‘Sinead, do you not have a question? Or does it take 10 rum and cokes for you to open your mouth?’
These words were said to me by a company director, from the stage, in front of 250 of my peers. Those of you who have seen me speak will probably assume that I am naturally confident and outspoken. Well you are wrong. I’ve had to work hard at it and the steps I’ve taken to gain confidence are the foundation of the Career Elevator Programme.
Confidence is all about your mindset and your attitude. There is no magic pill you can take (rum and cokes aren’t an option…or gin and tonic – my actual drink of choice!). But you can take steps to change your mindset and self belief which will make a huge difference to how you feel and how you are perceived. Here are some tips to help you be the best version of yourself, so you can BE BOLD and get the results you want!
What do you currently have running as your belief systems right now? Is it, ‘Oh I can’t do that,’ or ‘I wish I could,’ or ‘Oh, look at them, they’re brilliant and able to do stuff, but I can’t?’
Or is it, ‘Do you know what? I can’t do it yet, but I bloody well will.”
Or, “I believe I can make this step.”
So, it’s all about the belief system running in your head: it’s time to tap into those empowering beliefs for yourself!
Nobody ever got anything by walking into a room with their head down, shuffling over to your seat and slumping down like a petulant miserable teenager.
Look at the energy that you’re bringing into the room. Energy is contagious. Be conscious of how you’re showing up. If you can just change your energy and point it in the right direction, you can do anything.
Fix your posture. Take a moment to think about what you want to achieve before that important meeting. Then ask yourself, how do I need to show up?
And if you’re feeling drained by what you do right now, you need to make a change: not necessarily your job or career, but something important to reshape that energy, because you don’t get success — whatever success means to you — by feeling like that.
Be your own best friend. So, what kind of crap do we say to ourselves when we’re getting ready in the morning? What effect are you having on your own confidence?
“Look at the shape of that. ‘Oh my God, are you really going to go out looking like that. Look at your hair. Oh my goodness.’
Now think about the stuff that you say to yourself before you’re going to go and do something important.
‘Who do you think you are, going to do that?’
Do you recognise these things? So, if your best friend was to say any of those things to you, what would you do? Yeah, you’d probably want to punch them in the face. You wouldn’t take it, or you’d very quickly a new best friend.
Why are you putting up with it from yourself? Do you even hear it? Narrating your day. Telling you you’re not good enough? I like to think it’s a bit like a duck on your shoulder, quacking away, talking crap. And sometimes you have to turn to that duck and just say, ‘Shut the duck up.’
It’s time to say something else, so what can you tell yourself instead?
You’ve got to own it. What do I mean by that?
Do you know what your strengths are? Can you say, ‘I know my strengths and I feel confident to tell you them right now?’
When I ask women what they are good at, they say ‘Oh I don’t know.’
Well, it’s time to start paying attention to what you’re really good at: where you add value. Ask yourself, ‘If I wasn’t there, what wouldn’t happen?’
If you still struggle to pinpoint them, ask other people. People you respect. ‘What would you say are my strengths? How and where do you think I add the most value?’ Believe me you’ll be surprised by the positive feedback that you will get!
Above all, strength makes you grow in every single way, therefore the more you use it the stronger you get…in every way! Like doing weights at the gym – the stronger and more confident you become, that’s how you own it.
I want you to become very conscious of your strengths and start being able to say them out loud, even if it’s to yourself, and then to the mirror, then to the dog, then to somebody else. Until there’s no fear about saying ‘I’ll take that on, I’m great at it’.
Are you giving away your power by the language you use?
Are you saying ‘I just…’ and ‘maybe…’ ‘I’m sorry…’ and similar phrases too much?
We give away our power, and when we say that we ‘can’t’ do things or ‘I’ll never be able to do that…’
Lose the ‘just’ and the ‘should’ and let’s use a different word instead: ‘yet’.
So, ‘I can’t do something, yet.’ Or, ‘I don’t feel confident, yet.’ Because what does that do? It gives possibility. It’s not the end but perhaps a beginning. And if it’s a beginning, what can you do for yourself to get there?
In the end, the biggest change you can make to your mindset is to dare to give things a go. Be that be public speaking, chairing a meeting, taking charge of a project or learning a new skill.
Your confidence won’t increase if you stay in your comfort zone. This is a painful home truth for anyone who struggles with their self-belief and is probably the biggest barrier you need to overcome.
But trust me, as someone who never thought they’d be able to run their own successful business, as someone who was scared to speak in public I promise you that if you dare to do…your confidence will increase and the self-doubting you will become a distant memory. So what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Go on, I dare you. BE BOLD and make it happen.
The Career Elevator can help you be the best version of you and increase your confidence! Join the tribe of 100’s of women who have gained promotions, new careers and a new lease of life!