Weekly Column: Aspire Unplugged, by Cheryl Patterson
“If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” – Roopleen
When I was in my mid-twenties (many years ago!), a lady I knew said that one of the most confident people she knew was in the room. As I looked around and asked who, she said me. I was surprised and don’t think I fully understood why she thought so. I knew I was independent and determined – pursing my dream business – but I didn’t relate it to confidence. Now I realize that my determination had to start with believing that I could.
Confidence starts with believing in yourself. Dr. Manisha Goel et al of the University of Science & Technology, India, indicates, “Confident people have deep faith in their future and can accurately assess their capabilities. They also have a general sense of control in their lives and believe that, within reason, they will be able to do what they desire, plan and expect, no matter what the foreseeable obstacle.”
Although, self-confidence doesn’t prevent adversity or failure, it provides the courage to face and learn from it and the determination to keep going.
In contrast, a lack of self-confidence might be reflected in avoiding risks because of fear of failure or about what others think. Confidence also doesn’t permeate all areas of our lives. We might feel confident in some areas and not so much in others, and it can also depend on how we were raised.
Goel suggests, “If one or both parents are excessively critical or demanding, or if they are overprotective and discourage moves toward independence, children may come to believe they are incapable, inadequate or inferior.” On the other hand, acceptance, support and encouragement lead to greater feelings about one’s self.
Thankfully, as adults, we have control over our self-confidence. So, if you’re not sure whether you have enough confidence to achieve your goals, don’t fret it- strengthen it, as follows:
Make a list of your strengths, and use them more often. For example, if you’re good in social situations, engage in activities or tasks that involve this kind of setting; or if you enjoy learning, seek opportunities that allow you to embrace this part of yourself, and so on.
List three accomplishments in a journal each day. They can be as simple as going for a walk (taking care physically), or persevering in a goal. This is an easy way to reinforce acknowledgement and appreciation of your achievements.
Take the word “luck” out of your vocabulary. You didn’t succeed at something because of “luck,” it was the effort and skills you put in to making it happen.
Spend time in supportive environments. “Like attracts like.” So, surround yourself with confident people or groups that value it in others (versus feel threatened by it).
Focus on your thoughts and beliefs, rather than on the unrealistic expectations or standards of others.”
Have faith. If we have faith in our abilities, we’re more likely to achieve our goals because we believe we can. We feel confident that things will work out, and if they don’t that we can handle it, which increases our confidence further.
Self-confidence starts with the “self” for a reason – it depends on your convictions about yourself. Or as Jesse Jackson so eloquently put it, “If my mind can conceive it, my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it!” (1978 Speech: “It’s Up to You!”).