On confidence

Over the last several years I have been on a mission to increase my confidence.  I am better than I used to be but still have some bad habits.  Until recently I was blissfully unaware until I got some feedback from my last job interview

“you know your stuff but you need to show more confidence in yourself”

This was pretty surprising as I thought I was coming across confident.  Upon reflection I realise that there are areas that I can focus on to make myself appear more confident.

Self-talk

I am a bad negative self-talker that 90% of the time I don’t realise I am doing it.  This goes down to talking myself down, telling myself I am going to fail or just generally seeing the negative point from a situation.

To improve this I am going to reverse exactly what I do in my head – talk myself up, telling myself I am going to succeed and seeing the positive from each situation.

The risk is I become so successful at telling myself positive thoughts that I become arrogant or big headed – who am I kidding that will never happen… does that count as a negative thought telling myself that I can’t achieve arrogance or big headedness… why am I writing down all the thoughts in my head….

Think about your groups

Walking past a very senior manager who I vaguely knew in the corridor made me a bit nervous.  I put my head down and didn’t say anything.  Other times I walk past people and give a very feeble “hello…” or “alright…” in a weak creaky voice.

Later that day I meet some friends where I was laughing, joking and talking louder than the rest.  Just by doing so my voice was strong and powerful.

This made me think how I speak to different groups:

  • My wife
  • My parents
  • The parents-in-law
  • Elderly relatives
  • Friends
  • Strangers
  • People I work closely with
  • People who work in my building who I don’t know
  • Senior management

I realised a simple approach to get better at talking to people I am not comfortable talking to is imagine that they are one of the groups I am confident speaking with – though naturally I have to avoid being overly familiar or resorting to filthy jokes.

Posture – wear your cape

I was listening to Tony Robbins and one of his exercises he recommended imaging that the listener pretended they was wearing a cape.

Standing up I stood there, puffed my chest out and raised my shoulders.  After  feeling like an idiot subsided I actually felt quite good – I felt taller, I was looking ahead and it made me feel more confident.

Since getting my cape I have taken to walking around the work place in my new more confident posture.  I am not sure if it has made any difference yet apart from having a sore back, but I have found I have made better eye contact with people, received a few more smiles and hellos.

Reflect, reflect, reflect

As part of this goal, I have decided to keep a log of my progression with confidence – where I have had failures in confidence, noticed others showing confidence or shown a lack of confidence and insecurity.

In my role as a manager I have already noted down issues where I am working with people who are much more confident than me.  I write down all the doubts I have.  From these thoughts I write solutions why my doubts are not true.

 

In closing it feels good to start thinking about this soft skill again.  It’s been a long time since I have really thought about assertiveness and confidence, which is a good thing because I obviously have felt improvement in these areas, but it is good to not get complacent as I still have much more that I can do to become a new man.

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6 thoughts on “On confidence

  1. Great post. You it is a bit like fear..you gotta do what you fear. Also, your stepping outside the comfort zone ..then the comgort zone increases and then even more confidence is needed. But the beauty is you just get better and better and remain humble. I posted a you tube vide on maya angelou 10 success tip .. search for it on blog and listen to it … there some seriously great bits in there.. also i shared one on oprah.. i think you will like them both.

    Congrats to you on your steps forward in confidence… i am always working on mine and affirmations work for me ..

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