ve written. Then look at it again through a lens of self kindness. What do you see?

Reflect. Recall a time when your confidence was at a high. Think deeply about this particular event e.g. What were you doing? Who were you with? Where were you?  What were you feeling? 

Physical confidence. Stand or sit up tall, shoulders back, chin up and smile. There is a deeply rooted connection between our physical, emotional and mental states, which means that one has a direct impact on the other. Get your body in position, and the rest will follow. 

Perspective. Remember that the concept of ‘confidence’ does not have the power over you. In neuroscience terms, confidence is a tiny emotional loop in the brains limbic system. You are bigger than your confidence. And you have the complete power over it, always.

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