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Enhancing Our Confidence

Confidence is something every client we work with wants to enhance in their personal and professional life. Us too! We want to be at peace with who we are and feel the freedom to stand up and speak out for what we believe in and want to see change in the world. In order to reach our potential and be a force for positive change, we need to continue to hone our skills around leveraging our confidence (while maintaining humility).

Confidence: At its core, confidence is all about trust. “The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something” or “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” It is knowing who you are, owning who you’re not, and choosing to embrace all of it. Remember, confidence is often quiet while insecurities are loud.

To know who we are we have to spend time with ourselves and become more aware of who we are and why we are the way we are. Without realizing it, we are usually focused on others. What they have, what they want, what they’re doing. We form our answers to who we should be and what we should do based on what we see outside of us when the answers to these questions and the way to unlock our confidence lie within us.

Exploring questions like the following, help us to get clearer and more confident: What are your strengths and unique gifts? What challenges you and what are your weaknesses? What matters most? What is meaningful and valuable to you? What do you feel called to? What are you passionate about? What is your highest vision for yourself?

We have to make our relationship with ourselves a priority. In doing so, we will come to realize that if we put half as much energy into trying to be ourselves as we did into trying to be someone else, we would be a lot more confident! You can’t be someone else…you can only be you. The sooner you stop focusing outside yourself and start exploring inside, the sooner you will be thinking and acting in alignment with your deepest and truest nature, and your confidence will grow exponentially.

We also need to consider that many of us lack confidence because we are seeking validation from people other than ourselves. First, this takes away our power and literally puts it in the hands of others, which is always dangerous. Second, you are the only one who has your unique call and vision.

Asking someone to validate you from their experience and lens on the world can be difficult. They may not want the same things or value the same things you do so even if you are on the right path, they may not be able to validate that for you. This is why it’s important to get input and feedback from others and bring that information back to yourself and check your heart. This will help you build your own confidence. We are all on our own path! Chasing the ever-changing opinions of others to build your confidence will leave you frustrated and frazzled.

Let’s explore some questions that can enhance our confidence. First, a couple that increase our self-awareness:

What do I like about myself? What do I know about myself?

These questions may make you uncomfortable. We are coached to be humble and this is important. It’s also important that you are your number one cheerleader and advocate! If you aren’t proud of you, how do you expect others to be?

Consider this: When asked what we like about ourselves, the average number of things that we write down is 6. Only SIX!!! If I were to ask you to write down thing you like about your best friend, guess how many on average you would write? 32. THIRTY TWO!!! There is a lot of runway for us between humility and cockiness. Most of us probably need to move up the scale a bit!

When considering our answers to each of these questions, remember that all of us have had different experiences and achieved different things. Consider the highs and lows of life, victories and failures, love and pain. This is the nature of life and we have survived it. Hopefully we have learned from it and grown because of it. Make your list of what you know and like about yourself and keep adding to it!

After we’ve developed some initial awareness we can go deeper to build our confidence by getting clear on who we are. Here are some questions that help us gain some clarity:

What seems to come more naturally to me than to others? What positive feedback am I consistently given that rings true to me? Where do I feel most confident in my ability to contribute? What am I best at?

We all have unique gifts and talents that often remain unseen because they come so naturally to us. We don’t realize that other people don’t think or operate the way that we do. Working with others, and truly getting to know them helps us see ourselves more clearly. When working with Brooke and Sarah on our team, we all started to realize that in the process from vision to execution we each have different gifts and can contribute according to our strengths to create the best possible outcome on a project.

My handle is dream builder because I am always looking ahead and thinking about what’s possible. I help us create vision and strategy for the business. Brooke is our energy builder because she is extremely good at thinking about how everything will feel to all parties involved. She’s great at details and appreciation that make what we do special and full of good vibes. Sarah is our calm creator and is always thinking about what is reasonable and realistic for us to get done while maintaining our priorities. She keeps things on track and ensures things get done. Together we make a dream team, and we’ve each become confident in what we do well which enables us to speak up to get things right.

While it’s really important to enhancing our confidence that we know who we are and what we’re gifted at, it’s equally as important that we know who we are not and what our weaknesses are.

I remember when Brooke and I first became business partners. Everyone would rave about how warm and lovely Brooke was. I was jealous of the way people spoke about her. I wasted a lot of time and energy thinking about it and wondering what I could do to be more like her. When I talked with my healer about it and she reminded me that I would likely never get those compliments. It’s just not my gift. I’m not a warm and fuzzy gal. She went on to point out many of my gifts I did have that I really liked actually contradicted being warm and fuzzy.

That day I started to realize the power of accepting who we are not. We were each uniquely created with a different call on our life and we can either waste our time and energy trying to be someone else, or live fully into who we are by accepting who we are not. Here are some questions to get you thinking about who you are not:

What drains my energy? What is difficult for me? What are my weaknesses?

How are you feeling? Look back at what you wrote down and discovered. Keep in mind that we are not static beings. We are always changing, growing and evolving…we are works in progress. We stress with clients that becoming aware of these things doesn’t give you an excuse or a pass not to work on them…but freedom does come in knowing why something might be more difficult for you than it is for someone else. Sometimes we have the opportunity to consider outsourcing or delegating something, and sometimes we have to do things we aren’t good at or drain us.

Mostly, we love to use this exercise to remind ourselves and each other that diversity is good. We all have gifts and talents that can be leveraged for an even greater good when we come together. We need to live and work in community. Be willing to ask for help or support when something doesn’t come naturally to us. This is especially critical in the world of work. Leaders put so much pressure on themselves to be everything to everyone, but the best leaders know who they are and who they are not and they surround themselves with people who have different perspectives and skills and talents that compliment theirs…then the sky is the limit!

Let’s end with you considering how you take action on what you learned:

What stands in the way of your confidence? What’s one thing you can do differently? What do you need for support?

Written by: Lindsay Leahy, Dream Builder at The Restoration Project

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