If there was one word to describe me as a child, I’m pretty sure my parents would’ve said ‘confident’. It was the word that appeared most on my school reports and work appraisals and it bought me pride if not anything else. I’m not exactly sure where it came from (although, if you believe in horoscopes, I’m a Scorpio to the core!) or how it materialised but I always thought it was the reason why I had a pretty fearless approach to fashion, life choices and spontaneous decisions. There’s no doubt that it’s also got me into some pretty sticky situations, but it’s held me in good stead, especially when it came to my career.
I had no problem pitching to big brands, giving presentations (apart from at uni which was terrifying!) or approaching strangers to grab an opportunity. But recently, my trusty confidence supply has been a little on the low side. I was never so sure of my ability when I worked full-time at a magazine – ideas came aplenty and were met with praise and merit. But since going freelance, I’ve found myself out there alone with a series of big question marks over every decision I make or thought that I have. Suddenly, it’s become easier to stow away an idea in Notes that charge forward and make it happen. 2016 Jess would be horrified to say the least!
While I know that starting my own business was the best decision I’ve ever made and remain incredibly excited to get up in the morning and see what is possible to carve a future I’m proud of, there’s a creeping voice that has put the brakes on more than one venture. What if it fails? What if no one likes it? What if I just sit on that for a while? My entire blogging calendar is full of 20+ ideas that I’ve yet to push ‘Publish’ on, and while there are plenty of excuses I’ve come up with, the truth is I’m experiencing a bit of a confidence crisis!
It happens to all of us, I’m sure, at some point or another and it’s how we know that we’re breaking out of our comfort zone which, ultimately is what makes us grow as a person and achieve unimaginable highs. So, how do we push through it and have a little more faith in ourselves? Well, I’m definitely a working progress on that one, but these are a few things I’ve been doing…
When I think about self-help books I always go to that SATC scene where Charlotte stumbles into that area of the book shop and people are sobbing on the floor! But, I always like to read something that perhaps doesn’t promise to turn my life around, but there’s a subliminal message in there somewhere that can give me the tools I need to reach the goals I want. Whether that’s having a better work/life balance or growing my business.
I’m trying to read more for pleasure but like to get something useful from my literary buys but when I don’t have the time, putting a podcast on while I’m driving has been an absolute godsend! Not only does it make journeys quicker, I find that the words seem to sink in better and I leave the car feeling so inspired. These are just some of the AMAZING ones I’ve found to give your mindset a bit of a shake-up from like-minded girl bosses.
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
How To Fail, Elizabeth Daily
Super Soul, Oprah Winfrey
Happy Place, Fearne Cotton
Overnight Success, Maria Hotzistefanis
I know, this sounds so woo-woo but bear with! I think, as women, we have a real problem with praising ourselves. It’s not just women but predominantly it’s the female gender and I won’t go into the psychology of why it’s like that but it’s something we need to change. So often we hop from one task to the next without taking the time to give ourselves a pat on the back for completing each of them. This is something I’m really trying to do more of to give myself the confidence to keep going, keep ticking off the to-do list and smashing those goals.
At the end of each day or each completed task, take a minute to acknowledge what you’ve achieved that day and how fucking awesome you really are! Especially if, like me, you’re self-employed and are missing having appraisals from your boss.
BREAK IT DOWN
Keeping your eye on the prize is so important to open out your mindset and overcome a confidence crisis. Instead of thinking you can’t do something, remember what you’re trying to achieve overall and what it takes to get there. Break it down, piece by piece so it’s not so overwhelming and keep looking back on everything you’ve achieved so far to give you that push to take you on to the next step.
BEND AND ADAPT
One of the best things I learnt from Oprah Winfrey’s podcast (above) is that one of the fundamental parts of a confidence crisis is resistance. It’s a force of nature, a series of thoughts that stop you from moving forward out of fear. Sound familiar? But what struck me was that once you recognise it, accept it and convince yourself that they’re not your thoughts, it’s just the resistance keeping you from what you really want to do, it’s easier to push through it.
So, the next time you want to march into your boss’s office to ask for a pay rise but you’re lacking the confidence, remember that it’s just nature’s way of keeping you in this safe, familiar and comfortable place and it’s your job to push that to one side and move forward. Mind. Blown.
EMBRACE YOUR FLAWS
A low self esteem is the catalyst for a confidence crisis. Not feeling good enough or worthy of good things is more common that you know. Nobody is perfect, we all have strengths and weaknesses, but instead of using your flaws as a reason to stop you from doing something keeps you in a place that’s familiar, but won’t get you what you want. So focus on your strengths and use THOSE as a stepping stone to get to where you want to be.
For example, I’m not that great at Twitter and I know it’s important for my business – if consistent I get a lot of traffic from there. But I am pretty good at Instagram – I enjoy it more and it’s where I want to spend my time. So, I’ll carry on spending the bulk of my time on that platform and grow my business that way, but schedule tweets every Monday for the week so be present on Twitter as well.
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