Increasing your confidence as a leader is critical to both performing strongly and to feeling good. Confidence comes from inside of you rather than from external sources.
You don’t become more confident as a result of what others say to you.
Instead, your confidence increases when you tell yourself you can and when you then believe you can. That means if you want a greater level of confidence, you need to grow it from inside.
To help you out with your thinking, I’m sharing some confidence hacks. The 1st Hack was Know You Can. If you can’t do it, no amount of thinking you can do something will give you the feeling of confidence. That means you may need to take some training, read a book or practice a skill to become more proficient, adept or able, thus more confident.
Confidence is what you think you are capable of doing
This week we are moving on to the 2nd confidence hack: Believe You Can. This hack is all about shifting your mindset.
I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…
Do you believe you can? If you don’t, I’m sorry to tell you, but you are in for some big challenges! If you don’t believe in your ability or skill, you will hit internal resistance. That inner voice will tell you to should step back. It will suggest you let someone else take the reins. That whisper in your mind will caution you, that you aren’t quite ready yet.
Believe You can
The confidence hack "Believe You Can" is about change your thinking. Your thoughts can either propel you forward, cause you to freeze or to make you pull back. If you want to increase your confidence, you’ll need to become aware of those thoughts and possible alter or tweak them. Sometimes it doesn’t take much of a shift in the words you are thinking. This powerful example from Alicia Keys reminds us of how quickly changing one word can impact us.
Shifting from “If I…” to “When I…” is an incredible tweak!
Here are 2 ways to tweak your thoughts to have the most power over your confidence levels.
Use Your Inner Guidance Cycle
Using the steps of the Inner Guidance Cycle (pause, ponder, pivot & proceed) will help you to become aware of your thoughts. The cycle gives you access to your Inner Guidance System, which is that inner wisdom. That internal insight allows you to notice the thought and then determine if what you are thinking is going to be helpful in getting you where you want to be. That awareness can help you to fine-tune the thought.
When you think, “I’m not ready yet.” You tend to stay quiet at a meeting. Noticing the precise words you are thinking, lets you step back and perhaps alter the what is going on in your mind. If you’ve been practicing public speaking (Remember Hack #1 was about increasing your competence so that you Know You Can), you may then adjust the thought to “It’s not going to come out perfectly, however, if I keep practicing I’ll get better. Speaking up now is an excellent opportunity to practice public speaking in real time.” This transformed thought boosts your confidence and helps you to speak up.
Develop a Growth Mindset
A fixed mindset keeps you stuck in a particular belief. When you have a fixed mindset, you don’t trust you can change or grow. You think you’ll never be smarter, more talented, a better speaker or good at conflict. The result of holding the belief firmly is that becomes an ongoing attitude of “Why to bother trying?" This stance kills your confidence.
Instead, when you develop a growth mindset, you become open to possibilities. A person with a growth mindset knows that it will take effort and time, however, that it is possible to change themselves.
Grow your growth mindset
To adopt a growth mindset, get better at asking
Believe You Can = Increased Confidence
Shifting your mindset and the way you think can have a profound impact on your confidence level. First, use the Inner Guidance Cycle to become more aware of your thoughts. Then develop a growth mindset that keeps you open to change and possibility. That increased awareness and a mindset shift will heighten your confidence, so you can both have a greater effect on your leadership and feel good in the process.
If you are like most leaders, you moved up the ranks coming into a supervisory or leadership position with little or no formal training. Perhaps that is why you feel like you are floundering through your days and bumbling through meetings, tasks, and expectations. It’s no wonder you struggle with confidence.
It’s hard to feel confident when you don’t feel competent!
Do you have the skills necessary
Consider for a moment you ability to handle the following leadership skills:
Are you getting the point?
While many of the skills you learn in life help you in leadership, they are not the same. You may need more formal training in some of the areas to feel comfortable as a leader.
To increase your competence as a leader, and thus your confidence, there are 3 steps
1) Identify skills you need to work on
Determining what you want to work on goes beyond what is on your performance appraisal. Honestly, your company is more worried about their needs than yours. What I am suggesting here, may be things you want to work on yourself rather than what is expected of you.
Think about the areas you feel shaky in.
Also, consider what skills make a good leader.
Which of those do you feel you need to work on? Here are a couple of good articles to check out that will give you some information about the skills necessary for effective leadership.
TASK: Make a list of the skills you want to work on.
2) Get the training you need to increase your skills
Once you have identified the skills, look at where you can get training for that skill.
Consider reading books, attending webinars, finding a mentor or coach or taking training that will grow you from the inside. We know that confidence is what you think you can do, therefore, start looking at retraining how you think.
TASK: Move forward with one of your identified training options.
