Showing posts with label self-confidence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self-confidence. Show all posts

Friday, February 22, 2013

Is a Lack of Confidence Holding You Back?

Several years ago we had an opening in our company for a technical support specialist. This position requires a person to have both technical skills and people skills because the key role is to provide customer support for our software products.

That’s not an easy combination of skills to find in one person, but we had narrowed our choices to two candidates based on strong resumes and an initial phone conversation.

When it came to the in-person interviews, the contrast was stark and the choice became obvious rather quickly.

Candidate A’s body posture and eye contact communicated a complete lack of self-confidence. He rarely looked at me when I spoke to him or asked a question, and his responses were vague and uncertain. He was so clearly uncomfortable that it was a relief for him and me when the interview ended.

I couldn't imagine him on the phone interacting with our customers, who are looking for someone to reassure them and take command of a problem when they call.

When Candidate B arrived later, I was impressed. He sat up in his chair, looked me straight in the eye, and was quite articulate in explaining why he’d be the ideal candidate for the job. He maintained his poise no matter what types of questions I threw his way. His references were stellar, and he gave several examples of solving customer problems in other jobs he’d held. We hired him because it was easy to picture him competently handling a variety of situations with our software users.

During the years that he worked for us, we consistently got rave reviews from customers about his attitude and skills. It was not uncommon for me to receive unsolicited emails and notes about the outstanding service he provided.

Whether or not you’re in an interview situation, people are assessing your levels of competence and confidence all the time. They do this by observing the way you speak and carry yourself.

What message do YOU send?

If you’re not conveying the strength and self-assurance that you'd like to, here are two ideas for boosting your confidence.

1. Start paying more attention to what you do well, not the mistakes you make or the skills you lack. We all have room for improvement, but you possess many abilities that can serve you and others well. Heed this advice from American educator Henry Van Dyke:

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

2. Absorb, internalize and apply the wisdom from these champions in the world of sports, who understand at a deep level what it takes to build confidence.

Golf great Jack Nicklaus: “Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.”

Arthur Ashe from the world of tennis: "One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation."

Pro football quarterback Roger Staubach: “Confidence is the result of hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.”

Your level of confidence will affect everything you do and say in life. So if your lack of confidence is holding you back, commit today to do the necessary work to improve it, one step at a time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How Contact Lenses Transformed My Self-Image

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the fourth grade. At the time, I thought it was cool to have glasses. But by the time I reached high school, my near-sightedness had advanced, and my lenses were thick and unattractive.

Which made me feel very unattractive. Actually, ugly would be more accurate. This had a huge impact on my self-image and self-confidence as I entered the 9th grade.

But I had hope that things would change because my sister, who’s two years older than me, got contact lenses after her sophomore year in high school. In our family the age that she (the first-born) got permission to do things was significant. I’d be able to get contact lenses, too, but not until I completed my sophomore year. That’s how it worked.

So I endured the first two years of high school, and finally, my day arrived.

It was like a miracle when I saw the world clearly without glasses for the first time in seven years. I looked in the mirror and no longer saw a gawky girl staring back at me.

Then I started getting compliments about my beautiful eyes – people had not been able to see them behind those thick lenses. Or maybe I had been more timid about having eye contact. Whatever the reason, my self-image was transformed in just a few short months.

I felt different inside and started acting with more confidence and assurance. I expanded my beliefs about what was possible academically and socially. I became president of the Keyette Club my senior year and won a faculty award for outstanding contributions at graduation.

Of course, I don’t tie all of my accomplishments in high school to getting contact lenses. It’s not that simple. And yet, it’s important to recognize how your perception of yourself affects the way you see the world and operate in it.

I’m betting you have some limiting beliefs about yourself today that can be traced back to your youth. An adult whose opinion mattered to you said something – whether an off-handed comment or a continual barrage of criticism – that has stuck with you. Or maybe, like me, you felt unattractive or inferior due to a physical limitation. The impact could have been profound in affecting your thoughts and your behavior.

It’s worth taking time to think about the attitudes and beliefs you have about things from your past and determine if they are true now – or if they were ever true. You may be putting yourself in an imaginary box that doesn’t exist in reality. And the way to break free is to be willing to take a long, hard look at the thoughts you’ve accepted and ask:

     “Is this really true?”
     “What evidence do I have to support this thought?”
     “What evidence do I have to refute it?"
      "What do I want to DO about this?”

It takes courage and effort to examine long-held beliefs, but the freedom you’ll feel afterwards is worth it. And you’ll likely discover that you’re capable of much more than you ever thought possible.
"An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life." - Joyce Brothers, American psychologist (1925- )"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Self-Confidence Is the Foundation for Achievement

You have the potential to accomplish some really important things during your life. But will you do them? Most people barely scratch the surface of what they’re capable of.

