By Steve Beseke, senior vice president, think2perform – http://think2perform.com.
I was talking with colleagues earlier this week about the steps it takes mentally to overcome challenges or obstacles. Why do we sometimes let things slide or do nothing at all?
This reminded me of an “apply confidence” article I wrote a few years ago, which I have updated below.
There is no doubt that how we see ourselves today, how we have handled challenging and good moments in the past and how we want the future to be are centered on factors within us. They can be more important than outside influences or circumstances.
Sounds deep and mysterious - a riddle wrapped in an enigma. A puzzle that may be too difficult to solve.
What in the heck am I talking about? Well, of course, self-confidence, self-confidence and, yes, our self-confidence. Our self-worth is linked to success and how we define happiness. It’s like the way location, location, location dominates the real estate world’s bottom line.
We can be the smartest and have the most talent in our field. These factors, however, don’t always equate to the equal amount of confidence within us. Some may say that talent and smarts can trump self-esteem and get you through. To those I very respectively say: You are purely and simply wrong.
How you see yourself consistently is the most important skill you need to keep sharp in your unique world. As you should, I always try to be in a learning mode to continue my self-confidence journey. The path is not always straightforward.
Many very humbly say I am extremely smart, and one of the most inspirational persons they have ever known with all the life challenges I still overcome steadfastly every day. To those, I very gratefully say, “thank you.” I do believe I have these qualities, but as you may have seen in yourself or others, they don’t always correlate to managing our confidence expectations. I wish I had the same consistent degree of self-confidence as my other attributes.
All of us have our strengths and activities that come very easy for us. Then, there are those we have to consciously work through and continue to learn.
A survey showed being confident in ourselves is something we don’t always find easy. There’s nothing wrong with that: We need to practice confidence when we have a moment of self-doubt. Sounds weird? Not so much. A good friend of mine, Doug Lennick @DougLennick on Twitter, says, “Practice makes permanent.”
What do we mean by “practice”? An example: One of the last times I lost my balance and fell because of my physical disability, I was in the practice mode. I needed to be because my self-confidence could have gone into the tank.
I was walking into the grocery store near my home when an individual rushed by - probably wanting to get his gallon of milk faster than me. In doing so, he bumped my cane. This caused me to lose my balance, fall and hit my head against a cement sidewalk.
This is when, through the learning process I mentioned, I took a deep breath, got up and dusted myself off. I walked into the grocery store’s bathroom to stop the bleeding from my forehead and then bought the gallon of milk I needed. The confidence that I could overcome kicked in and I moved on even though I could have pitied myself.
There are many important things that contribute to our ongoing happiness in our lives and careers. Attitude, skills, ability to overcome obstacles, creativity, perseverance, persistence and patience are just a few.
I, however, suggest the importance of maintaining self-confidence as THE most critical factor in helping our lives stay healthy.
To help maintain my internal and external health, I have highlighted a few of my successful life skills’ confidence strategies. You may want to apply them to your everyday needs.
While they don’t work perfectly every time, the skills have provided me with a guide to get through the challenges.
I’d suggest you think about the following, and try at least one strategy this week to help stay resilient and confident. Because remember: Your most important asset is you.
Finding one positive about your each day. Every day, I try to find at least one thing I did very well the previous day.
When I was recovering from cervical spine surgery and managing significant uncertainty a couple years back, I kept focusing on a friend’s fight with cancer. He had a lot of ups and downs, but his confidence as a person helped him recover from this ravaging illness.
I got up each morning thinking of his strength of spirit inside. That helped me get through my self-doubts even when my physical body was aching.
For you, this may be helping a colleague network to find a better job, or knowing you treated your son or daughter fairly in a conversation about improving grades. It could also be simply worrying less about the one mistake you made and more about the nine other terrific things you did right in a particular day, week, month or year.
What is one simple or complex action yesterday that you felt confident about in your life?
Stop sweating. I try to avoid sweating the daily small stuff that may lead me to lose a bit of confidence in myself. Whether that may be not worrying I am a couple minutes late for a meeting because I hurt my back getting out of the car, not getting one of my “Top Five” list of things done, or forgetting to pet my wonderful dogs as I leave for work appointments.
We also have all been there in one way or another. That is, we “sweat” about something we do not have ultimate control over. You can fill in your own life or work example, but the byproduct of this type of “sweat" is we see ourselves in a less resilient/confidence light.
What small stuff will you try to avoid to keep your confidence on the right level each day?
- Liking you. I am the first one to admit I don’t always like myself every minute of every day. I make mistakes I regret, I don’t always see possibilities when they are in front of my face, or I am just having a bad hair day.
No matter what happens, though, I try to always remember what is truly important in my life. Loving my beautiful wife, teaching my wonderful daughter the values she will carry throughout her life, or talking with the great friends.
Such examples are keys to being happy with myself and successfully getting past certain times when I don’t always see myself in the best light.
Naturally, it is unrealistic to expect that things are going to go as we want all the time. By managing life expectations, however, we can get through those moments when we don’t always like looking in the mirror.
I’ve known friend or two over the years who have unfortunately given in to a challenge and just don’t like themselves. Fortunately, their next decisions (over time) led them back to the mirror.
What do you like about yourself? Are you realistically looking yourself in the mirror?
Over the next week, I suggest thinking through such questions to help maintain the right amount of confidence in all parts of your life.
I leave you with this quote: “Maintaining one’s confidence is ultimately the gift of liking yourself no matter the internal or external factors get in the way.”
The person who wrote this must have been seeing his/her image in the looking glass…
Stay confident and apply your life skills, my friends.
Thanks for all your support, and please visit my web site for e-books concerning confidence and applying life skills at www.resiliencyfirst.com.