When was the last time you discovered that you didn’t measure up to someone else’s expectations? The message may have come from a boss, co-worker, colleague, client, family member, or friend. Do you remember the feeling? It might have been a visceral, sinking feeling in your gut or some other physical sensation that comes when your confidence takes a plunge.
I went through this tough experience with a coaching client recently. Initially, he was knocked off-track and didn’t know what to do to regain his confidence. Like a car hitting an icy patch of road, he was swerving uncontrollably. Eventually, he was able to gain control of his internal steering wheel again. Now that he’s beyond the rough patch, he can look back at the resiliency skills he developed along the way. We used the following six strategies to bring him relief, as well as personal growth.
Let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling.
If you think that by not acknowledging negative feelings,you’ll make them disappear, you would be wrong. The opposite is true. The way to allow those unpleasant feelings to dissipate is by allowing yourself to fully experience them. This is not fun. I get it. However, according to Harvard brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, 90 seconds is all it takes to identify an emotion and allow it to dissipate while you simply notice it.
To help yourself in this process, you can write, talk with a friend, or close your eyes, go inside your body, and pay close attention to what you’re feeling emotionally and physically. Remind yourself that the feeling will pass.
Give yourself a good dose of self-compassion.
Processing feelings when you’re in this emotionally triggered state of mind is not easy; however, sticking with it will be worth it in the end.
Dr. Kristin Neff, self-compassion researcher, shares this as part of her self-compassion definition: Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings—after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?
Don’t take it personally.
Author Don Miguel Ruiz shares in The Four Agreements: If I see you on the street and I say, “Hey, you are so stupid,” without knowing you, it’s not about you; it’s about me. If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you are stupid. Maybe you think to yourself, “How does he know? Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I am?”
That scenario may sound ridiculous as you read it, but have you heard a similar dialogue inside your head?
Thinking about the scenario in third person is one method for moving away from taking it personally. For example, instead of saying, I messed up the presentation, you could say Jane didn’t bring her A-game to that presentation. This gives you a more objective, observer’s viewpoint that is not as emotionally tangled up in the situation.
Notice the story you’re repeatedly telling yourself.
If you’re stuck in a never-ending story loop, try asking yourself these questions: What evidence do I have? Is it true? What are some other possibilities?
Look for the kernel of truth.
Scour the situation that’s thrown you off-track and look for a small bit of it that’s true or that you sincerely want to learn from. Use this insight to decide what you want to improve and how you will do it.
Choose a growth-mindset.
You have the power to choose the perspective you want to take on the situation and decide what you want to do moving forward. These wise words from Wayne Dyer come to mind: Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. That seemingly simple shift is powerful!
You get to choose your mindset. A fixed mindset means you believe your qualities (i.e., intelligence and talent) are fixed. A growth mindset means you believe that those qualities are just the starting point.
Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going. Carol Dweck
These strategies don’t have an exact order. Use any or all of them when (not if!) you hit a dicey patch in the road. Growing your resilience skills isn’t enjoyable and yet, future you says, Thank you, because the next time you need them, it will be a wee bit easier to get your confidence back. Do you have a hot tip that I didn’t share? I’d love to hear it! [email protected]