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Navigating Confidence Curveballs

04 February 2016

Even the most confident person has moments when their confidence takes a steep nosedive. Quite often it’s when the rug is yanked unexpectedly from beneath us. Perhaps due to an unexpected change at work that brings our well-planned and hard earned career to a screeching halt. Or a major personal setback that kicks us in the gut. 

These confidence curveballs can hit us hard. It catches us by surprise. And has the unfortunate knock on effect of making us question… or rather, temporarily forget, our strengths and what truly we’re capable of doing.

While many factors affect our confidence, in general, when we feel more in control of a situation, and there is more certainty, we feel more confident. As our feeling of control and certainty decreases, so does our self confidence. When we’re hit with a setback, our natural tendency is to focus on the negatives. Therefore, as a first step, it’s useful to remind ourselves to focus instead on what we do have certainty and control over to help us regain our confidence foothold.

Here are some other things you can do to navigate your confidence curveball -

Ask yourself “What do you have confidence in?”

In other words, what do you know for certain? And what is it about yourself that you have confidence in? Use what you know about yourself with certainty as an anchor during these turbulent times of uncertainty.

For example: you may have been unexpectedly made redundant from your job. However, you know that you are resourceful and you know from past experiences that you are resilient. So tap into the confidence you have in your own resourcefulness and ability to bounce back.

Remind yourself of your past successes and accomplishments

Now, more than ever, it’s vital to remind yourself of all that you’ve accomplished. Past successes are a great reminder of what you’re capable of doing. And may reveal triggers you’ve used in the past to boost your confidence.

Fallback on your strengths

When we get thrown a confidence curveball, we naturally turn the spotlight onto our limitations - what we’re not good at or not doing enough of. Focusing on our weaknesses is not the most productive route to greater effectiveness in a normal day. It’s even more detrimental when your confidence has taken a hard knock. Turn your attention instead to your strengths and how you can best leverage them to move forward. 

Focus on things you can do that are within your control

Often just putting a plan in place is enough to start rebuilding confidence. A plan makes us feel more in control of what happens next. In some cases, getting more information to help clarify issues or building your knowledge/skill base is the key. There are definitely things within your control that can help you feel more confident about the future. Find out what they are and take action.

Get objective external perspective 

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Talking to someone often helps. Ideally you already have someone within your inner trusted circle that can provide an objective perspective and a much needed morale boost.

So the next time the rug gets yanked from beneath you, take heart. Your confidence nosedive is temporary and there are ways to rebound quickly.

As always, wishing you onwards and upwards in your journey.

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