3) Practice, practice, practice
Once you know what you need to do, you then need to put your new skill into action. However, you need to realize that it will feel awkward and weird in the beginning. It will feel strange to do this thing in a new way. Whether you are learning how to add a column using formulas in a spreadsheet or shifting the way you do staff meetings by starting them with kudos, it will feel weird. The catch is, to become proficient at a skill you need to practice it. By practicing the skill then you will you know you can handle it when that skill is being called upon.
TASK: Schedule time to practice your new skill.
Competence is increasing your capacity to do something
The ongoing skill development and subsequent practice will move you to feeling experienced and capable. Feeling more competent is what boosts your confidence. When you know you can handle a particular task; you feel much better about getting at it. The tendency to hesitate or procrastinate decrease. Your doubt diminishes. Uncertainty is replaced with self-assuredness. It is a whole different feeling when you know that you can handle it. Increase your skills and you will feel your confidence rise. Make you sure you know you can!
You hate your job, and you hate your life!
Well, ok, maybe it's not quite that bad, or maybe it is! However, you know if something doesn't change soon, it is going to get to that point where you can't go on.
There was a point for me, where I did hate my life and dreaded going to work.
I came home most days exhausted, frustrated and feeling totally incompetent as a leader. I hid the tears at work, but before the end of the day, they would usually escape.
It wasn't pretty!
The brunt of my dissatisfaction with my life came out with my kids and in my marriage. I was fearful I'd never figure it out. I just wanted to do a good job and live a decent life.
Instead, I felt isolated and alone.
I desperately longed for a different way
I hit rock bottom in my doctor's office.
As I was sobbing, I knew that the anti-depressants he'd prescribed could only be a temporary solution. I wanted to be a strong leader, and I wanted a healthy balance in life without the fix of prescriptions, overindulging in junk food or numbing myself in front of the TV to shut out reality.
My journey out of the mess
Over time, I did figure out how to excel in my work and to find my way back to balance quicker when I fall out of synch. I still don't do it perfectly, but I embarked on a journey to continually be growing stronger and more balanced. The change happened for me over time and with a plan.
To balance my inner expectations of excellence and high-quality work with my deep desire for meaning, purpose, and peace in my life, I reached out and opened myself up to learning. I pursued training that developed me. I soaked up knowledge from recommended books and the courses I attended. I reached out and asked for help. I drew wisdom from many mentors. I found coaches that challenged me to be authentically me. I became healthier in my body, mind, and soul.
I had to be courageous
To be vulnerable and admit I needed help, took courage. Continuing to be brave, seeking guidance and support strengthened my skills. This passionate desire to stretch myself helped me grow my confidence. I courageously stepped outside of my comfort zone again and again. I developed confidence in myself and in those around me. I was passionately determined, and I did not give up.
I didn't know it at the time, but I was developing GRIT
Grit is the determination to pursue what you believe in over the long term and to do that with perseverance. It takes tremendous courage to be gritty. You must develop unshakable confidence because honestly, it is not always glamorous. In fact, it's downright tough some days. But if you really care about what you are doing, you must figure this out.
I identified my values
Along my journey of growth, I learned, how important my family was to me. I also realized that I wasn't willing to give up my passion for my work to solely focus on family. I needed to find a way to be strong in my leadership and find some sense of balance in my life. It was that plan that kept me focused and continually moving ahead.
The difference came when I learned how to focus
My desire to honor both of my top values of family and purposeful work led me relentlessly pursue productivity and wellness. Initially, I didn't realize how tightly the concepts interweaved. I soon realized that one becomes more productive when you have a clear purpose and are healthier. Productivity isn't about getting lots done. It is about getting the right stuff done at the right time. That ability doesn't come from a time management strategies alone.
Getting clear on what is important
True productivity comes when you learn about who you really are, how you tick and even more importantly why you do what you do. That inner knowledge helps you to harness the power within you to transform your thoughts, your behaviours, your experience, and honestly, your life.
Do you want more confidence & balance?
Are you ready to feel more confident in your leadership and experience more balance between leadership and life? Are tired of feeling alone, isolated, stuck and frustrated? If so, then it's time for you to build your plan. Let me help you gain clarity on where you want to be and design your unique plan to get close that gap from where you are now to achieving that vision.
Become a gritty woman
My research, training, and life experiences are now passionately invested into the program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence. I have taken everything I have learned, all that I experienced and continue to experience and I share it with you in this 6-month experience that will transform your leadership and your life. Women With Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence helps you to build a roadmap to create your leadership and life the way you want it to be.
It's up to you.
You can continue on this path of frustration and unhappiness with your life, or you can start to change that today. If you choose to begin the change, you will need to do 3 things.
If you want help with that, try this
If you want some help with that, I'm here for you. I know it isn't easy. You may not even know where to start. To begin, you can book a 30-minute call with me to take the first step to getting clarity and moving along that path.
On this call, we will determine if the Women With Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence program is right for you.
Let me give you a quick overview of what Women With Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence is all about.
The program takes place over 6-months. It is all done online.
