Whether you're an intern or a Fortune 500 CEO, you have and will face situations that shatter your confidence. Sometimes it can be a snide comment by others, an undesirable result, or you are getting inside your own head. But, despite the trigger, if we can accept and acknowledge that our confidence is enviably going to take a hit from time to time, we can plan for our bounce back!
I don't think I'm not alone in this, but here it goes; something negative happens due to my actions. I feel bad about myself, then I spiral a little linking this failure to other failures until I'm convinced I'm an idiot and should give up. But then I talk about it with a friend, get a good night's sleep, or hit the gym, and I feel a little better. The situation still rocks me, but I have a clearer mind to deal with the problem head-on and rationally. Why am I telling you this? Well, something I have noticed in times where my confidence has taken the impact – I need to step away. For me, distance brings clarity, allowing me time to ride through the rollercoaster of emotions I'm experiencing. I've never responded well to people who react impulsively, fuelled by a cocktail of emotions, so I try hard not to do this myself.
Now I ask you; what do you do in times of a confidence breakdown?
Here are a few tips to consider next time you feel yourself slipping into rocky territory!
Change your thoughts
I know, I know, way easier said than done, but this one is super important. Our internal dialogue plays a huge role in how we perceive the world. But unfortunately, the chatter can be insistent and we can get into a cycle of rumination and this can have severe consequences on our mental and physical health.
Next time you feel that sense of self-loathing creeping in, take note of the kinds of words, names, and phrases that are skipping through your mind – when you consciously take stock, you may be shocked at how much you tend to berate yourself. The best thing to do is not push the thought from your mind but let it play, and then ask yourself the following questions?
Would I say this to a friend if they found themselves in the situation I'm in now?
Why is this thought pattern so prevalent, and is it linked to other areas of my life?
If I was to advise someone I care about who was facing this problem, what would I say to them?
It's easy to be mean to ourselves, but being kind and compassionate is much more beneficial. So don't be a dick to yourself – be your own best friend!
Build it before it breaks
Any Harry Potter fans here? J.K. Rowling once said, "And so rock bottom became the foundation in which I built my life." If you're not familiar with the author's story, she was in her 40s, broke, and writing a novel about a dude with a scar on his head in a world full of wizards and elves… but she had confidence. She believed in what she was doing and built resilience, grit, and self-belief in the most trying time of her life.
If you prioritise developing your version of a solid foundation, there will be cracks when faced with adversity, but it won't cause the entire thing to come barrelling down. Sure, you'll need to do some patchwork, but you won't need to start again from the ground up.
Mistakes and mindfulness
No one likes making mistakes, but just like the winners high, you've got to embrace the losing lows. When we are mindful of our mistakes, they can be our greatest teaching moments. I'm not going to put a cliche quote from a tech giant or sports star about how their failures lead to unprecedented success – but I will remind you that we all make them!
There are two things you can do when you f*** up:
Wallow in it
Learn from it
Don't do number one. Ok, maybe you can wallow for, like, 10 minutes, but then you need to take stock. The biggest mistake you can make is not turning your mistake into a teaching moment. Instead, be mindful of your internal dialogue, the people around you and their reactions, and the steps you can put in place to avoid it happening again. Make mistakes… mindfully.
If your confidence has taken a hit recently, I want to remind you that you're not alone and you hold more power than you think. And, if you're feeling pretty good right now, then I urge you to inspect your foundation and do any maintenance required – as we know, life is full of curve balls, so be prepared!
Keep fighting the good fight, everyone!