The fastest way to kill self-confidence

I have learnt painfully, well I say learnt, like some smug person, I still do this, so perhaps the learning is not complete!! I am trying to learn not to say the things I’m going to do and then not do them.

It is better to do absolutely nothing than to say ‘im going to do x’ and ‘I’m going to do y’ and so on and not do them. Every single time you say you are going to do something and then don’t it does two things.

Firstly, inside us it reaffirms our thoughts on not being a doer and putting things off, it becomes self-fulfilling, and we start to lose confidence.

The second thing is, and we are not always immediately aware, we lose credibility with others. Sooner or later, that has an impact and that then creates a public feeling of being unreliable or not trusted to get things done. This kills self-confidence massively.

So, what’s the answer? Well, it would seem simple, just do the things you say you are going to do. Job done.

Well, it isn’t that simple, firstly I am bad at saying ‘no’ to things and I get easily distracted by shiny new things, so I jump in and say ‘I’ll do that’. Also, we want to be involved and not left out so we say ‘yes’ or we do not want to offend so we say ‘yes’. So I become overloaded with things and it is then not possible to do them all.

Often, that leads to hiding in my shell and the net result is I achieve nothing, trapped like a rabbit in the headlights, knowing I have committed to others.

I think the answer is to focus, focus on one thing, a thing that we are good at and then get good, well get great, at doing that one thing. Learn to commit and not to overstate what you are going to do. It is also the painful, initially, hard work of building a habit of showing up. But I have learnt I have to make it easy to show up, if the task is too risky, too out of the comfort zone, to big, it won’t happen. Learn to say ‘no’ and that is easier if we are only going to do one thing.

Small steps and learning to say no, coupled with focusing on the one thing you are really great at. I thought for a long time that I was good at everything, wow, now I know that was a myth, it is easier to focus.

I wrote this really as a reminder to myself, as I can still lapse into ‘I can do that’ mode very easily. Stop, protect your self-confidence Philip by doing a few things and saying little rather than saying I’ll do everything and achieving none.

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