This is a guest post from personal development coach Donna Hubbard.
When I look back at my life I can see a clear pattern between how I was feeling about myself at the time and the type of events taking place for me. Focusing in on certain moments where I was feeling good and waking tall, I can see how good opportunities just seemed to appear. Compare this to times where for whatever reason I had lost my sense of self, and the opposite was true. Life just felt harder.
Life’s a journey and we’re all (including us very human & imperfect Coaches...) on a continual road of self evolvement. Something I've come to realise through my own personal experiences and hearing those of my clients, is that how we feel about ourselves is not only a result of what we experience in our life, but actually a huge contributing factor.
The Pendulum Effect
Challenging events can and do chip away at our self confidence. However the pendulum swings the other way too. If we don’t take the time to rebuild a positive relationship with who we are, then external events will continue to control us.
Reflecting on some of the more challenging times, I can see that the real problem was not in what was happening to me, but in how I was responding. Instead of taking care of myself, I turned on myself with self criticism. Instead of focusing on making me feel good about me, I looked outwardly for approval. Rather than staking a claim on my self confidence I abandoned it, I left it outside in the rain. Only when I began to invest time and energy into building a better relationship with myself, did things begin to improve.
Is it Time to Reclaim Your Self Confidence?
We usually receive warning signs when our self confidence needs some attention, such as worrying too much about what other people think of us or holding ourselves back in some way. When those signs are there it’s time to act. Phase one, ‘Feeling Good’ (below) is all about shaking up how you feel within yourself on a daily basis, so that this shift in your physiology can begin to open up a better outlook for you. Phase two ‘Making Waves’ will follow in my next blog coming soon.
Phase One: "Feeling Good"
Step 1 - Regroup
First things first, take some time to regroup with yourself by doing the things that make you feel good about being in your own skin. I have seen with my own eyes the dramatic difference jumping back on his bike (literally) made to one cycle mad client, it transformed him. It helped to bring back that spring in his step that he had lost. And that’s because doing the things that make us feel awesome changes our mind set dramatically. The physiological changes these type of activities evoke takes our minds from a place of “No I can’t” to “Yes I blimin can” almost instantly.
What things lift you to a place of “Yes I can”? Can’t think of any? Well ok let me ask you this...What one thing, if you started doing it on a regular basis from today, would make you like who you are more? Would make you respect yourself more? Whatever just popped into your head, go do it and keep doing it. Notice how you start to feel as a result.
Step 2 - Be On Your Side
Life is a lot easier if we can find a way to be our own biggest supporter. And not just when things are going well for us, but especially when the chips are down. The times when we make a mistake, fail or feel afraid, are those when our attitude towards ourselves can quite literally make or break us.
So how can you support yourself more? Is it a case of changing what you say to yourself? Is it giving yourself permission to not have to be perfect all the time? Start to notice when you are not being ‘on your own team’ and choose to think and act in a way that supports you. This way as long as you have you, you will never be alone.
Step 3 - Turn Up as the Real You
Do you ever find yourself not quite being the real you in situations? If you do, then you know how awful this feels. There is probably no more a draining and highly disempowering state to find yourself in than ‘situation acting’. When we do this we are hiding behind an edited version of ourselves because we have decided (whether accurately or not) that those around us won’t like or accept who we are. This coping strategy is incredibly corrosive to our self confidence because every time we do it two things happen;
1) It gives us further ‘proof’ that we’re not good enough - “How come everybody else can just be themselves?”
2) It feels fake and so puts us slightly on edge, making us less effective and more likely to experience a negative outcome.
How can you turn up as the real You more often? What small changes would make a big difference? Would standing in a way that is more natural to you help you to relax? Would it help you to be the real you in that next ‘scary’ meeting if you imagined all of your friends sat behind you rooting for you? The more you practice showing up as the real you the easier and more rewarding it will become.
Your Best Life Enhancement Tool
So what advice would I give to the me of yesteryear when she would lose her way occasionally? Most likely; “Press pause, do all things that make you feel good about You, and then when you’re ready, retake the reins.” In other words (and this is for you too) stake a claim on the best life enhancement tool you have – your Self Confidence.
Donna Hubbard is a Certified Coach and the founder of Be Dynamic Coaching, a coaching company who help individuals to increase your self confidence and walk a little taller.
The Mind & Body Confidence Event, Sat 7th March, Hampshire
This March we're celebrating International Women's Day 2015 by hosting The Mind & Body Confidence Event. If you would like to take a well deserved day for You and focus on cultivating your self confidence, then come and join in the fun. Why not bring a friend and enjoy the day together? For more information or to book your place at this exclusive event, please click here.