Confidence (or the belief in one’s own abilities, self-belief) is often the only limiting factor between starting out on a brand new, exciting path or staying stuck in what’s painful yet familiar. It is that fine line that separates the can-dos from the wannabes and often the only major limiting factor on the road to success.
And yet, in all our years, we hardly ever learn how to be confident or believe in our own abilities.
Knocking Round Pegs in to Square Holes
I remember as a small child, I just knew that I could do anything and succeed at it. It was a knowing, not some airy-fairy wishing, but a deeply rooted knowing that whatever it was that I wanted to do, be or achieve, I could do it.
Much like everyone else, along that path to adulthood, I somehow picked that life was a school of hard knocks, success only came to a chosen few. I learnt to conform to what society expected and demanded, put your head down, work hard, play only at weekends. In short, I got knocked in to shape and learnt to believe that everyone else knew better and more than I did and that as long as I went along with them I was fine.
And so I was the good girl, climbing the academic ladder, rung after rung. At the end of my PhD, I jumped straight-in to a lectureship (in the US this means tenure). For the average PhD student, this is virtually unheard of. It usually takes a number of years of post-doctoral work (especially in the Sciences) to be offered an Academic position, and yet, here I was, 28 years old, with a job at one of the oldest Chemistry departments in the country, with colleagues twice my age and the next youngest colleague at least 7 years older.
Although my field of speciality (crystallography) was so niched and specialised, that I was the only person in the entire Department who was able to do it, believing that I was good enough talk on par with the rest of my older more experience colleagues were altogether a different story.
They were so much more experienced, internationally renowned and I was just a newbie in my first job.
How I Found My Confidence
Truth be told, I did not find my confidence so much as regained and reminded myself of it (remember – the ‘I can do anything’ child’).
Building my confidence did not happen overnight, but it did not take a long time at all. Here’s the one simple thing that I did:
I spoke to myself, constantly (read more about Affirmations). What made all the difference was what I chose to say to myself.
More than Good Enough
First, I started off by telling myself, that I was more than good enough, or I would not have been appointed to the position. This may be a bit different if (major excitement!) you’re starting out on your own business, or down a different path.
And yet, your decision to take this new path, is unlikely to be one taken lightly. Chances are you have spent countless hours, talking to friends and family (some supportive, some not), doing research, reading, learning, paid money to be coached.
The fact is: YOU are definitely MORE than GOOD ENOUGH.
After that came the bit about…
Do I really know this?
As an ‘expert’ in a highly specialised field, it fell on me to answer technical questions from my older, seemingly ‘wiser’ colleagues, and in part, my confidence was built from having to answer questions and provide a ‘professional’ opinion – even when I truly felt like i was only masquerading as the expert.
And then one day, it suddenly dawned on me, that I knew the answers! And even if and when I didn’t, I knew exactly who to ask and where to find out.
The fact is: You DO KNOW all the answers
(and even if you don’t, you know where to find out – Google may become your new best friend for a while)
Never was the Confident Child?
Some of you reading this may say, “but I was Never the confident child”
Believe me, if you dig long and deep enough, you are likely to find that one (more likely numerous) instances when as a child, you were so stubborn and so intent on your desire to do or have something, that you succeeded.
It may be that your over-powering memory may be one in which, you were always told Don’t Can’t Shouldn’t Mustn’t and yet even in the things we take for granted every day – reading, writing, walking, all these are skills that had to be learnt. More importantly you would not have been able to do it without the desire to succeed at it.
Nothing to It
So here we are, the very simple secret to confidence – start listening to what you say to yourself, and make sure you say the right thing: “I am more than good enough and I know all the answers”
Shel Silverstein said it best,
Listen to Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.
Oh and here’s one more thing…
We Believe In You
It has been said by many of the most successful people, and in many of the world’s most popular books that anything can happen as long as more than one person believes in it.
By the same token the reason why, the saying “Behind every successful man is a woman” holds truth in it, is that when someone believes in you and your ability to succeed, there is little else for you to do, but believe the same in yourself.
So more than just reminding you that : YOU are GOOD ENOUGH and that you DO KNOW ENOUGH, we also want to say
Whatever your most heartfelt desire and passionate dream is, WE BELIEVE IN YOU!
Over to you
Do you ever question your knowledge and abilities? Have you found a way to build up your confidence? Do you have a secret goal or desire that you are so passionate about and yet uncertain in your own abilities?
Do share your experience, thoughts and opinions in the comments below and if you would like to get in touch, contact us directly here.
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