Many times when I begin working with new coaching clients, they express a desire to increase their confidence. What is confidence, anyway?
It is the feeling or belief that you can do something well and accomplish an intention or goal.
When we don’t feel confident, we are afraid or uncertain of what to do. Not being confident may include being stopped by what others will think.
When clients want more confidence, we start with little steps in many different areas of their life. Most of us function within a perceived comfort zone, often held back by invisible lines, or boundaries, we choose not to step over. For homework, I ask the confidence seeker to define those boundary lines and then each day to step over another line. The excitement one feels when we move beyond our boundaries is incredibly empowering and provides motivation to continue raising the bar on the risks one is willing to take.
For example, is there an uncomfortable conversation that you have been meaning to have, but don’t know how to start it? Susan Jeffers, PhD, author of “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” (Fawcett Columbine 1987), says it is much more of a challenge to live with the nagging thoughts of NOT taking action, than it is to deal with the momentary fear you may experience when you DO take action. People report, in hindsight, that they gave the event much more power than it deserved and they are delighted (and relieved) to conquer it and have it in the rear window.
Think about areas in which you procrastinate. We often have reasons or excuses of why we have procrastinated, when in reality it is fear that has stopped us. Early in my career as a coach, a client told me she intended to create a personal budget for herself but never seemed to find the time to do it, blaming her schedule. When we talked more fully about what was stopping her, she acknowledged that she was afraid to learn that she was spending more than she earned. At the completion of a coaching session, she accepted the goal of working on her budget. She was pleased to find out that she was only spending a little bit more than she earned and was able to easily adjust her finances. The weight off of her shoulders was huge.
Spend some time this week thinking about the things you say you want to do and what might be stopping you. Be honest and look past your normal excuse; is there some fear that is stopping your action? Take some action. Notice what happens to your confidence level. Then “up the bar” on the tasks you’re willing to embrace; maybe tackle that tough conversation with someone at work or a challenging family member. You will be amazed at your increased confidence!
We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.