In my last blog post, I spoke about why I believe confidence is a skill anyone can learn. If you missed it, head over here to read it first.
If it has sparked your interest and you want to start building the skill in your life and career, you will like this post where I share two specific tools that will help you, as they helped my clients and me.
Step out of your comfort zone
Defaulting to the comfort zone is the biggest obstacle to more confidence in life. It has a strange name, actually, because it does not always mean we feel comfortable being there.
For example, if you are sitting in a meeting with many people and suddenly have an idea you want to share, but before you open your mouth to speak up, you notice an intense rush of fear of being heard, seen and judged. It feels so overwhelming that you decide to stay quiet. You still feel uncomfortable because some part of you wants to be heard, but the need to feel SAFE keeps you quiet.
That is commonly referred to as a comfort zone. As long as your default behavior stays there, you train your mind always to operate this way. At first, it happens only in significant events, but later it shows up in smaller settings. Instead of expanding, which is what you really want, you start collapsing.
To break free from this default behavior, I want to invite you to insert a new default behavior - BOLD ACTION.
In practice, this would mean that you go straight into action whenever you notice a sensation of fear that calls for avoidance. You face your fear, and you do the thing that scares you. The key is not to do it perfectly or get others to like what you say or do. The key is to train your mind that fear does not trigger avoidance. The beauty of doing this regularly is that you will start building evidence that fear does not stop you. Once this is in place, you can start 'polishing' the action itself. E.g., at first, you may have spoken up just to say something and break the habit of staying quiet, and now, you can step up your game and start bringing up new ideas or even disagree with others.
Goes hand in hand with stepping out of your comfort zone. Why? Because at first, you will feel bad about saying something or doing things you previously avoided.
It will feel messy.
You may sound awkward or unconvincing. You may notice that others don't agree with your ideas or don't respond well to your new behavior. It will drive you into your head. You may struggle with not being in control or perfectly polished, as you may have been in the 'silence land'. But that's great. It only shows that you have started creating a change for yourself, so inserting self-compassion here is so important.
I want to encourage you to recognize yourself at the end of each day for all the 'new' things you have done. How many times have you spoken up where you would have remained silent in the past? How many times have you felt awkward but survived? It's ok to be messy; it's ok not be perfect. Remember, it's a skill you are learning. It will get better over time if you stay with it.
I hope these were helpful and inspired you to start taking consistent action. If you have any questions about implementing these, feel free to reach out.
Let me know in which area of your life you want to try these.