Think about all of the different roles you play in your life – at work, at home, with family and with friends. Your roles might be as a partner, parent, employee, employer, mentor or leader for example. And as a result of those roles, you can identify the people you feel responsible for, and potentially even feel responsible for standing up for.
Now imagine you are carrying a bucket of water on your head, as you might do if you were in Africa and had walked a long way to get water back to your village. The bucket can only hold so much water. So imagine, again, that each role we play and how much we stand up for the people we feel responsible for adds more water to that bucket.
If you’re carrying too much water, the bucket will spill and you will lose your ability to stand up with confidence, right?
This is exactly the risk we play every day in life and at work. The heavy burden of responsibility can weigh us down or mean that we lose perspective about the really important things in our personal and work lives. Eventually, we can burn out, get frustrated or give up completely. You’ll best recognise this when you feel depleted of energy, like you just want to throw it all in because everything is ‘too hard’. (Sound familiar?)
Maybe you didn’t get that promotion, or a fellow parent had a go at you about your kid’s ‘bad behaviour’. Whatever it is, you don’t have to sit on your hands wishing you could disappear into the couch.
With a little bit of practice you can learn to boost your confidence no matter what life throws at you, here’s how.
- Set boundaries
It’s important that you learn to speak up for yourself and for others when it is appropriate. This may mean being visible, and making unpopular decisions. Learn to reframe the potential of conflict as healthy debate.
You don’t need to be the Dalai Lama, but you do need to stand up for what you deem right, fair and important. And often that can mean just simply saying ‘no’ when someone else is pressuring you.
2. Challenge yourself
You often need to do things differently tomorrow from how you are today. You need to take yourself out of your comfort zone – and be confident enough to do this. If you’re always doing what you’ve always done then how can you expect to learn and grow?
Challenge the stories you tell yourself that keep you carrying too much water for others and not setting yourself up for success. If you’ve got your ‘head down and bum up’ all day long, knocking off your to-do list, how will you be able to assess what you need to do to make positive change in work or life? Continue to challenge yourself and ask, ‘If what got me here won’t get me there, what do I need to be doing now to step up?’
3. Believe in yourself
Showing up as truly confident over a sustained period of time is something that needs to be built from the inside out. ‘Faking it until you make it’ only gets you so far and for so long. Trying to pretend you have the confidence needed to get the job done can be exhausting.
Having the ability to show up with real confidence means you know yourself, you can be yourself and you show up as the best version of yourself. Draw on what you are great at and believe that you are valuable and valued because it is true.
Michelle Sales is a highly sought-after speaker, trainer, facilitator and coach who helps senior leaders and their teams learn to show up as the best version of themselves, to build their confidence and influence with others, and to maximise their leadership and performance. She is the author of the book ‘The Power of Real Confidence’. Find out more at www.michellesales.com.au