Self Confidence by Paul McGee

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Confidence comes from taking ACTION, not before! Start now!

What is confidence?

  • It’s the belief in your own abilities and potential.

What confidence can do for you

  • Lead you to attempt new things and discover talents you never knew you had.
  • Say yes to new opportunities.
  • Fulfil your potential and purpose in life.
  • Inspire and help others.
  • Feel comfortable in your own skin and thereby be more enjoyable to be around.
  • Being secure enough to know it’s okay to make mistakes and that you will continue to make mistakes.

Lack of confidence

  • Can mean we turn down opportunities where we could fulfil our potential and inspire others in turn.

When self-doubt is a good thing

  • It stops you from being complacent.
  • It can motivate you to be prepared and improve.
  • “Self-confidence is not the absence of self-doubt. It’s being able to live with your doubt as your companion but not as your master.”

How to become more confident

  • Small changes and improvements can lead to big changes over time (like compound interest), think of molehills rather than mountains – incremental small and achievable steps that lead you to summit that mountain.
  • You must recognise it will take time and effort.
  • Sometimes people grow when you withdraw some (not all) of your support and help them discover their own internal resources to cope and survive.
  • Reward for effort over results.
  • Value people for who they are not simply what they achieve.

What else do you need other than confidence?

  • Confidence without Competence = Delusion You need ability e.g. think of X-Factor contestants who have the confidence to go on national TV without the ability to sing.
  • Competence without Confidence = Unfulfilled Potential.
  • The winning formula: High Competence + High Confidence = You fulfilling your potential and enjoying success.
  • You need to take action – confidence comes after not before an action – stop waiting for the right moment.

We need support of others to grow in confidence – the 4Cs

  • This is about being interdependent rather than independent or dependent, being too proud or thinking that asking for help is weak.
  • 4 types of people you need in your life: Cheerleader, Challenger, Coach, Confidant.
  • Cheerleader – (YOUR POSITIVE ENCOURAGER) Your encourager and believer in your abilities, they support you emotionally to believe in yourself and remind you of your successes. (Downside – they can be too over optimistic and overambitious for you – when you need a reality check, a Cheerleader isn’t useful.)
  • Challenger – (STRATEGY – HOW) Question your motives, plans and dreams, not to discourage you but to clarify your ambitions, they raise questions you’ve never considered and widen your thinking and possibilities. They help you realise that success is not just about positive energy but that there’s also a need for a strategy. If your progress is slow they won’t just encourage you to press on but will find out the reason why. (Downside – their questions may make you feel they are trying to bring you down even if this is not their intention. When you are lacking in confidence, a Challenger may make the situation worse.)
  • Coach – (YOUR TOOLKIT AND TAKING ACTION) Can be part Cheerleader and Challenger but also go further to explore the tools needed to achieve the goal – they are focused on action. They look at your own internal toolkit and external resources and opportunities. They will hold you accountable to your actions. (Downside – you often have to pay to have this provided as a professional service rather than as a friend – to provide the distance and perspective needed to challenge and hold you to account and to also have the knowledge and experience to provide appropriate guidance in a given area. It can be hard to find the skills of a Coach in your circle of friends.)
  • Confidant (LISTENERS) – People who you trust to listen to your problems and provide emotional support and give you the space to articulate frustrations and concerns, helping you to become calmer and clearer about your situation – they won’t question you about plans or actions. (Downside – they are not there for advice or strategy of how to deal with an issue or even to motivate you to change or achieve a goal. When you need a strategy don’t look to a Confidant.)

Confidence is situational

  • We can be very confident socially but not when e.g. changing a tyre or cooking a meal.
  • It can depend on what we are doing, who we are doing it for, our levels of experience and knowledge.
  • Therefore confidence is not fixed.
  • By examining where we are confident we can understand why we may not be in other areas e.g. limiting beliefs, unconscious fears, practice is needed, and take steps to tackle this or get support.

Remembering your successes

  • What work achievement during the last 3-5 years has given you the most satisfaction?
  • What about outside of work?
  • Analyse your answers using the STAR method.
  • E.g.   Situation: I was overweight by 10kg and unconfident in my appearance.
  • Target: I set a target weight of 70kg by the end of 6 weeks.
  • Action: I changed my diet by reducing carbs and increased exercise by walking 3 miles 5 times a week and joined a slimming club.
  • Result:  I achieved my target weight by the date set. I now feel more confident to achieve other successes with the support of others.

Top tips for public speaking to alleviate anxiety

  • Focus on what your audience wants to hear and benefits to them – and take the spotlight off yourself.
  • Less is more – people are overwhelmed with info these days – cover 3 main points and illustrate with examples.
  • Use props to illustrate your talk and make people remember you.
  • Use stories to appeal to audience emotion.
  • Rehearse – don’t get complacent and then freeze on stage.

