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7 STEPS TO A GREATER SELF CONFIDENCE
Jeanette Harvey What is your typical reaction upon hearing something new – some new philosophy or way of thinking, being or acting? Would all the possibilities include acceptance of the new/different information, rejection of it, and/or feeling no connection to it or being neutral? How do you perceive yourself as a learner? Are you willing to look at something new/different with the possibility that you may be able to shift into a space of wonder and anticipation that you may be adding to your previous knowledge? If so, I welcome you to share this approach to a greater self confidence. Please take the journey through these 7 Steps and I am confident you will arrive at a stronger sense of self and an increase in your self confidence.

STEP 1:

GETTING TO KNOW ME!

How many of us have really taken the time to get to know ourselves? Take the time to thoughtfully answer these questions. Write them down somewhere private and leave some space between the answers to go back and add what is requested at Section B. SECTION A: What is my favourite colour? Why? What is my favourite food? Why? What is my favourite song? Why? What is my most valued possession? Why? What is my greatest strength? Why? Where is my greatest need to grow? Why? What is my greatest fear? Why? What is my best skill? Why? What is my greatest mistake? Why? What is my greatest accomplishment? Why? What is the experience that brings me greatest joy? Why? What is the one task that I am least fond of doing? Why? SECTION B: Now as well as answering WHY to each of the above questions, try and understand the energy, feeling or emotion that is behind the answers that you have written. And now spend some time answering the following questions. If I were to die today, what is the one thing everyone who knows me would say about me? What would I want them to say? Why wouldn’t or couldn’t they say what I would want them to say? (Adapted from “Yesterday I Cried” Iyanla Vanzant)

STEP 2:

SET YOUR OWN RULES AND STICK TO THEM – CORE VALUES

It becomes easier to adhere to a set of rules – when you have created them and not had them enforced upon you. In this time of rapid change how much more value is there in holding firm to your own principles? Many others appear to be floundering e.g. the troubles within some religions, politicians taking us to war, family values constantly moving. Consider some of the following and begin to choose what works for you: I don’t steal – from others, from the company, from anywhere; I don’t waste company time e.g. I limit personal calls at work to the necessities, I don’t take longer than allowed for lunch etc; I don’t swear……in company…….. at work; I don’t tell seedy jokes……..or racist jokes…….or jokes that denigrate others; I don’t cheat on my partner. EXAMPLE: Someone could say, “I wouldn’t cheat on you because I wouldn’t want to hurt you.” Now this is all well and good while everything is going well in the relationship. But, what happens if you have a fight? Often the one thing you really want to do is HURT the other person, right???? So, if the only reason you have this principle is because you don’t want to HURT the other person……how can you deter yourself from just this course of action? However, if it is firmly ingrained in your set of personal values “I don’t cheat because…….. I don’t”, then it doesn’t matter what other influence comes into play, does it? Notice that I said “I don’t” rather than “I won’t”? The experience of choosing one’s own set of core values is a most interesting and rewarding process that profoundly affects one’s level of self-confidence.

STEP 3:

KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS – LISTEN TO YOUR LISTENING.

How much of what goes on in your head is generated by YOU. Think about it! Are you taking any notice, really taking time to notice? And more importantly are you prepared to take any responsibility for what is taking up your thinking? Consider this as the conversation going on in your head – your private conversation. And if it is a conversation then who is the listener? Your beliefs, thoughts, ideas, values, stories etc emanate from the myriad of your life’s experiences – or more importantly your interpretation of them. These experiences might have originated from your family culture and traditions. They may have been influenced by your education opportunities. We each have unique personal experiences that impact upon our thoughts. Our profession or career may also impact on where our thoughts focus day to day. Are you contributing in a conscious manner? Stop right now and spend some time in thought about what has been going around in your head TODAY. Have you spent time thinking about your

conversations, your opinion, your options, your moves, your motives, your feelings or your purpose, …….. or has you head just been filled with ….the newspaper, the radio, the TV, other people’s ideas, thoughts or demands? Would you like to be the person who is directing your thoughts/listening? Then start right now. I challenge you to ‘listen to your listening’! One of the first steps to self awareness is taking the time to observe how you are listening to your own listening. Begin to listen to what is going on in your listening while you are conversing with another. Listen to what is going on in your listening while you are watching your colleagues in the office. Listen to what is going on in your listening while you are driving in your car. And begin to live in the question – “Why am I listening and observing this way?”

STEP 4:

KNOW YOUR FEELINGS – MOODS AND EMOTIONS.

How well do you know your feelings, moods and emotions? Whilst we are often the captive of our moods – it is not always a conscious observation. More often than not our moods govern us. We often react and respond from our mood. What value do you think would be in choosing your mood? To capture the similarities among emotions, many researchers have tried to identify basic or primary emotions. Robert Plutchik (Emotions: A Phychoevolutionary Synthesis. 1980. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc) developed a most helpful model. In this model there are eight basic emotions which include joy, acceptance, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and anticipation. How surprising that one of the most widely touted emotion is missing from this list – love! How many of us would have been able to name these eight? And if we couldn’t name them – then how could we identify them within ourselves? And if we couldn’t identify them – how can we express them appropriately? Consider the liberation that would come about if what you initially felt as anger - could clearly be identified as disappointment at the children leaving possessions lying about. You can deal with the disappointment by addressing the issue at hand (the children and possessions) – but what use would the anger be in your body or life? Consider keeping an emotional diary for a week to track the ups and downs that are common to us all. Once we clearly identify our emotions or moods then we can move to the next step of learning to shift them to a mood that serves us to our advantage. “Shift them”, you say? “I can shift them?” Well let me ask – if you can’t shift them – then who do you give permission or authority to? How would you feel if you took back that permission or authority and were the creator of your own moods and emotions?

