Why do so many people suffer from confidence issues and as a result, hold themselves back from living to their full potential?
The 2 reasons people hold themselves back
1) The outward reason.
2) The inward one.
I'll start with the latter, the Internal Reason:
We have an internal world which is made up of our experiences, learnings, beliefs etc. By design we are survival beings so we'll tend to tell ourselves all the reasons why we can't, shouldn't and aren't able to do things which either contradict or threaten that internal world of experiences, learning and beliefs because that keeps us 'safe'. Examples may be........
Whatever has gone before shapes our perceptions of anything which happens now. We look to our internal understandings to gain reason which helps us decide how to interpret the world. Everything is learnt and that shapes who we are and what we do.
Then we have the Outward Reason:
Lets talk about the outward reason...as a human being we naturally compare ourselves to our outside world, this gives us a measure to work out how we rate against that comparison e.g. if you wanted to get fit and were interested in body building. You may start by watching the body building competitions.
Or if you want to do well in meetings you'll start paying attention to how others conduct themselves in similar meeting situations.
This gives you an understanding of the comparison, what it looks/feels like so you can assess how you measure up.
How do these two reasons create a lack of confidence?
Depending on how you internally assess how you measure up to that outward comparison creates the feeling of how confident or not confident you feel. Let me give you an example:
Imagine you've just been asked to take the lead in a project at work........go on....just take a minute to imagine that right now........Ok how do you feel? Whats your head telling you??...At lightening speed you'll have already evaluated that outward world expectation 'to lead a project' and internalised yourself against that comparison based on your experiences, learnings and beliefs.
As an additional side note now-a-days there's so much information at our fingertips sometimes when people research the outward comparison that task alone can feel overwhelming and make our confidence wobble because we get so much input information it becomes confusing.
So what holds us back from living life to our full potential?
What holds us back is a combination of the outward comparison and the internal interpretation of that comparison.
- If we compare ourselves favourably and/or find that comparison motivating we will no doubt describe ourselves as having and feeling confident. In the example above if we deem ourselves ready to lead a project or capable of doing a good job we'll more than likely feel confident to say yes.
- Equally if we compare ourselves and we feel we fall short or will never be able to reach that goal or even that our experiences, learnings and beliefs are different we will ultimately describe ourselves as being not confident. Using the example above if we deem we're too shy, have no experience of leading or see someone else who you feel does it better, we'll feel a confidence wobble and probably struggle.
In my experience people tend to do more of the latter.
The first step to improving your confidence is to notice your thoughts. Currently your mind performs this outward/inward evaluation unconsciously. Whenever you notice your confidence struggle, stop and ask yourself, what did I just do? How did I evaluated the outward and inward elements of this particular situation?
Once you notice what you did, you then have the opportunity to decide if it was helpful or not. It's so much easier to change something once you're consciously aware of what you're doing.
A final note: Remember you are a learning being and you can improve, move and shape your mind (its called Neuroplasticity), just because you experience things one way now doesn't mean you can't learn another.
Have a great week.
P.S. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and helping people understand themselves better, there's nothing quite like the atmosphere at my confidence workshops where we're all learning together. If you would like more support the details of the next workshop can be found here.