~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson
I love this quotation because it reminds me that growing and making change comes from taking action. Creating forward motion almost always brings criticism with it. Why? Because taking action tests the boundaries of our own beliefs and the beliefs of others, as we step out of our comfort zone to create a new normal.
It’s normal to feel a little ‘wobbly’ or scared when you are taking charge of your life and making some changes. After all, you are leaving behind what you already know to make a transition in a different direction.
This takes courage.
It’s easy to doubt yourself and lose confidence when others around you are telling you that you are wrong. Friends and family might criticize your decision. Someone else might be doing what you do in a different way, but it doesn’t feel congruent or authentic. Yet you still feel the pressure of how they are doing it because they seem to be getting results. Do you copy them? Or do you carve your own path and do it your own unique way?
Everyone has opinions of what you should do, but here’s the thing – their opinion of you or what you are doing is theirs and not yours! And their opinion doesn’t have to become your own reality.
You get to make your own decisions and you are accountable for the choices you make and the actions you take. You don’t need to ask for permission.
In my experience, most people underestimate their potential and play safe by reaching out for what is within their grasp, rather than stretching and aiming higher. The danger is that you settle for mediocre and what you have rather than what you could create.
As you grow, expect a few obstacles along the way. When you take action you create ripples of change in the energy around you. It’s very tempting to succumb to the belief that your critics were right after all. Especially if you feel tired and things are feeling a little harder.
Here are five ways to protect your confidence while taking consistent action towards your goals and dreams:
1. Surround yourself with the right people – Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the five people who you spend most of your time with – we become like them. Growth thrives in a positive encouraging environment. Leave the naysayers and negative people behind. Associate with like-minded, nurturing, encouraging and supportive people. As you experience new things you will encounter difficulties. Having a positive sounding board will help you through. Surround yourself with positive people who are authentic, have integrity, and who are the after of your before. They will lift you up.
2. Listen to your body – Your physical needs also affect your confidence. Be fully present in your body and listen to it when you are tired, hungry or dehydrated. These three things can have a huge impact on your confidence. Their absence will have a negative affect on your attitude and state of mind. Take a break, eat healthily and look after yourself. Tired and exhausted people are rarely successful. Take a break – go for a walk!
3. Keep going and keep growing – Life is about the present moment. What you do NOW influences who you will become in the future. It starts NOW! Get clear on what’s important and create a plan of consistent action – one step at a time. You become an expert by taking time to learn about your passion. Increasing skills and competence will help you to feel more confident each and every day. Get good at what you do by practicing it imperfectly. Experience is a great teacher and can lead to significant growth.
4. Take personal responsibility for your thinking – Choose to be courageous. Don’t be distracted by external noise – stay on course. Focus on your truth and what is important for you. Have faith in your intuition and believe in YOU. Learn to recognize your own emotions and their impact. Develop a deeper understanding of your emotions, strengths and limitations. Recognize how negative patterns can feel overwhelming and cause you distress. This is known as an amygdala hijack and it’s just your Lizard Brain trying to protect you. Learn to reframe these quickly.
5. Re-decide – Remind yourself of your WHY and in the face of self-doubt, get clear again. Make being authentic your number one goal and stick with it. Allow courage to overcome any fear. Don’t let fear rule your decisions, just because somebody has challenged you. People WILL push up against you – especially when you’re doing something different. Learn to rescue yourself and step back in alignment with your vision every day.
How are you protecting your confidence?