There are many reasons for this. A big one that holds back a lot of folks is a lack of self-confidence. Somehow we get it in our heads that what we have to offer isn’t that valuable. We minimize our talents, our gifts and our capabilities. Maybe as you were growing up, people who were important to you – your parents, teachers, coaches and even friends – gave you more criticism about what you did wrong than praise for what you did right. With this kind of ongoing negative input, it’s hard to develop strong self-esteem. And low self-esteem has a huge impact on your confidence level.

When you lack strong self-esteem and self-confidence, here’s what happens. No matter how well you do something or what successes you achieve, that inner critic is constantly chattering in the background, finding fault with what you’ve done.

What you have to do first is STOP the negative self-talk. Start paying attention to all those things you do well. And give yourself your own gold stars, as one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy likes to say. As you make deposits in your own emotional bank account, you’ll start feeling more sure of yourself. You’ll realize that you can do more than you thought you could.

And the opinions of others will matter less to you.

Then at the end of each day, maybe right before you go to sleep, take time to do two things:

1 – Reflect on the things you accomplished or did well that day, no matter how small. It’s important to acknowledge and give yourself credit for these. Think about what you’re grateful for, to put yourself in a positive state of mind.

2 – Visualize in great detail something you intensely want to do, have or be. Let yourself experience all the positive feelings you’ll have when this happens.

If you do that EVERY day, you’ll start taking on new and different challenges. You’ll say YES more often to opportunities that come your way. Each time you stretch and experience a success, your belief system expands. When that happens, your self-confidence grows and now you’re set up to accomplish the really big things that you were meant to do.
“Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: WORK” – Jack Nicklaus, American professional golfer (1940- ) 
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan, American professional basketball player (1963- ) 
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do.” – Mary Kay Ash, American business leader (1918-2001)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You Need Self-Confidence to Think Big

Self-confidence has a huge impact on what you achieve in life. That’s because it influences the way you think about yourself and what you’re capable of. Find out specific things you can do every day to get rid of negative self-talk and set yourself up for greater confidence.

What strategies have helped you strengthen your confidence and achieve more than you first thought you could?
“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” - Thomas Edison, American inventor

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” - Henry Van Dyke, American educator

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” - Samuel Johnson, British essayist

“There isn’t a person anywhere who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can.” - Henry Ford, American business leader

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Limiting Beliefs Cause Us to Think “Small”

Have you ever said, “I could never do that” when someone suggested you try something totally different?

I have. Many times in my life.

More times than I’d like to admit, actually.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us play “small.” We get stuck in familiar routines and habits, and we don’t consider how much more is possible for us. Even if the change could lead to greater success.

What’s holding us back?

Recordings from our childhood play endlessly in the background of our minds, driving our behavior today. Until we bring these old tapes to consciousness and examine their flaws and inaccuracies, we will continue to be guided by them in the choices we make every day.

Also, maybe you notice that someone else is much better than you are in a given skill, and you criticize yourself for not measuring up to them. It’s easy to find someone who’s smarter, more attractive, or has more money than you do.

All of this internal dialogue about your perceived shortcomings or failings leads to lack of confidence and paralysis. Pretty soon you convince yourself that you shouldn’t try anything outside your comfort zone because you might not get the results you hoped for…and then you’d feel even worse about yourself.

The result is, you don’t give yourself enough credit for the amazing qualities you do possess. How do I know this about you? Because most of us have an ongoing litany of negative self-talk permeating our minds throughout the day.
"Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are." - Malcolm S. Forbes, American publisher
If you’re ready to start thinking “BIG” about yourself and what’s possible in your life, these three actions will feed your subconscious mind with positive, realistic thoughts that can help you get there:

#1 – Keep a daily journal and record thoughts about how you can use your strengths to make a difference.

#2 - Write affirmations and say them aloud every day. You might want to record them, then listen to them each morning and evening.

#3 – Spend at least 10 minutes each morning sitting quietly with your eyes closed, visualizing the day exactly as you’d like to see it unfold and imagining yourself successfully completing tasks that will help you accomplish your goals.
"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." - Norman Vincent Peale, American author
Please share the strategies you use to keep yourself thinking "big" on a regular basis.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Self-Confidence - The Strength to Achieve Is Within You

Your self-confidence affects your attitudes, beliefs and actions. It's natural to be unsure of yourself when you're taking on something new. Apply the insights and suggestions in this video to successfully overcome your fears and self-doubts.

This video appeared this week as one of the features of our new multi-media Golden Eggs ezine. It appears weekly and each issue focuses on a single aspect of personal strength. Three experts contribute articles, videos and podcasts.

We've gotten rave reviews from subscibers about the format and content, so I encourage you to get it, too! Just enter your email address in the box above.

Also, I'd really like your comments about self-confidence. Which events in your life have boosted your confidence?