Seems to me that people are feeling kinda uncertain. Maybe unsure. Sorta like they have, well, y’know, no self-confidence. But I could be wrong. I dunno. What do you think?
Self-confidence is one of the top reasons people seek a coach, according to a new survey from the International Coach Federation. I have to tell you, I found this rather surprising — my clients come to me to work out a job search, or figure out how to have those difficult conversations, or get clear on handling their challenges. Don’t think I’ve ever had anyone come to me to say, “Help me grow my self-confidence.”
But when I think about it, increased self-confidence is definitely a by-product of the coaching process. And it’s my aim to help people figure stuff out so thoroughly that they have the confidence to coach themselves.
The move toward greater self-confidence can be tricky. When you’ve lived with “I can’t” for so long, “I can” might feel impossible. In that case, it’s often enough to start with teeny-tiny goals that are meet-able, and grow confidence slowly and surely.
And then there’s the “jump out of an airplane” kind of confidence boosting. You know, the kind of challenge where you tell yourself, “Hey, if I can do THAT, then I can do ANYTHING.”
But let me tell you about a third way.
What would you like to have, or be, or do? You want to be healthier? OK. Here’s what you do: You act the way a healthy person would act.
When faced with a choice about what to eat, you choose what the healthy person would choose. Exercise or not? What would a healthy person do? See a doctor?
You know the answer.
And, guess what? This small shift will make a profound change in your overall health. In just a short period of time, you won’t have to ask what a healthy person would choose — you just have to choose what you would choose. Because you are the healthy person.
Another example? You want to be financially secure. Then, how would a financially secure person make money choices? How would she spend? Save? Invest?
My friend calls this “act as-if”. While another pal calls it, “fake it ’til you make it.” Either way, it’s a useful tool for making progress toward getting what you want. Which is a huge self-confidence booster.
Two things to consider when using this approach. First, if you can’t see yourself as someone who’s healthy, or financially stable, then you may find yourself unable to act as a healthy person might act. To attack this limitation, focus on the potential positive outcome — remember Change or Die? What’s something great that will happen when you’re living healthier? Focus on that. Eyes on the prize.
Second, other people in your life may not want to see you change, because they might think that they will have to change, too. While your change can be an excellent opportunity for group self-confidence boosting, sometimes fear of the unknown will cause people we love to act like complete jerks. See my friend Martha Beck’s terrific article from O! Magazine about dealing with the “change back attack” .
Bottom line? You have every right to have whatever you want in your life. You have the power to lose weight. To find love. To de-clutter. To save money. (Gosh, what a great title for a book!) Little old you. You can do it. And if you have to fake it ’til you make it, that’s OK. Better than OK — it’s great. And I have every confidence that you’ll do it.