The Confidence Kit™
Helping people to improve their confidence levels has been part and parcel of my role as a trainer for the last 15 years. In nearly every workshop that I have designed and delivered, the need to gain confidence in some shape or form has been present for some or all the delegates taking part in the training. A lot of people seem to want more confidence; many others believe that life would be easier, more fulfilling or that they could achieve greater success if they simply had more of this thing called ‘confidence’.
What is confidence?
What confidence actually is, is often hard to describe. It can mean slightly different things to different people. I have often wondered if confidence is actually a thing at all, and in fact if it is just a word that is used to conceal the absence of something else. I’m also very conscious of what damage this lack of something is causing in people’s lives. What is it stopping us from achieving? How much more fulfilled could we be if a lack of confidence wasn’t getting in the way of taking those all important steps into new areas of our lives?
These recurring themes and questions have fascinated me over the years, to the point where I have now taken pen to paper to write about my experiences of confidence. People always think that I am confident! Apparently I often look, act and sound confident. People have been known to say to me ‘well, its all right for you because you are confident’! What is it that I apparently have that other people feel they don’t have? It has perplexed me for years!
What do I know about confidence?
In my e-book ‘The Confidence Kit’™ I explain what the ups and downs of my own childhood and life in general have taught me about confidence. The e-book explains the strategies I have used throughout my life to achieve success with my own goals and aspirations. You’ll have to read the e-book to fully understand my story and what it has taught me about confidence! There simply isn’t enough space in a blog to cover everything.
In the mean time I have distilled The Confidence Kit ™ into 8 steps & through 8 separate blogs I will introduce these steps, and I hope they help you to build your own confidence to the level where you can achieve your hopes, dreams and ambitions. If you want to read more, then look out for the e-book when it is published, or drop me a line and I will make sure you are the first to know when it is released.
The Confidence Kit™ Part 1 – ‘Know What You Want To Be Different’
The problem with the word confidence is that it is easy to use, easy to blame and easy to hide behind. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I have come to the conclusion after years of coaching, training and personal development that ‘not having enough confidence’ is an all too easy excuse for not giving something a go, for avoiding something or for simply settling for second best.
‘Not having enough confidence’ is a conversation stopper. No-one can dispute what you say because they can’t see what you haven’t got enough of. Its not like saying ‘I can’t do it because I haven’t got enough experience’, because someone could counter that with ‘yes you have, you have 4 years of experience!’, or ‘don’t be silly, you done this hundreds of times…!’. Blaming lack of confidence for not taking a step to do something is hard to argue with and often provokes a sympathetic and nurturing response from other people. Clue – is that what we are secretly asking for when we claim a ‘lack of confidence’?
I want you to think right now of something that you can’t or won’t do because ‘you don’t feel confident enough’. Write it down as a sentence along the lines of:
“I really want/need to __________________________________but I am not doing it/can’t because I don’t feel confident enough.”
So – here’s the thing. If we removed the words ‘don’t feel confident enough’ from your sentence, what words would you put in their place?
Here’s an example sentence from a friend of mine who has talked about starting her own business for years.
“I really want to start my own business, but I can’t because I don’t feel confident enough.”
When we talked about what was really stopping her, there was a lot lying behind the veil of ‘lack of confidence’. See what I mean:
“I really want to start my own business, but I can’t because I am afraid of losing my regular income, which has implications for the family and our livelihood.”
Oh now I understand! So its not so much the ‘lack of confidence’ that is stopping you, it is the fear of losing income and the implications that has for family life that is stopping you!
When you stop using the word ‘confidence’ to explain how you feel and are forced to explain in different language, clues start to emerge about what it is that you really want to be different. What my friend really wants to be different is that instead of feeling afraid and financially vulnerable, she wants some degree of financial security; she wants her family to be unscathed by her decision to start a business; she wants to feel sure that she can pay the bills.
Now that this is known, steps can be taken to find creative ways to address these concerns. And believe me, there are creative ways around most things! In my friend’s case we have now discussed ways of lessening the financial risk including starting a small-scale business alongside her main job initially, and creating a nest-egg to see her through any tough times that may lie ahead.
You see – it is really, really important with confidence to know what you want to be different. What is it that you would like to have instead of ‘lack of confidence’? If you don’t know what it is, then how can you go about getting it?
Try the sentence activity above and try replacing the words ‘I don’t feel confident enough’ with the real blockers that are holding you back. To be honest, it usually comes down to fear of something. Many people know that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. And fear can easily be lessened once it is out in the open, analysed objectively and tackled properly. Go on, have a go and let me know what you learn!
My next blog will introduce Step 2 – ‘Looking Can Be More Important Than Being’. See you then!