05 Jun Cultivating Confidence through a Positive Mindset
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
You are probably familiar with the phrase, “confidence is in the eye of the beholder,” but have you ever taken the time to reflect on how you behold your own confidence? According to researcher Vealey, confidence is “a belief or degree of certainty that you have about your ability to be successful in school, sport and life.” Now consider how you act in certain scenarios, be it at work or when performing. How do you perceive your actions? Are you confident in your abilities or riddled with self-doubt?
One of the first questions that I ask my clients is, “what do you believe are your strengths as a performer?” The number of people that can’t come up with answers without some probing would surprise you. We live in a society where we don’t have a problem showcasing our lives through social media, yet we don’t have the skills to look at ourselves and say, “hey, I am really good at that – I will take the lead.” Or, “I deserve to be on this team because I am strong, technically sound and outperform most people around me.” On the flip side, what are things that we need to work on? Maybe it’s self-reflection, conflict resolution, communication, or as simple as closing the technical gap between the power of your slap shot compared to a professional player. If you don’t understand what you need to work on, HOW are you going to get better? More importantly, what is going to give you both the confidence and ability to believe in yourself? Because, you can’t wait for a WHO!
Once you have a better idea of whom you are and where you want to go, you need to keep yourself driving forward. So how do you keep your confidence high in the face of adversity or failure?
Self-affirmations and a positive attitude are two ways to make sure you become your best and most confident self. I remember playing soccer and always being the shortest one on the field – and I was a goalkeeper! Had I spent my time comparing myself to others or believing that I wasn’t good enough, I would never have progressed to play at an elite level. I truly believe good things will follow if you focus on the positives, work hard to strengthen your weaknesses, and most important, believe in yourself.
Napoleon Hill, an author from the 1920s to 1960s, said people with a positive mental attitude breed success. They approach life with optimism and stay on top, even when they make a mistake. They are not afraid to try something new and fail… and fail again. For example, Napoleon Hill’s book, Success Through Positive Mental Attitude, told the story of Henry Ford. Mr. Ford wanted to develop a cheap V8 engine suitable for mass production. At the time V8s were exclusive to luxury cars. Ford’s engineers criticized his dream, claiming it was impossible. What did Ford do? He continued to fight for his idea, and after much grit and hard work he achieved the unachievable: the mass production of the V8 prototype. The V8 was a massive hit and made him one of the most successful businessmen in history.
I believe the people who stay positive and demonstrate grit are the ones that are able to accomplish their daily process goals and bigger vision goals. Ask yourself the following questions to build your way to a positive mindset:
What is your morning routine?
To allow yourself to feel your best try to wake up and complete these three things: 1) Exercise – it doesn’t have to be hours, try 10-20 minutes as soon as you get up; 2) Be Grateful – write down 3 things of why you are grateful; and 3) Set Goals – write down 2-3 things you want to accomplish in the day.
What are you saying to yourself?
You are the only one that can control your thoughts. When you get into a negative spiral it can become hard to turn it around. First you need to ask yourself “is this a fact?” If not, you need to put the work in to change the negative loop. It is not easy – but you can do it! You need to be the best coach to yourself before you can help, parent or coach others.
Do you hang out with battery-drainers or energy givers?
Are you always the person taking on everyone else’s problems? Do you hang out with pessimists? You are in control with whom you give your time and energy to on a daily basis. Find people who are like-minded and make those moments and relationship count.
Do you write down your goals and celebrate your achievements?
It is already difficult enough to put the work in to accomplish something hard that you have been working on for a while. So make sure you take the time to celebrate you, your work and the people who helped you along the way.
Remember, the one thing we can control is our thoughts. What you think, believe and say about yourself is the most important tool to develop confidence.
Dr. Beth McCharles is a leading Mental Performance Coach in Canada. A former elite soccer player and coach, Dr. McCharles is passionate about helping performers find their inner drive and confidence. To find out how Dr. McCharles can help you reach your optimal performance potential, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.