We are often asked to help clients with self-confidence issues, so today I’m sharing a little exercise you may find fun to do. It’s something that has helped many clients.
Self-confidence is largely about how you present yourself. When you look confident, you feel confident. If we continually look downcast and tired, chances are pretty high that people will think we are downcast and tired. These are not traits that inspire a great deal of confidence.
Many of us feel that if people only knew us a little better they would see ‘the real me’, and have more confidence in us – which in turn gives us confidence in ourselves. If others knew our story, they would understand us so much better. We all have a backstory, and just as we don’t know what others around us have been through, so others do not know what we’ve been through. Our own stories are largely untold and unknown, except to those closest to us.
I am not advocating going out and telling the world your darkest secrets and history. Far from it. However, we do to some extent show our history and demonstrate our story every time we get up in the morning. We are a product of that story, after all. Had your story been a little different, likely you would be a little different. In other words, how we present ourselves is the result of who we are and what our backstory includes.
As an exercise today I’d like you to try something a little unusual. Take a moment to review how far you’ve come. What challenges have you overcome in life? However insignificant they may appear to others, what hurdles have you overcome and what challenges have you had to surmount? Perhaps you have to overcome something on a day to day basis. Some of these will seem quite trivial to some people, however to you they may be far from minor. It’s your experience of this that counts, not others.
Take a moment to write down the highlights of these challenges, setbacks and victories. You needn’t go into deep detail, but make a note of them. Then expand them just a little, so you are creating a biographical summary. You are illustrating who you are, how you got here, and the challenges you’ve overcome to do so. This is quite a personal document, and it’s likely you won’t want to share it with many people. That’s fine.
When I hear some of my client’s stories I am amazed by their bravery. No one hands out medals for this kind of bravery, and most will go through life with no recognition for the courage they’ve had to develop. Whether it’s the teen struggling with body image issues who dreads the unkind words of a thoughtless classmate, or the senior executive who faces blind panic every time they have to give a presentation to investors, and yet they draw on courage to get past those moments.
Now that you have a written summary of who you are, and what you’ve come through, you can likely see you’ve already come a long way. Not only that, you’re still in the game. You’re not giving up anytime soon, either. Now consider this; if people knew your story they’d probably find you inspiring, and certainly they’d have confidence in you. Think how different things might be.
So, from this point onward, I want you to adopt a slightly different way of thinking about yourself. From here on in, you present yourself as this individual who has already come a long way. With every step, with every clothing choice, hair style and mannerism, you are going to project the fact that you’ve already been through the mill, and you’re still in the game. When you are going to meet a friend, or go to work, or out on the town – you are silently telling your story. You do it with your body language, your attitude and every unspoken form of communication there is.
“This is who I am – look how far I’ve come!”, is the message that you project with every passing moment. The ability to silently acknowledge that you may not be there yet, but you’ve come a long way, and you’re still in the game, will begin to build your confidence. As you demonstrate your awareness of yourself, you’ll gradually find others have more confidence in you.
28 Feb, 2016.