We practice confidence all of the time, even without knowing.
Think back to when you first learnt to walk. You began to stand up, balance, take a step and then another. Now almost all of us walk without considering first if we are confident walkers.
Often I hear people describe themselves in very black and white terms. As either ‘confident’ or ‘not confident’.
The focus on feeling like you can’t do one thing can bleed into other areas of our life and give us the impression that we can’t do other things too.
Dr Carole S Dweck, in her book Mindset, invites us to consider that adopting a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset, is how we can continually build confidence through our efforts and not default to definitive thinking.
“There were two meanings to ability, not one: a fixed ability that needs to be proven, and a changeable ability that can be developed through learning.”
In truth we all have many skills and abilities that we are confidently practicing, every single day. We can even be confident about the things we are choosing not to do!
But what if there is something we want, and we haven’t practiced it enough yet to feel that it's a repeatable formula for us?
The answer is firstly to begin and secondly to notice.
We begin by breaking the task down into tiny actionable steps. Not by looking at the whole picture, which can seem overwhelming and out of reach, but by working out what is the next smallest step you need to take. With small steps, we practice building those innate confidence muscles.
Once we’ve begun, we have to take notice and reward our progress. The absolute key is not to focus on what we haven't or can't do, but by recognising what we have done - see the learning and bring all of it forward into the next step.
Here are five steps on how to do a confidence muscle workout:
Pick an activity that is interesting to you. Spend 10 minutes reading, learning or practicing something extra or new that you don’t know yet related to that activity.
Write down new found knowledge. Notice how you’ve taken a step towards something greater and spend a moment feeling proud of that achievement.
Journal your thoughts around these two questions: How has this new learning made a difference? What’s possible now?
When starting the journey to building confidence, expect and welcome resistance. This isn’t a signal to doubt or quit; it’s your brain’s way of getting you to pay attention and learn.
Connecting to others can be a lifeline. Reach out to others for support, ideas, accountability and feedback.
This article was written by our partner coach, Teresa Klasener.