Confidence and Getting Out of Your Own Way

confidenceOK. Let’s cut to the chase. Do you sometimes struggle with confidence or self-belief?

Yes? So do many others.  Including people at the very top.

The great thing is, there is something you can do about it.  And it’s mostly to do with getting out of your own way.

What do I mean?

Well, we tend to be great at building and nurturing beliefs about ourselves that mean we do ourselves, and our confidence, a dis-service. I sometimes call these our ‘stories’.

These are probably stories we’ve told ourselves since childhood.

They might go something like this:

“I’m not good enough”

“I’m afraid I’ll fail”

“What will others think of me?”

“I’ll look stupid/mess up”

and probably thousands of others.

We tend to tell ourselves those stories whether or not they’re true. The thing is, our minds cannot distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined – we react in the same way to both.  So when we repeatedly tell ourselves that story, the one that’s unhelpful and possibly not even true, we start to believe it.

Then our stress levels rise.  We concentrate on our worries, our anxiety, our fear of failure, our ‘what ifs’, rather than the task in hand.

Not surprisingly, we set ourselves up for the very thing we fear – that we’ll mess up, that we’re not good enough, that we’ll look stupid, that we’ll fail. Which means that’s exactly what tends to happen – or, at least, it does so in our own minds. Because all we focus on now are the bits that go wrong, the nerves in our stomach, the looks on people’s faces that we decide are negative reactions. We don’t even notice or acknowledge when things are going well.

This confirms our ‘story’ even more.

And so it goes on.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way

What if your story is out of date, past its ‘sell-by’ date? What if it may have been true once or twice, but it no longer is. What if, even if your fear is sometimes still true, it isn’t helpful, and simply sets you up to ‘fail’ and lose confidence?

I wonder what would be a more helpful ‘story’ or belief for yourself? One that will help you succeed, build your confidence, and perhaps even be more true?

Could it be along these lines:

“I can do this”

“I am capable and confident”

“Things go well when I believe in myself and am my own best cheerleader”

“I will do my best, and that’s good enough”

or something else that works for you?

How many times could you say that to yourself? (Hint: it needs to be at least as many times as you currently tell yourself the story that’s unhelpful)

When will you notice that it is already true for yourself?

How great will your confidence and self-belief be if you get out of your own way?

I challenge you to give it a go! And to keep going.

And then let me know.

Read more about how to sabotage your confidence and what to do about it here. And read about a client who rebuilt her confidence and the impact that had on her and her life here.


2 Responses to Confidence and Getting Out of Your Own Way

  1. Mel August 9, 2019 at 7:51 am #

    It was great to be reminded of this Liz. I was telling myself a different story yesterday; “I can do this, I’m doing it and I’m good at it” and it was exhilarating. I felt a bit conceited and overconfident “pride comes before a fall” but actually there are people telling themselves these things and succeeding all of the time. I need to remember that its first of all not just OK but great, and second of all to do it on bad work days too.

    • Elizabeth Juffs August 9, 2019 at 4:25 pm #

      That’s lovely, Mel! There are people telling themselves good, positive things all the time, and they are succeeding. It’s great that you’re joining them!

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