If, as a coach, I had a magic wand to use on my clients, and even on myself, I would want one which immediately increased self-confidence. Lack of self confidence is an issue that seems to come up time and again both in my own life and also in the lives of those I coach. And it’s usually hidden away deep behind lots of other issues, stories and excuses.
Recently I was talking with a client about taking his business to the next level, asking what was in the way of getting there. There was a potential partner interested to help to scale the business but he was questioning if the partner was the right fit. Then there was the owner of the factory which made his product, and worries about whether the factory would renew his contract when it came up for renewal next month. Initially, we talked about these “legitimate” worries. Why the production contract may not be renewed (e.g., business was slow getting started) and whether there was enough business and product yet to justify bringing on a partner to help drive sales. When I probed a bit on these issues, we found that these worries were, essentially, imagined and not actually based on known facts. It took a bit more digging, but at the bottom of it all he finally spoke his deepest truth – “I’m afraid I can’t do it.”
I knew we’d found the core issue in that statement, and at the same time we’d stumbled across an issue near and dear to me as well, because the very moment he verbalised it I felt a sudden surge of emotion well up in me, and, for a split second, my eyes teared up. My client had not only expressed his inner truth about what was holding him back, but he had held a mirror up to me and made me face my own deepest barrier to success.
Had I held in my hand at that moment my magic wand of self-confidence, I could have taken care of both of us, but we were left to process things a bit more practically. I turned to my own coach trainer, Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott, and her book “If Success if a Game, These are the Rules”.
Dr. Cherie points out that we are all born with an innate sense of self confidence. How would children learn to crawl or walk if they didn’t have confidence they could get somewhere? And at that stage of development, in most cases, our parents or primary caregivers are encouraging us to take those big first steps, reassuring us to keep at it. But then things start to change. We are told not to get too close to the edge of the pool, to slow down, not to touch this or that, etc, in order to protect ourselves from getting hurt. The final result is that, even having been raised by the most loving of parents, by the time we mature into adults our level of confidence is often significantly depleted.
Many people become adept at covering up their lack of self confidence by blaming others or finding excuses to actually taking new steps in life, staying stuck where they are. I run into these people almost every day. But for those brave enough to look inside and be honest and aware about what’s missing, there are two ways to regain that lost intrinsic sense of confidence: inner exploration and outer imprinting.
While these two approaches may sound deep and complicated, they are not. Inner exploration simply means taking small steps, on your own, to move toward your goal. Just like a baby taking her first steps, each one leads to another and self confidence grows. If your goal is to build a house, start with the absolute basics of laying a few bricks and after time you will see progress which will reinforce your inner confidence.
Outer imprinting means seeking out external affirmation or confirmation for what you are doing. Find a friend, mentor, coach, or someone who you know has expertise in your field and seek out not only advice, but affirmation (so long as it is honest) for what you are doing.
By intentionally taking small, measurable steps and proactively seeking out affirmation for what you are doing you will be able to slowly refill your fuel tank of confidence. It takes time to reverse what is could well have been years of confidence depletion, so don’t expect things to magically change overnight. But until I find that magic wand I’m looking for, there is no other way to boost your self-confidence, which is key to actually getting what you want in life.
So what’s the first step you can take TODAY to move in the direction you want to head, and who can you get involved in your life to affirm you’re on the right path?