Confidence is one of the greatest challenges women face in the creation of a life and career they absolutely love. It’s not always easy to talk about confidence issues, is it? Talking about it though helps unlock your confidence. The thing is, confidence issues can show up in so many different ways, and it’s something many of us struggle with at some point in our life and career.
We might not even realise that the struggles we face at work or in life are actually related to our lack of confidence. But trust me, when we start digging a little deeper, it’s often there. Hiding behind our inner narratives, masked behind the stories we tell ourselves, all tied up with our ego and ever present imposter syndrome.
As a woman in a leadership role, you already are a powerful force to be reckoned with. But if you’re struggling with confidence issues, it can be tough to bring your A-game and lead with the vision, conviction and strength you know you possess. Maybe you’ve had setbacks in the past, or your work environment feels like a constant challenge, is intimidating and/or unsupportive. Whatever the cause of your confidence slump, the good news is that you can overcome it.
In this post, we’ll explore some tips and tricks for connecting with your powerful self, building confidence and stepping into your full potential as a leader.
Here are my 6 trusted ways to unlock your confidence so you can live and lead powerfully your way.
1. Identify Your Superpowers
One of the most powerful ways to unlock your confidence is to identify and leverage your strengths. Our strengths are those things which we are good at and enjoy doing. We forget the time when we are using them and feel like we are in a state of flow. Take a moment to reflect on your past wins and accomplishments and when you felt like you were in a good state of flow. What skills and qualities got you there? Jot them down and consider how you can use them in your current role.
Focusing on your strengths can help you feel more capable and confident in taking on whatever comes your way. When we feel less than confident it is all too easy to focus on the things we are not good at. Next time you need a confidence boost pick one of these strengths to move yourself forward. Need some help with identifying your strengths? I can recommend the free Character Strengths Test from the VIA Institute.
2. Identify your Stories and Challenge Your Inner Critic
Research tells us that we have about 60 000 to 80 000 thoughts on a daily basis! Many of these we would not voice out loud to anybody let alone tell our best friend. We have these limiting beliefs, and stories that we tell ourselves to keep us safe. Over time we’ve come to believe them. Your lack of confidence can stem from this negative self-talk and limiting beliefs carousel you’ve got going around and around in your head. I bet you tell yourself I’m not good enough, smart enough, or deserving of success. Other’s are better than me. I’m not worthy of this. Am I correct? That is your Inner Critic trying to keep you safe.
To break free from these thoughts, it’s important to identify the stories and beliefs you hold about yourself and then challenge your Inner Critic simply by asking: Is that true? Replace those negative thoughts and limiting beliefs with positive, empowering ones. Next time you catch yourself in a negative thought loop, flip the script. Instead of, “I can’t lead this project,” try saying, “I have what it takes to lead this project with excellence.” Practicing this consistently will increase your confidence levels dramatically.
The goal of this exercise is not to delude yourself with untruths but to intentionally invest your energy in the stories that that actually unlock your confidence not diminish it.
3. Take Aligned Action
One of the key things that diminishes our confidence and stops us from taking action is fear:
- Fears of judgement
- What others will think
- Embarrassing ourselves – the list goes on and on.
Fear wants you to stay stuck, think about all of your mistakes, the skills you think you don’t have, the reasons your ego tells you shouldn’t take the next aligned step. I’m sure you’ve heard of “Fake it ’till you make it?” This “get over the fear tactic” only works to a certain degree before it gets you stuck because you feel unauthentic.
Using the new story that you are telling yourself as a starting point from the step above, ask yourself: what’s the next logical step to take? Taking aligned action is the antidote to fear and will move you forward.
The next aligned step shouldn’t be the largest one you can think of as it may be overwhelming which in turn then keeps you stuck. Small steps done consistently will get you the transformation you are after. Reframing into action helps you build the evidence you need to prove to yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to with confidence. Having this evidence will help you shift your mindset when you need your next confidence boost
4. Practice Radical Self-Care
Including self-care into your aligned action plan is vital if you want to unlock your confidence and build resilience. I’m not talking the masssage or bath kinda self-care. By all means do that too as both are glorious for relaxation. Radical self-care is more than that. It means that you learn how to say “no” or “no not yet” unapologetically. You set boundaries for yourself, family and team at work and fiercely protect them. Doing those things first means you will be able to find the extra time needed to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally by finding time for exercise, meditation, or other activities that centre and nourish you and your soul.
You can read why prioritising your own needs, especially as a leader in a hectic work environment, is not selfish here.
5. Embrace Your Mistakes
We all make mistakes – it’s part of our growth and learning journey. If we didn’t make mistakes we wouldn’t learn anything. Our confidence is dented after mistakes because we blame ourselves and we look at the mistake from a negative angle. We also feel shame which makes it hard to bounce back from a misstep. Instead of ruminating on your mistakes, use them as an opportunity for growth and learning. What lessons did you learn from the experience? How can you apply that knowledge to future challenges? By applying a growth mindset to mistakes you will authentically deal with your own imperfections and inspire others to do the same by your example. Mistakes are ok as long as you use them as a learning opportunity. As a leader, do the world a favour and be the catalyst that shifts the blame game of mistakes. Nobody in this world is perfect and nobody is expected to be. We are human and humans make errors. Let’s normalise this.
6. Expand your Field of Support
Last but not least, surround yourself with a support network of people who believe in you and your potential. Connect with mentors, peers, and friends who will provide guidance and encouragement when you need it most. A strong support system can help you feel more confident and capable, especially when things get tough. A great way of getting the courage to act is by having a safe, judgement free space to voice your fears either with a coach, mentor, or a peer group. It helps to normalise all the feelings you have and reassures you that you’re not alone. Don’t try to do it all by yourself because you go further and faster together!
To unlock your confidence take consistent action and understand that you are in for a journey. It’s an ongoing process that doesn’t happen overnight. However, with persistence and intentionality, you can unlock your full potential as a leader to live and lead powerfully your way.
By focusing on your strengths, challenging limiting beliefs, practicing self-care, learning from your mistakes, and surrounding yourself with supportive people, you can overcome self-doubt and step into your power as a confident, capable leader.