Whenever I’m coaching an individual or conducting a Team Workshop, when it comes to being more confident, I never assume confidence means the same thing to everyone, nor should you be treating it as a “one size fits all” approach.
What is self-confidence? By definition,
“Confidence is to be secure in yourself and your abilities.”
What does being secure in yourself look like? This is the million-dollar question. For everyone “being secure in yourself” manifests in different ways. In order to better understand ones’ self you need to understand what lies beneath the actions/behaviours one displays to the world. Are those actions/behaviours that are projected to the world what you truly want to project or is it as a consequence of one’s inner thoughts? And if it is one’s inner thoughts, how does one go about taking the necessary steps to change the thoughts that create the behaviour? Let me introduce you to what I’ve coined “The Self-Confidence Wheel”:
The Self-Confidence Wheel – Consists of 5 segments, Perception, Reflection, Projection, Inflection, and Intention.
Perception – Everyone has a certain view of the world, when we are a baby we are like sponges we absorb EVERYTHING that comes in front of us. There is no filter, there is no internal monologue we just ABSORB! We take everything as truth because we haven’t yet worked out how to make sense of the information being thrown at us. What we see, what we’re told, what we feel/touch etc.
Our view of the world is mostly shaped by the following: our upbringing, our culture, our religion/faith or atheism, our values, our past experiences/our memories, political views, the choices and decisions we’ve made, what other people have said to us about their “perceptions” of us, our relationships with others and the outcomes of those relationships.
This perception of the world is filtered through what’s important to us. So at times we delete information or memories because it’s not important to us or we want to block out due to pain, or we distort past memories or information coming at us or we like to generalize to make things easier like a “one size fits all approach”. But it doesn’t stop there.
We spend our entire lives re-living those experiences over and over, in some perverse way it gives us a sense of security or comfort because its familiar. Even if it’s painful!
Even if we know how the story is going to end and at the same time we hope for a different outcome. How can we achieve a different outcome if we’re replaying the same song over and over? So then we get disappointed, frustrated, apathetic and as a result we go in search of affirming what we know to be true … “our truth” through our perception of our world.
For example, if you’ve spent your whole life feeling that you need to work hard to be loved or liked or wanting to just “belong” or feel “Safe and Secure”, your behavior and actions will be the result of that internal thought and hence your view of yourself. In effect, this perception will continue and be reinforced if you continue to use the same perceptions you’ve always had.
Over time the pattern will continue over and over and sometimes become magnified and impact your life in many ways. Some examples of how perception can impact your life:
- You play too small and stay within your comfort zone because you don’t want to look like a fool, a failure or being criticized by others saying “I told you so”; so you remain in a dull job or loveless marriage.
- You self-sabotage so you can never reach your full potential, perhaps those little demons rear their ugly voices and start telling you a hundred reasons why you’re not worthy of X. So maybe you want to reject that person before they go out and reject you?
- You settle for second best because you “rationalize” by saying “I’m not lucky enough, or pretty enough or smart enough etc” so you remain in sub-standard job or relationship.
- You become negative and bitter with your life so you start to bully/taunt/criticize others hopes, dreams and goals for themselves, because you are too afraid to take the risk yourself.
- Perhaps you’re more competitive with others, you like to win at any cost, so you want to take down the competition because you’re afraid that they’ll out shine you. So you feel territorial so you blindside the competition, deflect blame and “manage up” to be perceived as something that you’re not.
- You don’t let others get too close, you put up walls because you’ve been burned in the past so you protect yourself from further hurt.
- You allow others to over step your personal boundaries because you’ve been told from a young age that your feelings don’t matter. Your opinions don’t matter. Perhaps past experience has shown you that when you’ve had the courage to stand your boundaries that those in authority have disappointed you and let you down. Perhaps they turned a blind eye to the injustice that was staring them in the face? So they swept everything under the carpet in the home that “You just GO AWAY!” So you came to the conclusion “belief, TRUTH” that you’re not worthy of being treated as an equal. You accept bad treatment because that’s the way it’s always been, so why should you matter to anyone now?
Hopefully at this point of my Blog you can resonate or at least follow what I’m trying to say. If you’re still with me read on…as the next step to building confidence is what I call – Reflection.
Reflection – We have now learned that how we perceive the world around us through those many internal filters, we as humans want to start to “add meaning” to all those thoughts that fly around in our heads. We want to make sense of it. The reflection phase starts young and is magnified during our teenage years.
All the stuff that has been going on within our “Perception” starts to take its hold by the time you’re an adult. This perception becomes “Belief” a belief is “our truth”. It becomes “our truth” because the belief becomes entangled within our “emotions”. Emotions are one of the most powerful Human Motivators. It motivates you for fight or flight. Emotions help you sift through whatever experience you’re currently going through and trigger you into action through those internal filters.
