A powerful confidence-thief is the little voice in our head that tells us that we aren’t enough: “You’re not ready for this.” “Who are you to lead this change?” “You don’t know enough.” When we feel stress, we cannot perform at our best. For me, there are times when I don’t even hear the voice. I feel it in my body. My hand may shake, my mind doesn’t seem as sharp, and I hold back my power.
To build confidence, it doesn’t always work to simply ignore that nasty little voice in your head. The stressful feelings behind that voice work on us anyway. Instead, treat your stress as an opportunity to improve your self-effectiveness and build confidence. Notice what you are feeling when that little voice appears, and ask how you might use this feeling to achieve a sounder platform for effectiveness. This promotes our use of an adaptive strategy to address the need behind our feeling. See the chart below that identifies your feelings and offers questions to formulate effective strategies to deal with them.
|If you are feeling…||Then ask yourself…||To construct a strategy…|
|Afraid||What is the threat I am committed to lessening?||How might I go about lessening|
|Ambivalent||What decision am I|
committed to making?
|How can I increase my|
confidence in this decision being the right one?
|Anxious||What doubt am I committed|
|How can I find evidence to eliminate my doubt?|
|Awkward||What in this situation am I committed to clarifying?||How might I find a socially acceptable way to proceed?|
|Confused||What ambiguity am I committed to clarifying?||What question can I ask to|
make things clearer?
|Exposed||What vulnerability am I committed to concealing?||How can I demonstrate the|
appropriate balance of grace and gravitas?
|Overwhelmed||What capability am I committed to expanding?||How can I expand my capabilities:|
setting priorities, creating and protecting boundaries, etc.?
Identifying to a stressor is a powerful way to turn your attention to what you can control best – yourself. See Adaptive Inquiry for more information. You can channel the messages your feelings communicate and overcome the self-doubt created by that nasty little voice.