Confidence Building: Think You Can

I have recently delivered a number of events, two keynote speeches and facilitated several discussions on employment and leadership to disabled people. As is so often the case, confidence was a consistent point of discussion. I would go as far as to say that confidence is often a bigger barrier than access. It has led me to write a series of posts on confidence. Here is the first…..

Confidence is something that can be hard to gain, equally hard to maintain and easy to lose. Yet, for all of us confidence is something that is vital to how we feel and influences what we do and how we live.

I think what we tell ourselves is very important in terms of confidence. We tend to be dead good at telling ourselves we can’t do something. We have no trouble in listening to the voice in our head that questions our ability. Most of us are too quick to let that doubting voice be the deciding factor when it comes to trying something new or having another go at something that hasn’t worked first time.

Next time that doubting voice rears it’s ugly head, give yourself a break and tell it to shut up! Consciously put it in a box and throw it away. Replace it with positive statements that start with, “I can……“ Remind yourself of things you can do, things you know you can do because you have done them before.

If you are reading this and thinking this is not for you because you can’t do this ……then think again, as this is absolutely for you! What makes you think this is not for you? You are what is making you think this is not for you – nobody else.

You’d be surprised how much courage you are already using in daily life, which you probably don’t recognise. Just getting up in the morning and dealing with your day can take an enormous amount of resilience, problem solving, organisational skills and that is just for starters. If you live with a disability or health condition this will almost certainly be even more true of you. Look back at your day today and list at least five things you did that took a lot of courage.

Do yourself a favour and over-ride negative beliefs about yourself with positive, accurate statements. You don’t need to say them out loud, remember your old doubting voice was not always audible but you still listened to it. You can choose the messages you send yourself about yourself. When you begin to trade doubting, negative beliefs for positive beliefs your confidence will begin to grow.

It is a cycle which might take some breaking and so might take some time. Remind yourself that beliefs are not facts and you can change your beliefs.

Nobody’s perfect so don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as well as you wanted. Be aware not to over-analyse situations and train yourself to become good at taking the lessons forward while drawing a line under past situations and moving on.

Once again, I am reminded of the saying by Henry Ford, ‘if you think you can or you think you can’t, you are probably right’! Literally train your mind to think you can and your confidence will grow and remain.

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