by M.J. Ryan
If there is one thing that I work with most of my clients on, including SheEO ventures, it’s what typically people call self confidence. I prefer to cultivate self trust. Confidence is something that wavers depending on circumstances. Self trust has a groundedness to it. It has three components: self awareness: “I know who I am and what abilities I have”; self acceptance: “I am ok as I am”: and self reliance: “I know how to use what I have to move through life.” If this is something you’d like to work on, here are some starting places:
- When you are stuck on making a choice or decision and think, I don’t know what to do, bring to mind the wisest person you know. It could be someone you know personally—like your father or grandmother. Or it could be an historical figure you admire, like Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. What would they do in this situation? Then do that.
- If you’re someone who always blames him or herself when things go wrong, ask yourself, what other factors contributed to this situation besides me? Force yourself to come up with other reasons beside it’s all your fault.
- Can’t remember a fact, a name? Relax your mind and let it go. The answer will mostly likely soon pop into your head. And if it doesn’t, give yourself permission to be human. You’ll be doing the listener a favor too, as he or she is reminded that it’s ok not to be perfect.
- Have trouble saying no? Get in the habit of saying, “I’ll get back to you” instead. That way you can consider in the privacy of your own mind whether the request is something you can do or not. Then inform the other person of your decision in the way that’s easiest for you—email, phone call to machine, note.
- Be like Julia Child. When things would go wrong on her cooking show—and they often did–she took it in stride. Pulling out a fallen soufflé in front of millions of viewers, this master chef exclaimed: “You can’t win them all!” Where do you need to say this in your life?
- Stuck in indecision? Ask yourself: If I didn’t worry about anyone else’s approval or ask anyone else’s opinion, what would I do now?
- When you find yourself stuck in regret over a choice you’ve made, remember this little slogan from Dottie Gandy’s and Marsha Clark’s book Choose!: “There is no such thing as a bad choice; there is only a next choice.” You might even want to make a card with this saying and post it somewhere where you can see it often.
- Mind full of negative self talk that you are no good, can’t accomplish anything, etc.? Whatever your ants (automatic negative thoughts) may be, you can’t wish them away. What works is what’s called vigorous disputing. When you catch yourself having one, stop and remind yourself that’s a lie and give yourself examples to disprove it: you gave that great speech, lost those 5 pounds….Really challenge yourself to dispute—with facts—your ants. This takes work, they don’t call it vigorous for nothing. But it really does work.