Friday, 8 February 2013

Conquering self confidence issues - ten steps

Every writer, presenter and author has moments, days, weeks or even years of self doubt. One senior academic said to me that he thought the secret of successful completion of something like a PhD was 50% confidence.  Increasing our confidence will therefore increase our writing quality and performance. Confidence and motivation go hand in hand - you can't motivate yourself if you don't feel confident. To write something like a PhD you need both so these ten steps might help you along the way.
1) Don't panic. Breathe deeply - 7/11 technique- count to seven breathing in, count to eleven breathing out.  It is totally normal to doubt your writing skills/editing skills/public speaking or whatever it is.  Everyone has periods where they doubt themselves and get a little anxious, just don't let it get out of control so it affects your everyday life.  Easy to say, but follow my other top ten tips to prevent panic and you will hopefully stave off these negative and counterproductive feelings and behaviours.
2) Talk to someone.  Share your writing or thoughts on the topic with someone whose writing skills you admire, someone who makes you feel better; you are probably doing much better than you think.  Get them to bolster your confidence. Say to them 'look I'm not sure about this', see what they say.
3) Get yourself in the confidence protective bubble before you write or present. It is worth setting aside an hour to do this with a good friend or relative.  First think of four of your best, happiest memories - in date order.  It might help to write them down - just a word to remind you of each.  Feel yourself smiling as you remember and really revel in it.  The first one should be a time from childhood or youth, the others later, then imagine as you think of each your confidence/happiness/relaxation doubling and trebling each time.  By the fourth memory you should be ready to conquer the world.  Now imagine yourself (or better still actually stand up and do it) stepping into your confidence bubble, at the level of confidence of your quadrupling of the four memories, smiling, happy and confident, ready to take on anything. Practice 5 times daily.
4) Just write a sentence.  Then a paragraph, then a page.  Or edit previous work.  Or do a bullet point list of the first things that come into your head.  Summarise the most exciting things you've uncovered in the past 2 weeks. Then celebrate or reward yourself, allow yourself to write your blog, go on facebook, phone a friend, have a nap or whatever.
5) Pin your free treats or rewards for writing/practising on your fridge.  When you forget what you have at your disposal to motivate yourself, there it is.
6) Consider Coaching & Get a Mentor
You should be able to get a workplace or University mentor.  Just ask a member of staff who has inspired you before to help mentor you through whatever process you are finding difficult.  You could get some free coaching from a coaching institution which is training people to become coaches, thus getting a student coach.  Coaches are good at helping you meet your goals.  Some of them are trained in hypnotherapy techniques such as NLP which is very helpful for poor confidence.
7) Meditation
By setting aside time each day to practice deep breathing as outlined in step 1, you are effectively meditating.  It is a very good idea if you have problems commiting even a few seconds to this that you learn how to use the stopwatch on your smartphone or use an eggtimer and just practice deep breathing for 3 minutes a day to start with.  You will find that as well as feeling more confident you will feel calmer and more focussed, very useful attributes. Don't worry if you fall asleep - sleep is excellent when we're stressed and anxious.
8) 'Positive self talk'/Prayer/Self hypnosis
Once you've mastered meditation (perhaps after a week) introduce positive statements of what you want to be doing, visualise yourself doing it eg 'Let me learn, grow and develop'.  This is self hypnosis and there are plenty of books you could get from the library to fine tune your skills in developing this.  Prayer - some people love and claim great results from - perhaps start off with counting your blessings, expressing thanks for all the things in your life and end on a request to help yourself on a particular do-able task.
9) Hypnotherapy
There are many schools of hypnotherapy who are happy to accept volunteers for students to practice their hypnotherapy on - and lack of self confidence is a very easy complaint for hypnosis to work on.
10) Take a break.  It could be that for reasons entirely out of anyone's control - death or illness for example that you simply need a break from work and study to nurse your confidence back to its usual levels.  Just give yourself a break if this is your situation.  Enjoy the time off and come back when you are feeling better.

No comments:

Post a Comment