Join the Women With Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence program
The program starts in November. Only ten women will join me in this 6-month journey to transform their leadership and their life. I want you to discover how to living fully and passionately doing the work you were meant to do. If you want to know if this program is right for you, book a free call with me now to take that first step to creating your plan and moving towards your ideal life today!
Kathy is a leadership coach for women who want to strengthen their leadership and find balance in life. She mentors females as they rediscover their purpose, passion and persistence for life while dealing with office politics, jerk bosses and the challenges of family life. In her signature program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence, Kathy gives her ladies the hope and inspiration they need along with a kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives.
Find Kathy's new book here:
Mastering Confidence: Discover Your Leadership Potential by Awakening Your Inner Guidance System
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All you have to do, is:
Confidence is an inner game. That means it comes from inside of you. Confidence is what you think you are capable. That thinking part isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
Here are 4 hacks to help train your thoughts so you can feel more confident.
HACK # 1 - Know You Can – Competency
Before you feel any resemblance of comfort doing anything, you need some knowledge of how to do it. Even a guide telling you “step here” helps to feel slightly more confident even if you have never climbed that mountain before. The same is true in leadership. Confidence comes easier when you feel competent.
There are 2 parts to increasing competency:
Training can be formal courses or college or university programs. It can also be reading a book, attending a webinar, or talking to a mentor. Training is increasing your knowledge and skills.
Knowledge by itself doesn’t do a whole bunch for your confidence level. It is when you start applying the knowledge that you start to excel. Regular practice turns you from bumbling around to proficient and then to skilled or excellent.
TAKE ACTION: What area do you need to bump up your knowledge level? How can you practice this skill more?
For example, perhaps you avoid conflicts. You may decide that reading a book such as The Anatomy of Peace. That completes only half of the equation. Working your way through the suggestions in the book during staff meetings, at one-to-one supervision sessions with employees or in conversations with your board member, will allow you to hone the skills.
HACK # 2 - Believe You Can - Mindset
Do you remember reading The Little Engine that Could? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….
Confidence is what you think you can do….
Rather than telling ourselves I think I can, we spend more time listening to the overactive Gremlins in our mind that are doubting we can.
I don’t think I can! This isn’t going to work! I can’t handle this!
These inner doubting voices leave us in a persistent state of hesitation and uncertainty. Starting to get a handle on what is going on in your mind and shifting those thoughts to more helpful ones are critical to adopting a confident mindset.
Your Inner Guidance System (thoughts, feelings and body sensations) will help shift your mindset. Learn to use the Inner Guidance Cycle, and you will be well on your way!
TAKE ACTION: Take regular pauses during your day to noticing (ponder) reoccurring thoughts. Consider what shifts (pivots) you can do in your thinking to get you back into more confident action (proceed).
HINT – Learning the steps of the Inner Guidance Cycle will help you do this more automatically throughout your day (Pause, Ponder, Pivot and Proceed)
Watch this to learn more about the Inner Guidance Cycle
HACK # 3 - Act Like You Can - Courage
Most of us spend a lot of time hanging out in our comfort zone staying safe. We are waiting to feel confident before we move forward. The problem is that action comes before feeling.
You don’t feel the bonds of friendship with someone until you act friendly towards them. Love doesn’t emerge until you’ve demonstrated loving actions towards another. Often the act of dancing then makes you feel joyful.
Confidence often comes AFTER you’ve been courageous. When you step outside of your comfort zone, your comfort zone grows larger.
Remember the action of courage and confidence comes before the feeling of confidence. So, lean into your fear. It’s where you will also find your confidence growing.
TAKE ACTION: Notice where you are uncomfortable and even a little fearful. What action can you take there, that will grow your comfort zone.
For example, you may be uncomfortable speaking up at meetings and sharing your ideas. The place then to take action is at an upcoming meeting. Even though it feels awkward or even scary, voice your opinion once.
HACK # 4 - Stand Like You Can - Posture
Think about a shy, awkward teenager. Now consider a meek, timid woman. Then reflect on a yellow-bellied coward. What’s the body position of all of them?
Then think about a confident, self-assured person. How about an influential leader? Consider a strong, inspiring speaker. You get the picture already don’t you? Their body posture is entirely different.
The second body posture, not only conveys messages to others, but it also releases hormones in your body that makes you feel more confident. Try shifting the way you are standing and sitting, so you are in a more confident position. The change in your body posture will make you feel more confident.
ACTION ITEM: Practice your body posture in the mirror. Slouch and pull in. Consider speaking up at a meeting or addressing a conflict with staff. Then stand up tall and roll your shoulder’s back. Notice how different you feel in the second pose.
The 4 confidence hacks
In the coming weeks, I will go into these hacks in more detail. Already thought, you can start to apply these ideas to increase your confidence levels so you can achieve the desired impact you want in your leadership.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.