A couple nights ago, I spoke as a conversation starter in a group of 30+ women on the topic of confidence. As a conversation starter, I shared how as a coach for Women Entrepreneurs this is something that comes up with every single woman. And guess what, it comes up, for me almost on a daily basis. It used to be that it was at the forefront of my thinking...waking up and going to sleep every day in fear and without purpose. Even last night self-doubt crept in, this voice inside me that said "who are you to be sitting here talking to women about confidence?" Then, I reminded myself in a bigger inner voice, that I am absolutely the right one to be sitting here."
There are days when confidence flows effortlessly through us, and there are days when we fight to feel even just an ounce of confidence compared to the self-doubt we are facing. There are ebbs and flow,moments of strength and weakness, and the highs and lows. But, I have found that there are ways to keep confidence strong and flowing for longer periods of time rather than the occasional surge. These are my top 5, tried and true, ways to cultivate and build confidence and keep it around. I've found these to be especially helpful after I've had setbacks, both small and major ones.
1. Build up inner strength.
There is a wisdom that resides in your whole body. This wisdom when used in conjunction with your brain's wisdom, is infinitely more powerful. When you tap into the FULL power of the wisdom that resides within you, boy does it feel crazy, awesome. You have to drop in to your body and be there silently for long enough to hear it. Our culture doesn't acknowledge or grasp the amazing capabilities that lie within ourselves. So, I have a daily meditation practice that allows me to tap into this place and helps me to develop inner strength.This is how I persevere time and time again when hard times do show up.
2. Take action.
Confidence is like a muscle, it needs training and to be built up. It's in movement, whether it's physical movement or moving a project along one small task at a time, that confidence begins to build. Take action and make something MOVE. The days when I feel stifled I put into effect the 2 minute rule. Here's how it works. Tell yourself to muster up enough energy to do something for 2 minutes. You'll either stop after 2 minutes or you'll continue to work. But, 2 minutes makes a difference, believe me. It's small but worth it. Also, working on your core before you have to sit down to work is a great way to get going. Do some push up, sit ups, the plank , or whatever core strengthening exercise you can and watch your confidence muscle start to bulge.
3. Write and Plan.
Most days...okay, every day, my head is in a jumble. I constantly have ideas, am solving problems, designing strategies, navigating the various aspects of my day. When you house all of those things in your brain, you use so much energy to remember each of those things. Give your energy a break and allow it to build up rather than having to access the little reserves it has during every moment of every day. Tony Schwarz famously said, "Manage your energy, not your time." I agree whole-heartedly and his work has changed my life.
A great way to give your brain a break is to break out a journal and pen or big paper and markers and start writing everything down. Start writing down the thoughts and things you need to remember, or remind yourself to do. When you get it out of your brain, it can relax and start building up energy. Then, with newly built up energy on hand, you can go after some of those tasks. You'll start to notice how little time it takes you as you start letting your energy reserves built back up. So, write things down and then create a plan for the day, the week or year. I usually journal first then I break out my markers and set to work planning on big paper. I will start with no real outline or any idea except dumping thoughts, ideas onto paper.
4. Self development.
I'm a self development junkie. Not because I think I need to fix myself, although there are days I do feel that, but I am so curious about other people and their work and how they get things done, and what they are doing in the world. I listen to affirmations, join clubs, masterminds, hire my own coaches, take webinars, read e-books and work through courses. I am constantly in a frame of mind of "how are they doing it?" then I apply what i learn...one small thing.
Most people might suggest that you find and read one system then implement that one system word for word. I don't suggest that. What I recommend instead, read it and let it settle into your brain for a few days. Then, write down the one thing that really resonated with you from the book. The one thing you will implement. This will give your brain a break and not have to put the burden on yourself to remember the whole book for the sake of implementing it "one day." How many times did we do that and then completely neglect or forget about that book? So, do it my way instead and get WAY better results.
For me, I am constantly reading this stuff, so I usually try to find and see patterns and similar concepts that run through several systems and I pick just one concept that I've seen over and over again to apply.
Every week, I meet with at least 1-4 accountability partners or mentors that support me in my work and I do the same for them. We meet to talk about what's happening for us both personally and professionally and it makes all the difference. Whether you work for someone or you work for yourself, there are times when things get lonely or can feel lonely. You need people to listen and to understand what you are going through, and maybe even offer you sound advice after you've had a chance to vent. But, more than that, these women have professional insights, connections and viewpoints that I would not have access to if I didn't meet with them and tell them what was going with me. I attribute a large part of my success to them. I urge you to find a group of your own that you can reach out to on a regular basis to help you feel supported and ultimately more confident in moving forward with life, careeer, business or whatever you need to move forward.
6. BONUS - My words
I have words. Words that bring perspective, that guide my days, and that strengthen me. Those words are Play, Practice, and Persevere.
Play reminds me to have fun, to be curious and not to be too connected to the outcome. Wonder is a great place to dwell and Play reminds me to go there on a daily basis. It reminds to be creative when problem solving, and to chillax when I am taking myself too seriously.
Practice says, in order to be great at something you have to do it over and over again. Every day I practice something, it also helps build a habit to do the same thing every day. It helps me cultivate discipline and discipline is one of those things that also helps cultivate confidence. As you see yourself getting better, then daily practice helps me challenge myself and turn it up a notch...taking me out of my comfort zone. Journaling is a practice for me. Meditation is a practice for me, martial arts is a practice for me.
Persevere reminds that every day we have setbacks. We have many of them throughout a day. I'm not trying ot be a downer but it's a predicament that is inevitable because we are human and we have expectations. Our expectations are based usually on past events. Human nature then creates expectations, if it goes this way then I'll be happy. If I read this many pages I'll feel accomplished, if I write this many words I will feel successful. Then we do those things and find we don't feel like that at all, or things just don't go according to plan, I mean, not in any way at all. So, the word Persevere reminds me that I will get through it, it reminds me to not have expectations that can hinder something amazing from happening. To have faith that things are going to be just fine. I have been through hell and back and I KNOW I can do it.
Even if you apply just ONE of the tips I share above you'll start making a noticeable difference in your confidence levels. Slowly, you can start adding more of the tips and become a confidence building machine.
Do you have a way that you build your confidence after having a setback? I want to hear about it. Leave a comment below and share your nuggets of wisdom. Or, if you've applied one or more of the tips I give, share how things are working out for you and let me know how I can support you further. Better yet, let's hop on the phone. You can schedule an appt. to speak with me by clicking here.
Rubina Cohen is a mom, wife, serial entrepreneur, a self-proclaimed meditation junkie and a "warrior". She is on a mission to help women generate big impact and a generous income by discovering and speaking from their GENIUS. She blogs about the #crazyawesomelife and how other women can live one too. To learn more about Rubina, click here.