Humans thrive on validation from the people that surround them and we have all had one of those days when there is a dip in the way we feel about ourselves. It could be anything that could act as a confidence eroding event, being rejected by a girl you approached in the club, not getting selected for the job you applied, overhearing a snide remark from one of your co-workers, getting a negative feedback on something you created with a lot of hard work, all of such things can create a momentary dip in your self-confidence. But if not addressed, then these transient phases can linger and sap you out of all your positive energy and leave you incompetent and broken.
An important thing to understand about the human mind is that it works wonderfully in loops of feedback that can either work to build us up or bring us down. As per the revered psychologist Albert Bandura, our beliefs actually shape us and lead us to how we feel, behave and think about ourselves. In a way, it is our self-confidence or self-concept that holds the steering wheels to the secret driver of our lives. So, the more stable and positive this self concept of yours is, much less likely you will be to reel back as a Yo-Yo with every minute setback. Hence, the better it will be for you to engage in behaviours that will lead you to an upward spiral of growth, confidence and resilience.
It is thus, clear that our emotions in the moment, have a profound impact on the person we become at that time. But fortunately things are not so much out of our control as the science of happiness has given us hope. It turns out positive emotions are somewhat within our control contrary to previous beliefs. While you might inherit a naturally cheerful outlook on life but a truly positive one can be custom built with voluntary activities.
If you need to overcome your problem of yo-yoing confidence then this is an article you must read, because as a manager you simply cannot afford to have a pity party every time you hear a snide remark from one of your sub-ordinates.
Learn to shush that patronising voice that questions your capabilities, overlooks your achievements and breaks you down for even the slightest of failings.
Learn to give yourself a pep-talk: be your voice of compassion
A common phenomenon in life is failures and setbacks. Yet there exists a voice in our head that reserves its most harsh comments for no one but us. According to Professor Paul Gilbert, if we act as our own staunch supporters and also be our own compassionate voice we’ll give us the space to analyze our actions without any judgement. It will help us accept ourselves and thereby provide us with courage to go and get the right thing done.
If you find yourself clueless about what to say to yourself ironically enough, then imagine what you will say to a dear friend of yours who was in the same situation. That way you will have just the right thing to say to yourself as well.
Shut that voice in your head!
It is true that we are what the voice in our head is! But sometimes it may get torturous to keep replaying that nagging voice in your head with negative comments. Yes, it is important to listen to your thoughts, but it is also equally important to know when to let them go. So, shush that commentator when it tries to pull you down into the dark pits of pessimism that almost distorts reality. Also as is human nature and for the society we live in, we always tend to compare ourselves against other people. This is a nasty practice that has almost gotten ingrained into our human systems. But the practice of allowing other people’s achievements and appearances to determine your confidence and self-concept is a self-sabotaging behaviour.
Start to practice thought distraction the moment you find yourself measuring against others who are apparently ‘perfect’. Maybe go out for a walk in the park or listen to some music.
Practice gratitude for all your good qualities
Our limbic system is insatiable and keeps yearning for more. The world around us is teeming with unlimited amount of choices which is further fuelled by the desire for perfection that is often unrealistic; hence, our mind can always find some reason to be unhappy about. So, avoid putting negativity under the spotlight of awareness to ward off unnecessary unhappiness.
Instead we suggest that you practice gratitude for all the qualities that you have which you feel worthy of, in times when you feel like you have none. This is the best practice to tackle your limbic system. You can start by doing the “3 good things” exercise which involves noticing and appreciating 3 good things about yourself.
Harness the power of ‘Yet’
When we are met with setbacks and obstacles it may seem to be the end of the world. We keep asking “why me” and to make things worse we begin to feel that there is nothing we can do about the situation. In such situations, instead of wallowing in hopelessness, practice a growth mindset. Remember the concept of neuroplasticity where our brain can heal, learn and grow by forming newer connections. So, whenever you feel dejected by a roadblock understand the power of ‘yet’. Chant in your mind that “this obstacle came up yet I got the job done”!
A spark that burns with passion is the secret weapon to confidence…
You are the hero of your own story and no apparently perfect others can change that. Avoid the chaos of negative emotions and confide in your circle of support when low. This circle could have your parents, your best friends, your spouse or even your grandparents. Identify your true well-wishers and go through positive emotions instead of regurgitating negative ones, to build up lost confidence; take purposeful actions instead of wallowing in unproductive misery and soon you will find yourself seeing the world with a happier more positive lens. As a manager you must possess a stable and long-lasting sense of self that will remain unperturbed from the curveballs life throws at you. Here’s to a better you…