Having the freedom to choose, to follow our dreams and passions, to realize our potential can all be floored when we let the self-belief saboteurs have control. Oprah Winfrey once said ‘you don’t become what you want, you become what you believe’. She’s right.
1. The all powerful ‘they’.
‘They’ might be society, your family, friends or colleagues. Those people that we consider won’t approve, will look critically at us or deride for what we want to achieve. These aren’t the people to have around or give too much thinking time to when we’re striving towards a goal. Instead, think about who inspires you, who has stepped beyond the restrictions of convention to follow their own path. Think Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Angelina Jolie and add a few of your own.
2. Relationships that bring us down rather than build us up.
The age-old analogy of people being like radiators or drains holds true. When your self-belief is fragile, consider who you want to be around. If your mobile rings and the name that comes up makes your heart sing – answer. If your heart sinks, call them back when you feel stronger. Plan your day to be with or near those people that make you feel good, if you can’t physically be with them, call them, message them or just find a photo maybe on social media, the power of a smile in a photograph is the same as the power of a smile in person.
3. Fuel – what we eat and what we drink
It’s common sense that we are what we eat and we all know that raw fruit and veg is good for us along with meals cooked from scratch. We feel better physically and mentally, it’s good for the brain too, especially nuts and oily fish.
Reaching for the sugary snacks and carbs will give us a momentary feel good feeling but minutes later it will have passed. Gradually bring new healthy eating and drinking habits into your daily routine. Notice how you feel when you start to make these changes; more energetic, brighter in the mornings? Stay hydrated, dehydration is proven to have a huge impact upon memory and learning so have another glass of water and boost your body and feel stronger.
4. Stress and pressure.
When we are stressed or pressured, our fight/ flight mechanism kicks in, which ensures our survival. If our survival IS threatened this is brilliant. However, if it is because we are worried about work, financial pressures, concerns about family or friends and so the list goes on, the cortisol and adrenalin that will be roaring around our system to enable us to fight or flee will have no exit and as a consequence will become toxic. (Another good reason to drink water – flush out the toxins). It causes a stressful feedback loop meaning that unless we do something to change the pattern we are permanently pumped up on these hormones which long term is bad, bad, bad for our health.
Fear has the power to make our dreams a reality or completely stop us in our tracks. Acknowledge your fears, and carry them with you. I tend to liken fear to having a cold, it won’t stop you doing what you need to do, it will just make it a bit harder. So, as Susan Jeffries said’ feel the fear and do it anyway’. Acknowledge your fear, take it with you and counter balance it with your drive, ambitions and desire.
When confidence exits stage left with no obvious clues as to when it will be back, it leaves us feeling rather diminished and the self-belief wobbles as a result. What are those things that make you feel confident? Is it what you are wearing that makes you feel fabulous? Being prepared? Being rehearsed? Being in control? Knowing that nothing has been overlooked and that everything that is within your control is just that. Think and reflect upon what helps you to feel confident. I remember a moment in time that makes me smile, what works for you?
7. Inner voice
That little inner voice is so powerful however we can choose to listen to the inner voice or choose to ignore or give her (or him) a different narrative. The sub-conscious doesn’t distinguish between fact and fiction so if your inner voice is telling you that you can’t do something, that is what you will believe. Equally if you inner voice is telling you that you can, perhaps that you are fearful and you still can, chances are you will. Positive affirmations make a big difference. I can do this presentation, I will pursue my goal of running my own business, learning a language, getting fit to do a 10K. What is it for you?
8. Body language – Amy Cuddy states ‘Fake it until you become it’.
Our mind and bodies are connected so adopt a pose of power, stand upright, look people in the eye, put your shoulders back and breath. I promise you it will make a difference. I was lost in a major US city recently and thought looking vulnerable late at night might not be the best, so changed my stance. I evidently did it quite well as someone asked me directions! Try it and see.
9. Chasing other people’s definition of happiness.
Waiting around for someone else to make you happy is the best way to be sad. Happiness is a very personal thing and will power your self-belief if it’s your definition. Identify what makes you happy, not your parents or kids, bosses, colleagues or teachers, you! Now add them into your day. It may be the smell of a flower, a perfectly made cappuccino, a cuppa just the way you like it, the roar of a V8. It may be travel and adventure so get planning with these and introduce the little moments of happiness into your day and savour them.
10. Not asking for help
Through asking for help, I have been introduced to some truly amazing people. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. And of course, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. Ask people for help with introductions, expertise or advice. Nine times out of ten people are fantastic and will help unconditionally.
I believe in you.