STEP 5:

KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES (OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN).

In my experience many people consider their strengths from what other people tell them. It is when someone else highlights a gift or talent – that one begins to take notice of and develop it. An example may be trying to do a job because someone else said you would be good at it. I wonder what the result would be if you identify a gift or talent and you choose to develop it? The reality is no-one truly knows you better than you know yourself. I recall trying to keep up with my sisters when we played netball together – Twisted Sisters we were called. I constantly compared my abilities with theirs and usually came up short (even though I was the tallest!) Mind you - there were some sisters who trained more than I did – that had better physical strength than I did – and basically were more talented than I was. What peace came about when I just played for the fun of it and just gave it MY best shot! I found my talent was elsewhere. I have ceased calling the opposite of strength - weakness - and prefer to call them our ‘opportunities to learn’. Weakness conjures an inability to do something well, whereas considering the opportunity to learn opens to the doors to possibility. Can you think of an instance where you keep pushing and pushing yourself in a direction when you would rather be floating in another? What is stopping you? What needs to be changed in your ‘listening’ to generate a positive approach to identify your potential? How can you begin to identify a strength or an opportunity to learn? Self awareness = Self confidence. “If you spot it ….. you got it”! One of the stepping stones to self confidence is self awareness. The greater self knowledge we possess the better able we are to progress in this postmodern world of constant change. Often our awareness is not chosen – it is formed by what others may have observed and then spoken into our lives. For example parents might have spoken from a very early age that you are “happy child”, “lazy bones”, “the stubborn one”. And the funny thing is – we embody that. It may be that you have embarked on a journey of self discovery for some time. It may be that some have never considered or had the time to. But, in my experience there is always something we can learn about ourselves. One of the more challenging – yet quite revealing – attitudes is observing ourselves in others. Mind you it is often quite difficult to acknowledge that a negative

characteristic that we observe in an acquaintance lives also within ourselves. Much easier to happily lay claim to a positive trait that we observe in another. However, take the opportunity to reflect on this possibility and ask yourself – “Why am I observing this in another?” “What can I learn about myself?” Better yet – why not commence observing yourself as if from an outsider’s perspective. What a way to get to know yourself.

STEP 6:

EVERY ACTION HAS AN EQUAL & OPPOSITE RE-ACTION.

And every re-action often has an original and totally unrelated pain. Have you ever had a really strong re-action when someone said something to you? It didn’t have to be said in anger or sarcastically (although it may have) but your re-action was really noticeably animated and perhaps way out of proportion. Was your heart was beating rapidly, shallow breath, that creepy crawly feeling climbing up your neck (smoke coming out of your nostrils?)? If you look back later – you might even realise yourself that your re-action was quite unnecessary for the situation. Why is it that we are willing to vent our reactions to this current situation? Why is it that we are so willing to blame the other for this feeling/animation? What would be your thoughts around exploring the possibility that this feeling was already in you and this situation merely brought it to the surface? Does this cause you to consider how you might shift the emotion from your body? Or at least choose a more appropriate response to the current situation. You can then take an opportunity later to see where the stronger emotion originated. Is it still necessary to be holding this feeling? Is it still serving you? I recall an instance recently when my date became quite agitated when I asked for a third glass of wine at a dinner party. I became far more agitated than the instance called for. Knowing what I know however, I chose to discuss my reaction and came to the understanding that I had been carrying around a hidden belief (probably since childhood) that I wasn’t allowed to have any fun. My partner’s response brought this to the surface. Had I just responded to his comment – I would never have been able to identify and release this old and useless belief. I choose now to always examine any unnecessarily strong or seemingly inappropriate response and look for these opportunities to grow and learn.

STEP 7:

DON’T LET OTHERS ‘SHOULD’ ON YOU!

Don’t you think you ‘should’ on yourself enough? If there is one word that I encourage clients to remove from their vocabulary it is “should”. Can you tell me what it conveys? It very rarely holds any significance. It often is negative and berating. It rarely encourages action. It often stifles action. Once you choose to cease using this word and replace it – you can create some purposeful activity in your life. Try replacing: “I should exercise more” with “I will exercise more”. “I should get to visit my family more often” with “I can make the time to visit family”. “I should take the time to relax more” with “Taking the time to relax will be so enjoyable and I will ….. (you choose how you like to relax)”. “I should stop spending money on frivolous items” with “I will begin a plan that will help me to be more cautious with my money”. What do you think? Are you going to continue to ‘should’ on yourself or are you confidently going to choose to live life to the fullest – on your terms?

The journey to self confidence can take you along the path of self knowledge, self awareness to self acceptance. Once at the place of self confidence you will find a growing sense of self esteem. Enjoy the journey and if you would like to take this journey with a coach who will respectfully walk alongside, shining the light when it seems too dark (or transparent) to see for yourself - please call me. 4124 2231 jeanette@harveycoaching.com.au www.harveycoaching.com.au

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