You might have a clear vision of your preferred future and know the steps you need to take but still be unable to commit yourself to an action plan. If a lack of confidence stops you moving forward then you need to face your doubts head-on and check how realistic they are. When we are thrashing around in self-doubt we are often inclined to believe that we lack the necessary confidence to do whatever it is we are being called to do. But confidence is a quality that is often bestowed on us after we have taken what feels like a risky step. By definition, moving out of a comfort zone is bound to feel uncomfortable, but if you can take your courage in both hands and believe in yourself (in spite of your fears) the personal rewards are huge. As soon as you take that leap of faith your confidence immediately rises; yes you did go for it and this in itself increases your self-belief. The more you are prepared to act on your own behalf the more you will trust yourself to be able to make good choices and clear decisions. In the immortal words of Eleanor Roosevelt:
‘You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.’
Our self-limiting thoughts are usually based in old negative beliefs that have very little basis in reality. But here’s the thing: we can never achieve anything unless we can believe that it is possible for us. For example if I don’t believe that I can get that great promotion then I probably won’t even bother to apply for it. And even if I do my doubts will affect the quality of my application and interview. Lack of self-belief is as obvious as a measles rash. So decide not to indulge yourself in beliefs about what you can’t do and instead focus on what you can do. Stop waiting for confidence to appear in your life and start to develop it by thinking and acting positively. Confident and courageous people are self-starters who have acquired these personal qualities by following their dreams and overcoming failures and disappointments by bouncing back over and over again.
Ask yourself the following questions and find out if you have what it takes to go for your goals.
Where do I want to be in 5 years time?
If you carry on doing what you are doing will you have reached your outcome? Are you actively working towards that future now? Such questions are sometimes all it takes to kick-start us into action.
What do I need to believe about myself before I can go for my
When we put our fabulous plans on hold for too long we become dispirited, demotivated, unenthusiastic and generally depressed. If you are feeling disappointed by life then this a sign that you are not doing what you are here to do. Those negative self-beliefs will always keep you down so stop indulging them. Believe the very best about yourself and you will develop all the confidence you need to move forward.
Where have I been successful in the past?
We all have a habit of moving goalposts. In other words as soon as we have achieved something we busily rush on to the next thing without celebrating our success. Look back at your significant achievements and let them remind you of your inner strength and your ability to see things through. You did it then and you can do it now!
How can I maintain my motivation?
It’s easy to get enthusiastic at the beginning of a project when we are full of exciting ideas. But then, when we need to activate our plans and get down to the practical details our wonderful project might just feel like a lot of hard work. A great way to stay motivated is to keep taking a short-term view. Don’t keep looking at the long-term goal or you will get impatient and lose interest. Break down your action plan into manageable bite-sized chunks so that you are always achieving something. And keep patting yourself on the back each time you take a new step, however small it might be.
Do I really love my goal?
I know that we have looked at this issue before but it is such an important subject. We change, circumstances alter and goals sometimes need to be revised. Keep checking your commitment to your outcome and if you feel your interest waning consider why this might be. Be warned: if you don’t love your goal then you are unlikely to achieve it.
When did I last demonstrate my ability to bounce back?
Recognise your inner strength and powers of resilience by casting your mind back to past challenges. Consider the last time you faced a major setback. How did you respond to the situation and how did you cope with any difficult feelings? You see, you have bounced back before and so you know that you have all the resilience you need. Use this technique whenever you doubt your strength of spirit.
Do I act confidently?
If you are taking a step that looks like a risk then you might not feel very confident, but you can boost your positive power by behaving confidently. If you act timidly then you will lose all self-belief and others will pick up on your insecurity. So bravely step forward, take a deep breath, adopt good posture, put on a happy face and then just do what has to be done. Act confidently and you will feel and think confidently.
How will I know the right steps to take?
If you have made a sensible action plan then one step will inevitably lead to the next. But being a successful self-starter is not only about what you do it also depends upon your ability to tap into your gut feelings. Trust your instincts before you make a decision and go with what feels right for you.
Copyright © Lynda Field 2015
Adapted from my book, Fast Track to Happiness.