This is the first of a regular series of curated content pieces on Coaching.fm.
This week, the focus is on confidence, in particular loss confidence on other threats to our self belief.
The articles I’ve chosen cover a whole range of aspects of the topic: losing confidence, standing up to others, managing our self-talk, dealing with fear and facing the anxiety of competition.
We’ll kick off with some thoughts about …
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking about confidence as something that stays with us permanently once we’ve done the hard work of building it.
But, the truth is confidence can come and go, often when we experience significant or challenging life events. In this piece the excellent Dr Alice Boyes give us some practical tips on what we can do when our confidence takes a hit.
“People commonly talk about low self-esteem , but less is said about fluctuating self-esteem. Many people (myself included!) flit between feeling reasonably self-confident and feeling anxious. Here are some practical, straightforward tips for coping with swings in your confidence. […]”
For many, standing up to domineering or unstable others is a major challenge. These kinds of people, if they play a significant role in our lives, can constantly deplete our resources. Being bold enough, and confident enough to deal with this is hard.
This piece over at Eric Baker’s outstanding Barking up the Wrong Tree blog, includes some strategies that can help you:
Is someone consistently taking advantage of you? Your romantic partner or your boss? Do you rush around trying to do things for them but they never seem to have your back? Or is keeping up with their mood swings and meltdowns a 24/7 job? Do you find yourself doing more and more but getting less and less?
In the next piece, psychotherapist Karen Smith hits the nail on the head when it comes to identifying one of the biggest barriers to increased confidence and successful outcomes:
“Making this one change prepares the foundation for all kinds of growth and change. It is something you already do, all day long, that you just have to learn how to do differently. And you really must, because it is highly likely that how you are doing it now is a massive barrier to any desired changes and accomplishments.”
“Some degree of anxiety with competition is almost universal. Frequently, sports-related anxiety can negatively affect an athlete’s psychology and performance. It can range from a little jitters to a full-fledged panic attack.”
And in the world of performance psychology, what is happening to athletes in the pressure-cooker environment of competitive sport, is often evident for the rest of us as we look to deal with our own daily challenges at work or at home.
Try to adapting the tips here for the situations that cause you anxiety. You’ll find they can work.
When we lack confidence, what that usually means is that we are afraid. And in the modern inter-connected world it is easy to become ever more fearful as we compare ourselves to others, especially other leaders, who seem able to cope effortlessly with the kinds of challenges we struggle to overcome. This can set up a cycle of increasing fear and anxiety and, as Denise Fournier writes, if we want to break that cycle …
“we must first understand the nature of fear. The truth is, fear is an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism that keeps us alive. It’s an emotion designed to allow living beings to react to anything that threatens their survival. In the most simplistic sense, it works like this: When something in your environment provokes fear, your brain and body rev up to prepare you to cope …
Remember, building confidence is a gradual and multi-dimensional process. But, the good news is that with action and persistence it can be done. Keep at it and keep your mind well.
I'm Martin Cole. I am a UK qualified lawyer, a leader within the financial services regulatory and compliance sector and an organisational and executive coach. I have an Master of Science (M.Sc). in coaching psychology and am certified as a coach by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership. I also have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB (Hons.)) and was admitted as a barrister by the Inner Temple (now non-practising). I have lived and worked in London and Sydney and now live near Edinburgh in Scotland with my wife and two daughters. I support Crystal Palace FC, have wide ranging musical tastes (especially Jazz, Blues and Soul) and oppose mediocrity, selfishness and organisations that fail to value their people.
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