Confident people display a number of traits that help them appear effortless, never mind the sitation they are in. Confidence - or better a lack of it - is also cited by women as a key factor hindering their professional career and their overall ability to maximise their talent and potential.
Confidence is more than just the way we communicate or look. It totally permeates the way we are and it is reflected in everything we do and say, thus it impacts our management style, our leadership traits and our team playing skills, to mention but a few professional areas.
In my experience one of the most important elements of self confidence is self awareness.
Self Awareness is the ability to step back from and take a good look at ourselves in relation to our environmental, physical and mental worlds. It is the ability to accept ourselves as a unique, changing, imperfect but developing individuals. It’s the ability to recognize our potential as well as our limitations. Without self awareness we are unable to clearly and pragmatically identify what is good or excellent about ourselves, but also what needs improvement and working on. Because self awareness is self honesty, it enables us to see ourselves, our strengths and our weaknesses clearly. Through self awareness we understand what we can offer and we can also recognise that time and effort will be necessary to achieve our highest goals. In so doing, we eliminate unrealistic expectations about ourselves, that can lead to frustration and a loss of self confidence, but we also ensure we positively highlight what we do well and what plays to our strengths. In summary, by increasing our self awareness we also increase our chances to succeed at what we do best while minimising gaps and weak areas.
In order to build our self awareness we can apply and regularly use the following three tools. They are not particularly new or 'revolutionary'...but I know they work and, as with most things, change is achieved not by way of a big-bang revolution but a step-by-step evolution!
Self Awareness Tool # 1 - Limiting Belief
Many of us have beliefs that inhibit our potential, limiting the choices we make in life.
Limiting beliefs may stem from our background, culture, things we were told as we were growing up. The biggest problem is that Limiting Beliefs push us below our potential, thus those who succeed personally and professionally go through a process of identifing and eliminating limiting beliefs. Ask your self:
- Why do I believe this about myself?
- Which evidence have I got to support this belief?
- What is this belief stopping me from doing?
Think through the answers and see if you can find the origin of your belief and whether there is any proof you should continue to support it as true. If there is not a proof, 'bin' the belief! If you want further reassurance or discussion, you can also ask for feedback from those who are closer to you, your colleagues, your friends or your mentor!.
Self Awareness Tool #2 - Personal Swot
SWOT is a business tool normally associated with a company or a product.
But actually a personal swot analysis can be a very helpful tool to get to understand ourselves better. Take some time to identify your personal SWOT and to ask your self the following questions:
- Which strengths do I have? These can cover personal and professional life, traits and behaviours.
- Which areas of weaknesses do I need to recognise?
- What potentially negative could happen if I did not address my weaknesses or if I misused my strengths (threats) ?
- What great things could on the other hand happen if I used my strengths to the full or addressed my weaknesses constructively?
Self Awareness Tool #3 - Self Sabotage
Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with achieveing our goals. Self sabotaging behaviour may include procrastination, anger and stress, very common ways to disrupt our life plans!
If we recognise any of these behaviours we must give ourselves the time to understand what is it that encourages this in ourselves and how we can best address it. If we also understand what we may gain from addressing self-sabotage we are more likely to find the motivation to eliminate it.
As mentioned above, none of these tools will revolutionise our life, but applied consistently they will undoubtedly foster and evolve our self awareness and self reflection. In time this will help us see ourselves for who we really are and , in turn, encourage a positive and confident mindset!
Alessandra is an experienced mentor, business coach, consultant and strategist. She supports individuals - especially women - and organisations in achieveing their potential through customised, outcome driven interventions . You can find out more about Alessandra here and contact her by email here.