The self-help industry is full of powerful-sounding exhortations to transform your thinking: “If you think you can, you can”. “Drive away negative thoughts”. “Let go – be in the flow!” But are you sometimes left feeling inadequate, like maybe others can do it but somehow you can’t? It might be that the missing ingredient is confidence.
I often hear clients say that after coaching they feel much more positive and confident. It’s like something has happened in our work that has boosted their confidence. Yet, it would not be easy to say what precisely that was, just that they felt a whole lot better, usually in relation to particular situations. So what happens that “gives confidence”?
I find that this is where coaching is so valuable, where we can together get to the bottom of what really holds people back from accomplishing what they want. There’s a lot that’s very personal to the individual and it needs to be fleshed out, named and then have strategies worked out to get around or let go of.
The confident person has a certain absence of doubt and fear that otherwise holds them back. People can be very confident in some situations but a complete jelly in another. I’m reminded of very competent executives who are great one-to-one and with their teams but are reduced to shaking wrecks in front of large meetings or events.
Confidence comes with self belief. You believe in yourself and your capabilities in relation to the situation you are dealing with. It’s like you have an inner certainty, at least in the situation you need to deal with. This is not arrogance, pretence, or”faking it”. This is not inauthenticity.
Actually you are being connected to who you are. You are able to let go of “your stuff” with regard to what you need to do. In this situation you are not prey to inner conflicts or they don’t get in the way right now with what you need to do. You can stay calm and “in control”. You know you possess a particular skill and can use it successfully. You can make it work
Not everybody is like this. Some just have confidence per se; they “wing it”, but still have their own inner dramas. I remember people from the analytical tradition in psychology using the word, “well defended”. They could so organise themselves to be able to do what’s needed in the situation in question. Others aren’t so much like that. It’s partly about our ability to manage ourselves such that we can take action unencumbered by self-limiting thoughts and beliefs.
That’s why it is so important, if you have this difficulty, to take the time to find what it really is that holds you back, learn some techniques in self belief of course, but work out how you can best accomplish things in your way that convincingly resolves what holds you back. This means working out how you limit yourself, what actually happens in your particular world, and then discover your own unique way to move beyond self limitation and be all you can be.