Confidence is a critical element of success, and as women, we have a unique relationship with it. My relationship with my confidence has often been a very stressful one. For a big part of my adult life, I felt I had very little confidence; it was the thing that seemed most vulnerable in the challenges of life.
Before I discovered the power of neuroscience, I genuinely felt that I would go through life with my confidence always up for grabs. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to consider my brain as a machine that I can tinker with, rather than looking at myself as the broken vessel requiring fixing – exhausting.
To be clear, it’s not that low confidence means we won’t achieve success. Our success is fuelled by a range of things we draw on daily, but it’s absolutely the case that it will come unnecessarily slowly, and painfully.
But, there’s no question that confidence can be built, that it’s easy to build and that once we have it, it can’t be lost.
So without further ado, here’s the formula for harnessing your confidence:
1- SAY YOU CAN!
Insert ‘I can’ into your daily vocabulary, even if it has to be ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ to begin with. Your brain will catch on. You’re going to find this gobsmackingly simple, and you may even wonder if it’s too good to be true. But trust me, this is tested and proven. And to prove it, it’s got a name – we call it the ‘I’ve got this’ tool.
2- Look for evidence to prove you can
The single thing that will build our confidence is for us to look for the evidence that we can. To do this, we look at what we already have to support what we want to do.
The task is a simple process of listing out our skills, traits, habits and capacities or anything at all we think would be useful and supportive.
3- Repeat step 1
The next part of the process is to repeat the statement to yourself: ‘I’ve got this.’ Now, the statement is based on the explicit knowledge of what we already have and the rest we can learn.
The more we do this process, the more explicitly aware we are of our strengths, and in fact, in time we’ll need to do it less and less. Use the ‘I’ve got this’ tool every time you’re planning to take on anything new that you know will stretch you. Do it first, and do it always, and you’ll and that the confidence you want to progress is right there for you. We’ve got this.
So, make this a habit. Do it when you wake up, when you finish your workday, or before a big meeting. Whenever it is that you feel the ‘I lack …’ thought process creep in. One of the things this self-awareness process does is release dopamine, and you’ll know you’ve done that because you’ll start to feel good. But more importantly, when the brain releases dopamine, it readjusts our brain chemistry so that we think better. It’s a double whammy of awesome.