This Independence Day, I found myself wondering, what if we could get free of ‘what holds us back’. As a coach, I often see a lack of confidence holding people back from doing their best and being who they want to be.
We let so many things dent our confidence. One factor that affects women more often than men is that no one in their family has done what they want to do. It is almost as if they do not have the permission to do it. I do not mean that they do not have permission from their family, but they hesitate to allow themselves to go where no woman in their family has ever gone. There is a part of them that wants to break the shackles and embark on the adventure, but another and sometimes a stronger part of them pulls them back, tells them they are not good enough, and even if they try, the defeatist voice at the back of their head does not let them give their best and achieve their goal. The worst is that they do not revel in it even after they succeed. They feel like an imposter.
And the first thing I want to say to anyone who feels this way is that you are not alone. Until May 6th, 1954, nobody believed running a mile in less than 4 minutes was possible. But once Roger Bannister broke the record, it has been broken multiple times by multiple athletes.
So yes, sometimes we feel that if no one in our family or circle has achieved what we secretly want, we will be unable to do it. But you know, nobody can stop you from being the first in your circle of family and friends to break the barrier. And I do not want to downplay the importance of role models. I want to encourage everyone to widen their circle when looking for role models ….look in your neighborhood, city, state, country, and even worldwide. You will find someone who accomplished what inspires you despite challenges, even if they were not the unique challenges you face.
The other thing that dents confidence is comparison with others. Every day I see my clients pull themselves down by comparing themselves to others rather than build themselves up by acknowledging their progress. You know, by all means, use an expert as a benchmark but do not use their performance to make yourself feel bad.
Let me share a mantra that will help you feel confident: practice – practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the more confident you will feel. You do not know how many hours the person whose skills you admire has put in to be able to show the finesse they display today. But they have been committed, consistent, and disciplined about practicing what they make look so easy today.
I will give you another tip – any time you need to do something which makes you go weak in the knees, take a couple of minutes, and stand in a power posture. Power posture is the stance of a superhero, any superhero of your choice. As you change your physiology, your feelings will change too.
Let me know your experiences with confidence. What works for you?
PS – Join me in the “The Key to Your Next Promotion” masterclass and learn practical tips to accelerate your career.