27 | My struggle with self-confidence and what I wish I had known sooner

Self-confidence can be one of the most important, and also one of the most elusive feelings that we pursue in our lives and our careers.  We all want to feel strong, powerful, and at ease each day in our jobs.  We’ve tried the power poses and the tips and tricks around building confidence, and while these confidence hacks might give us a temporary boost, we are often left back at square one, feeling like we haven’t made much progress.

 

So what’s missing here?  Why is it such a struggle to cultivate such a simple feeling?

 

Often, it’s because the guidance and advice that we receive around building self-confidence attempts to change us from the outside-in.  It tells us how to speak, how to work, and how to act.  We strive for an ideal that is outside of ourselves, and when we inevitably fail to meet this ideal, we find ourselves once again struggling. 

 

The key to building confidence is to build it from the inside-out.  For a moment, forget about who you think you’re supposed to be, how you think you’re supposed to act, dress, or speak.  Instead, turn inwards and connect with your truest authentic self, and build your confidence from the inside out. 

 

This sounds a little flighty and abstract, no?  I’ll make it more concrete for you by telling you exactly how you can connect with your true authentic essence.  You can do so simply by identifying what your values are. 

 

Your values are the things you care about most, the things that you hold dearest to your heart.  If you’re struggling to figure out what your values are, I find it to be much easier to start a sentence with the phrase “I care about…”  Here are some examples to get you started:

 

I care about being a force for positive and good

I care about respecting those around me and being respected

I care about making people feel included

I care about being honest and genuine

I care about helping those around me

I care about giving it my best shot, even if it’s difficult

I care about persevering through challenges

I care about being kind to myself and others

I care about learning

I care about growing

I care about teamwork

I care about integrity

I care about creativity and innovation

I care about connection

I care about being fair to everyone

I care about inspiring those around me

 

It’s best to pick the 1 or 2 values that you feel most strongly about.  You’ll know when you find them, because you’ll feel very strongly connected to them.  You may even notice physiological changes in your body. 

 

Once you know what your values are, lean on them to build confidence.  When a wave of self-doubt or uncertainty looms over you, come back to your values.  They are always available to lean on.  And ask yourself a simple question:

“How can I lean on my values to carry me through this?”

 

If your values are kindness, focus on how you can bring kindness into situations that really challenge your confidence.  This should be easy – leaning on your values is always natural, comfortable, and familiar because your values are core to who you really are.

 

Remember this:  anyone can grow and change, and you are worthy of feeling confident and feeling good.

 

Please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram – @theartofspeakingup – I love hearing from you!

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