The third in our series on what holds us back from going after our goals, today we look at lack of confidence.
If the thing holding you back isn't a deep seated fear of failure or success, often it is lack of confidence. Clearly, this correlates strongly with fear of failure, but it is worthy of its own blog post, if for no other reason than I see this very often in clients. It seems to be particularly prevalent in mothers returning to a career path after a break for child care, but it can effect any gender, at any age group, at any point.
Don't let it show.
Sometimes people will not believe that you lack confidence because they see you as a confident person or know you from another point in your life where you had tons of confidence. But confidence is a tricky thing and although you could be the most confident person in a meeting, you may dread giving presentations or pulling together reports. As annoying as it is when others assume you are more confident than you are, it also tells us something. It tells us that other people have NO IDEA how confident we are. There may be some obvious behavioural clues about nerves - being flushed, stuttering, eye contact - but nobody knows what is happening inside us. So lesson number one - don't let your lack of confidence become obvious if it doesn't need to be. If you're going into a situation where your nerves may be on show, practice some ways of controlling them. Deep breathing, meditation, whatever works for you to get your body under control.
If you're giving a presentation or being interviewed, practice! Use friends and family, video yourself, record yourself and play it back when you're on a car journey. Many of the people you think of as confident public speakers are only that way because they have invested a large amount of time in practicing that skill.
You are a confidence person. There's probably not a single person in the world who isn't confident at something. What is it for you? There will be lots of things you are confident about. Let's say you're great at cooking, hosting, analytical and in-depth reports and taking care of pets and you feel really confident in all of those areas (or more likely, don't even think about if you are confident or not, the true measure of being confident in something!). You feel you lack confidence in networking and interviewing and that this is holding you back from getting a new or better job position. How can you channel the confidence you have in some areas into others? Firstly, remind yourself that you are both confident and competent at several, diverse things. Secondly, how can you use the skills in which you are confident to help build you up in those areas where you need more work? If you cook, you are good at preparation which bodes well for seeking out jobs. Hosting equals talking to people and putting them at ease which is an essential networking skill as well as being very useful for interviews (do not assume the person interviewing you is without nerves!) Analysis means you can data mine job descriptions and adverts. Taking care of pets means you can cope with the unexpected. None of that is just semantics. They are all great transferable skills which will increase your competence and your confidence in new areas. As long as you keep reminding yourself that you are good at those areas!
Surround yourself with your success.
Create a vision board, have a little shelf, put up a cork board - choose a small area of your home or office and dedicate it to your successes. You have lots. You just don't always think about them. Where have you done well in your life so far? What compliments do people give you and how can you use those to boost your confidence?
Remind yourself of why you want it.
You don't have to be confident to get what you want. You can fake it, you can borrow it from other areas in your life or you can just DO the things you want, regardless of how confident you feel about it. It is completely, 100% ok to walk into a challenging situation and be nervous, even if those nerves show. Because if you really want it, that comes across. So stop letting your lack of confidence hold you back from your goals and your path for the future.
Be bold. Be bright. Be a rebel!