Development of self first

  • Work hard on your job, but work harder on yourself.

Perspective is key

  • 2 people going through the same event can respond differently – why? It’s the perspective and meaning they attach to it. So why not adopt a perspective that helps you build confidence rather than limit it?
  • Your perception of a situation is not reality e.g. if I’m feeling empowered and positive about my future it’s likely that I view the world as a place of promise, whereas if I feel victimized, unloved and lacking in hope, I may see the world as an unfair and difficult place. The world hasn’t changed, just your perspective.
  • Avoid allowing your emotions to hijack and distort the reality of your situation – feelings aren’t facts.
  • Perspective and problems
    • 1) Problems are not personal – everyone goes through them, life is not conspiring against you personally;
    • 2) Problems are not pervasive – setbacks can happen in one area of your life and not another. However your thinking can enable them to spread if you are feeling so down by the setback that this feeds into other areas of your life, and you fail to notice the positives or opportunities for solutions;
    • 3) Problems are not permanent – things do change, rather than thinking there’s nothing I can do, how about “How can I influence or improve the situations (even if in a small way)?
  • This is about adopting empowering rather than disempowering beliefs and mindsets.
  • Perspective is also about finding the lessons in your mistakes…it makes it less likely to repeat them.

Handling Conflict Confidently

  • When handled constructively conflict can lead to creative solutions & improved results.
  • Unresolved conflict can’t.
  • In a conflict, are you an Avoider, Aggressor or Assertive?
  • Avoider Pros– you make a conscious decision to avoid conflict perhaps because the outcome is not that important to you or you value peace.
  • Avoider Cons – seen as weak/soft touch, people lose respect, avoidance is seen as acceptance and behavior continues, inward anger and resentment develops.
  • Aggressor Pros – can shake others from complacency, and wake them up.
  • Aggressor Cons – damaged relationships, leaves people feeling victimised, leads to explosive situations, leads to a world of winners and losers.
  • Being assertive and handling conflict constructively
    • 1) accept it as part of life (we are all different with differing views),
    • 2) drop the need for everyone to like you which leads to people pleasing and is born out of insecurity not confidence (you have the right to deal with others without being dependent on them for approval),
    • 3) you have the right to say no without feeling guilty or selfish
    • 4) your ideas and views are valid whether or not someone else agrees,
    • 5) you have the right to set boundaries and communicate these clearly (don’t expect people to be mind readers),
    • 6) you have the right to ask for time to think things over,
    • 7) you have the right to decline feeling responsible for other people’s problems.
  • Being assertive involves rights (as above) but also comes with responsibilities
    • 1) to accept other people’s opinions as valid,
    • 2) to communicate so others understand your needs,
    • 3) accept the consequences of your actions and decisions,
    • 4) that others can choose not to get involved in resolving your problem,
    • 5) not to make unreasonable demands of others in order to alleviate your own stress
  • Have difficult conversations with confidence:
    • 1) be prepared – do you know all of the facts? (confidence comes from clarity),
    • 2) state the facts and then how those facts made you feel e.g. When I talk to you about whether you have done your homework you usually say that I’m nagging and do not trust you (facts). I only want the best for you and feel I cannot ask you about your homework without feeling that I’m nagging you (feelings),
    • 3) Do what you can to help the other person save face -people tend to get defensive when they feel criticized e.g. I appreciate when you made that comment that it may not have been your intention to….or it’s a simple mistake we’ve all made… ,
    • 4) be ready to listen and understand the other person – maybe they will reveal something you hadn’t known e.g. they were stressed, intimidated etc.
    • 5) be solution focused (win-win, rather than win-lose) e.g. ask How can we best resolve this or prevent this happening again? Or simply state your view e.g. In the future, I would really appreciate it if …

Being confident helps others

  • Rather than focusing on yourself and being sensitive about how you come across to them, turn the spotlight on others and how you can help them. In the process you also develop yourself.
  • What if Obama or Martin Luther King hadn’t had the self-belief or confidence to do what they did, how many people would have lost out on their inspiration and good deeds?
  • And it’s not about being confident before you start…it’s about taking the first step and then the next towards the vision of helping others, and you build confidence along the way by stretching yourself out of your comfort zone – you may even be surprised at talents you never knew you had.
  • Gaining confidence is not always the main goal – it can be the byproduct of the actions you take along the way.

Dreaming v Doing

  • Its great to have dreams, but you must have a strategy to implement them and bring them to life. This could be having people alongside you working to take the dream to reality – dreams are the sexy stuff, the non-sexy staff – plans, organising, phone calls, printing – are still essential.

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