Even the most confident/able/fearless leaders amongst us have moments when we lose that certainty in ourselves. If you’re aiming to raise your game in business and create more impact, then you’ll need to find ways to overcome those bouts of self-doubt that we all get from time to time.
Here is a list of my 10 favourite confidence hacks that have worked time and time again with clients. Not all of them will take your fancy, but there may well be a couple of nuggets amongst them that work for you. Some you can use in the moment, some over time. Try some out and let me know how you get on!
- Understand your signature strengths. We’re often encouraged to waste so much time focussing on our short-comings that we forget about what we excel in. Know what your strengths are and use them. All the time. This serves as a way of broadcasting them to others, a point made very well in this interview with Heather Brunner.Go Big! How can you use your strengths to help you overcome your current bout of self-doubt? To help you find your strengths, you can use the online assessment at Values in Action VIA.
- Use a Re-Frame. This is an NLP technique that’s very useful. It’s not about seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses, but instead, thinking differently about a situation that will leave you feeling more resourceful and capable of managing the situation. A question to ask yourself is ‘What’s a more helpful way of viewing/seeing/thinking/handling (delete as appropriate) what’s happening?’
- Create a circle of protection. For those of you old enough to remember the Ready Brek advert, you’ll understand the image I’m trying to re-create for you. Draw an imaginary an orange line around yourself. This line is your protection against anything that might suck the energy out of you, attack you in any way or cause you to take offense or hurt at anything anyone might say. It’s a visual/kinaesthetic way of allowing you to take a step back from a tricky situation and remain objective, so it’s useful for difficult conversations or challenging meetings. It will help you to stay calm and grounded. Talking of which…
- Learn to breathe and groundyourself. This is tremendously useful. To simplify a powerful process, breathe down into your feet, relaxing as you go. Imagine roots binding you to the floor. Done properly, this can help you to prevent yourself being knocked off balance by events.
- Following a similar theme, watch this TED Talk by Amy Cuddy.Your Body LanguageShapes Who You Are is required watching.
- Focus on how you want to feel. Create a first person, present tense version of that either by way of a pen portrait, or a vision board or a series of spoken affirmations. This encourages you to tune into the positive energyyou seek.
- Keep a journal of successes. My clients find this very powerful. If you don’t like writing, you can use a word a day to sum up what’s gone well. Keep a particular note of positive feedback. Write it down at once. It’s too easy to forget – or dismiss!
- Visualise the outcomesyou would like. Athletes and sports people do it for good reason.
- Relax.Easier said than done sometimes I know – BUT if you can relax enough to get rid of the stress hormones, then you’ll feel more confident. The breathing will help with this. And so will the next point.
- Gain some perspective. Take a moment to put your situation in context. There’s some big stuff happening in the world at the moment. How does your situation compare?
With a 25-year career in education, training and coaching, Susan Ritchie now specialises in helping executives to develop their leadership presence, creating the impact and engagement they need to further their own careers, as well as fuelling the continued growth and results of their organisations.
She works with a range of private and public-sector clients, both here in the UK, and overseas, including the BBC, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the NHS, Tower Hamlets Homes and various charities and universities and SMEs.
Her first book Strategies for Being Brilliant:21 Ways to be Happy, Confident & Successful, was published in 2013 and her second book, Strategies for Being Visible: 14 Profile-Raising Ideas for Emerging Female Leaders, is due for publication on the 25th January 2019.