by Kara Ronin
Confidence is a capricious quality. You can start off your day bursting with energy, excited about the tasks you’re going to achieve. You feel confident, certain and powerful. Then as the day goes on, you sense a shift. You begin to feel uncertain that you can achieve those goals you set for yourself. Insecurity sets in and instead of being bold and confident like you were that morning, your mind fills with self-doubt and fear. What happened to your burst of confidence? Where did all of your positive energy and self-assurance go?
Most likely, you came into contact with a confidence crusher. Confidence crushers can be brutal. They can pull you from the soaring heights of feeling like you can conquer the world, and make you question your ability, competence and achievements in life.
I don’t want you to stop moving forward in life because something has crushed your confidence. So I want to share with you some of the more common confidence crushers you could come into contact with, and some practical ways to combat them.
1. Comparing Yourself to Others
Women are really good at this. We constantly compare ourselves to others who have a better job, a more successful business, or simply a nicer pair of shoes. But comparing yourself to others who have taken a different path in life and have made different decisions is a sure-fire way to a downward spiral of never feeling good enough. You’re focusing on what you don’t have, rather than on what you do.
To combat confidence crusher #1, create a gratitude list of everything you have (tangible or intangible) and everything you’ve achieved. Whenever you start to compare yourself against somebody else, take out this list and read it over three times so you remember how wonderful you and your life really are.
2. Staying Inside Your Comfort Zone
I know, it feels safe. But staying inside your comfort zone and never venturing out to take risks or experience something new makes you feel less and less confident. Your comfort zone is like an elastic band that continually needs to be stretched. The less you stretch your comfort zone, the smaller and smaller it will become. And your confidence will diminish more and more. Whereas if you regularly step outside of your comfort zone, your confidence and courage will grow and move with you. You don’t have to take up skydiving or make a drastic move to a different country to move outside your zone of comfort. There are many simple, every day steps you can take to move outside your comfort zone.
To combat confidence crusher #2, start by visiting a different coffee shop on your way to work in the morning. Or try striking up a conversation with somebody in your office whom you’ve never spoken to before. These simple steps will immediately make you feel more confident and that inner confidence will elevate you throughout the day.
3. Using Indirect Language
You might have been taught to use phrases such as “Maybe we could…”, or “Perhaps we should…” because being indirect is a polite way to speak. But speaking in an ambiguous, hesitant manner all the time can make you look uncertain to others, and can actually breed insecurity inside of you.
To combat confidence crusher #3, try to replace this type of language with “Let’s…”, or “I prefer to…”. These phrases project a lot more certainty to others, and I guarantee they’ll make you feel more confident inside.
Your body language has a direct and critical impact on your level of confidence and power. If you slouch over your keyboard all day, then leave work and walk home with the same slouched posture, it’s going to make you feel tired, lethargic and far from confident.
To combat confidence crusher #4, you need to change the body language and straighten your posture. A quick way to straighten your posture is to push your shoulders back, lift your ribcage up, and raise your chin. Try this next time you’re walking down the street, or the office hallway.
5. Hanging Onto Negative Mind Chatter
If you think or say something negative about yourself or about your life enough times, you will at one stage convince yourself that what you’re saying is true. Continued negative mind chatter can easily diminish your confidence, and deplete you of energy and motivation to move forward in life. Your energy and motivation is sacred. You need to protect it not only from external influences, but also from yourself. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.
To combat confidence crusher #5, start and end your day with positive, confident affirmations. About a year ago I started this process myself. I created a mantra that I now repeat three times every morning and every night. The mantra I use is really quite simple, and I invite you to use it too, if it’s the right fit for you. The mantra I use is, “I’m worthy of success”. If this mantra doesn’t feel right for you, you can create your own. But the most important part is to commit to repeating it every morning and every night, until it becomes part of you.
Which confidence crusher are you the most guilty of?
[© Kara Ronin 2014]
Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of Executive Impressions. Drawing from 10 years of living an international life, she started the Executive Impressions blog to guide, inspire, and elevate ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs toward an international mindset and an amazing career. Visit the Executive Impressions blog to get fabulous tips on international business etiquette and claim your free gift. Connect with Kara on Twitter @execimpressions.