I had an experience recently that got me thinking a lot about self-confidence. I was at a corporate retreat and took a tour of the kitchen at the hotel we were staying at. Toward the end of the tour, two chefs did a fruit carving demonstration for all of us.
As I watched the lead chef making amazing things out of watermelons and other fruits, I couldn’t help but notice his smile as we all gazed on with amazement at his outstanding carving skills. We gave him a resounding round of applause when he finished, and the smile on his face said it all – he was so proud of himself and his abilities. It was amazing to witness!
We have all had moments in our professional and personal lives when we feel incredibly confident in our abilities, skills, and talents. Those moments when we feel like we can accomplish anything and conquer the world!
The reality is, however, that many of us struggle daily with self-confidence. We doubt our abilities, our physical appearance, and whether or not people will like us. It always makes me laugh inside when someone assumes that there are just a few magical people who are born confident and can always just be confident in every situation because I know how untrue that is. I have never met another person who has confidence 100% of the time, and I am sure if I did meet someone like that, I wouldn’t like them very much!
I am a big believer that confidence comes primarily from two different things:
The messages we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves that we are not good enough or attractive enough and that those around us are judging our every move. We get consumed by our own negative thoughts and the perception that others think the same things about us.
The messages we listen to from others. Sometimes the people we choose to surround ourselves by are jealous, judgmental, and downright not encouraging. We allow what they say to seep into our subconscious and cause self-doubt. Often others don’t even realize that the words they say are discouraging. They think they are simply sharing an opinion that can help us grow.
Listing to the negative messages that come from within or surrounding ourselves with others who constantly say things that bring us down can destroy self-confidence.
I encourage you, when your confidence is feeling a bit low, to take a minute and evaluate the messages that you are allowing into your life:
Internally: Are you focusing on your faults – what you believe you can’t do, why you don’t have enough experience, or how you failed before, so you are sure to fail again?
Externally: Are the people you surround yourself with constantly finding fault in everything you do or criticizing how you live your life or do your job?
If these statements are true, I encourage you to do a bit of a re-set in order to build your confidence back up:
Internally: Focus on your brilliance! Take some time to reflect on all of the things that you do well, the accomplishments in your life that you are proud of, and the things that you love about yourself. (you don’t have to share this with anyone but yourself!)
Externally: Take a moment to think about the people you hang out with – which ones inspire and encourage you? You know, the ones you walk away from with a big smile and a grateful heart that they are in your life! Reach out to those individuals and set up a time to get together! When you get together, let them know how they inspire you or how grateful you are for their encouragement.
Remember that self-confidence comes and goes. You will never have it 100% of the time. I believe that if you focus on the messages you are sending yourself and the messages you are allowing others to speak into your life, your self-confidence can shine and impact your life positively!