I’ll give you an example, think back to your School Days. What is the first thought that jumps into your mind? Is it positive or negative? How do you know if it’s a positive or negative thought? Perhaps because its tied up to a strong emotion? Do you feel joy and elation a sense of pride and achievement or feelings of dread, feelings of stupidity or sickness in the pit of your stomach? This is how we as humans segment our lives. So, in this case, if Education was a positive experience, you’ll probably be keen to continue with education throughout the course of your life. If Schooling was a negative experience, then perhaps you’ve become part of the “School of Hard Knocks” and gone out into the world to gain Education through the experience of Life.
The two hardest patterns to break are “Perception and Reflection”. Because after all, if you can’t trust what you see, hear or feel and then try to make sense of what you’ve seen, heard or felt how do you survive as a human being? Well the answer is, we are all in the same boat. But that’s the beauty and at times the curse of humanity. It all comes down to how we Project our Perception and Reflection to the outside work.
Projection – If we continue our way of thinking and feeling and the meaning we give it, it impacts the way we present ourselves to the world. It impacts on our health and well being, our relationships both personal and work, our finances just to name a few. We are all unique individuals with many complexities that make up our DNA. However, as a Leadership Coach and Profiler the most common goals I see in people are that they just want to be “Happy”.
Everyone goes in search for Happiness. We go searching outside ourselves in the hope that that thing or person will make us happy. We say things like: If I got a better job, a higher salary, a loving relationship, have a baby, buy a house the list goes on. For many of us acquiring those things do make us happy. Have you heard the countless stories of celebrities that seem to “have it all” and are caught up in “drugs/alcohol/relationship abuse”? Does having all these external things really make us “HAPPY”? I’m not here to give you a lecture as Happiness is different for everyone so that answer I’ll leave with you if that’s ok? No judgement at my end as I’ve also chased those very things. Most of the time that is what society says you should do right?
All I’m saying is that Perception and Reflection determines your Projection of the World around you. Are you projecting the right YOU? You’re authentic you? How do you know? I generally help my clients diagnose their Perception and Reflection through several diagnostic tools that I use to fast-track and break those belief patterns that are sabotaging my clients’ success. Along with the diagnostic tool it really allows me to Mind Map a person’s internal thinking (48 Motivators to be exact) and how it plays out for them in their real lives.
Building Confidence is not easy, and takes time to understand where the gaps are in the Self-Confidence Wheel for each individual. Once identified making the necessary shifts in the right direction can be a lot easier to adjust and can be done in a step by step fashion that its almost a natural progression. This is where the learning can become unstuck when we start with changing behaviours without first understanding the internal clockwork?
We are now ready to transition into the Transformation part of the Self-Confidence wheel which I call – Inflection.
Inflection – This is where we have the opportunity to break the pattern, turn it upside down and create an alternative Perception and Reflection that will modify Projection. For me my point of difference is this diagnostic tool and Mind Mapping Session and I pair it up with, understanding past history, how it affects present circumstance and how to create an alternate future.
One of the biggest drivers within my Leadership and Profiling Practice is being a strong advocate in anti-bullying and this is where I can help individuals that are survivors of bullying in the workplace and help them uncover and make sense of their “Perception, Reflection and how they’re Projection is affecting their Self-Confidence”. As a Survivor of bullying myself it does skew your Perception and Reflection of the world around you. It damages your self-esteem, your boundary lines and trust. You spend your life trying to protect yourself from harm and at times you feel like even though you are doing everything “right” that somehow that still doesn’t work. Do you ever wonder why some people seem to be bullied more while some never have? I have an interesting theory that I’m currently researching but will save it for another Blog Post.
My point is, that in order to break the thought patterns and beliefs one much approach it from a different mindset. How you do this, depends on what battles you are facing and looking to overcome. Which leads me nicely to setting your Intention for Change!
Intention – Nothing good comes from a place of inactivity, you must set clear intention and move towards action to achieve the change you’re looking to make. Have an attitude of “Relentless Determination.” My recommendation is, always start with the end in mind! What is your Future Intention? What do you want to have in life? Then work backwards, who do you need to be today to transition into that new tomorrow? What actions do you need to take today to bring you closer to your goal? It all starts with recognizing that Self-Confidence is an inside job and that you have the power to make it your bitch!
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right!” – Henry Ford
Call to Action:
Paula Dunn is the Founder and Director of No Limits Consulting, a Leadership and Profiling Practice that specialises in Survivors of Bullying in the workplace. If you’ve been bullied in the workplace and would like to learn more about how I can help you regain your Confidence and Empower you to move forward as a “Limited Edition Leader” please book in for a confidential free 30 min call at: www.nolimitsconsulting.com.au