By Dan Munro
As a former sufferer of low self-confidence (without knowing it), I really sympathize with everyone out there. When clients finish my coaching program, we often discuss how they see the world differently now that they are confident. Without exception, one major change is always that they finally see how lacking in confidence nearly every person is.
Before, when they lacked it themselves, they thought everyone else had it all sorted out. Yet, it only takes a little personal experience of stretching your own comfort zone to start seeing how no one else is doing it.
I can’t work with someone until they’re ready to see that they are not living up to their potential. Sometimes, I can help someone see that by creating an internal crisis by pointing out the signs of low confidence.
If you think of yourself as confident and yet aren’t totally enjoying life, check out some of these common examples that might be sneaking past your conscious awareness…
Many people think of procrastination as some sort of uncontrollable pattern of behavior. They will often justify it by downplaying the task they’re procrastinating on, giving it a lower perceived value or importance.
Procrastination is actually caused by many different confidence issues.
The fear of a wrongful decision: being so unsure of your own ability to call the shots that you think it’s safer to not make any calls at all. The fear of failure: avoiding the risk of getting something wrong by not completing it. The fear of rejection: staying away from the task most at risk of getting a negative reaction from others.
Basically, it’s all about the secretly perceived consequences of actually doing the task.
When you procrastinate, it’s not because you’re lazy, busy, or overloaded. It’s because you are scared. Simple as that.
Eat the big ugly frog. To translate: do the biggest, most uncomfortable task first, every day. This is almost always the most important activity for the day, and the one most likely to get the results you seek. Tell yourself you cannot even check your emails or eat breakfast until it’s done. Then you won’t having it eating away at your attention and confidence all day!
2. Obsession With Busy Work
This is often another form of procrastination, but the reason I separated it is because it’s so much more than that. The more someone is bored with their job, the more likely they are to remain as busy as possible. Chores, multi-tasking, rushing around, and doing lots of little tasks on the to-do list.
Quite often, I even see people somehow creating crises for themselves, as if to sabotage their own ability to find time. You know the ones I mean; their car always breaks down, there’s always some relationship having issues, or they’re often late.
Being busy is a nice easy distraction from the painful questions our Higher Self is trying to ask us. Questions like “Why do you keep making things worse?”, or “What the hell are you going to do with your life?”, and even “What’s the point of all this?”
Be keeping yourself physically occupied, you are essentially plugging yourself into the Matrix. You give yourself the illusion that you are productive and purposeful, because gosh, you’re just so busy, aren’t you? That must mean something, right?
Do less. Sit down and write out a story about who you wish you were. List the kinds of behavior you would see in someone you admire. Admit and accept the time wasted that you regret. And then, every day, instead of doing a million things, just do the few things that actually matter.
Start living up to a higher standard rather than just running on fumes the whole time.
3. All Information and No Transformation
The self-development industry has a crucial flaw. It perpetuates the notion of being able to change without taking action. Life simply doesn’t work that way, but boy don’t we wish it did?
We can convince ourselves that we are improving by doing lots of nice little safe things. Reading self-help books, attending seminars, watching videos, and asking for advice. Feels like you’re doing a lot to improve yourself, right?
Seriously. Just wrong.
None of these things will create a single microscopic fraction of improvement until you take action. When you learn of some potential improvement strategy, the thing you dread most – trying it out – is the most important step of all.
Change is painful. Accept this fact or be doomed to a life that stays the same. If you want all that information to work for you, it will require facing failure, rejection, uncertainty, frustration, and lots of hard work.
And it will be totally worth it.
Put down the books, trade in your seminar tickets, and stop asking questions. Take the information you have so far and go and put it into use. Measure your attempts as objectively as possible, and aim to make small improvements each week. Focus on your behavior rather than the results you want.
4. Reasonable Excuses
Rationality is what fear likes to hide behind. Excuses are the number one cause of quitting.
You can sit there and tell yourself all tons of interesting, credible, and completely understandable reasons as to why it’s not the right time to do that important thing. Or why you can’t afford it. Or why it would upset other people.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
You know you’re lying to yourself! That’s the most messed up part: you have to first lie to yourself and then go through the laborious journey of making the lie true.
The ironic thing is, it’s actually easier to just face the fear and do it. I know because I’ve been both the excuses guy and, later on, the guy who just went and did it.
Start approaching life with the assumption that 99% of what you believe is not accurate. That everything in your head telling you “No, not yet!” is actually your fear sabotaging you. It’s trying to keep you safe, a slave of beliefs that do not help you achieve your dreams.
Every time you think that you “can’t” do something, test it out. Design an objective way of testing your beliefs, and measure the evidence. Prepare to be wrong, time and time again, and prepare to be glad you were wrong! Failure is your friend, you simply haven’t been properly introduced yet.
5. Anxiety Before Work
This should be an obvious one, but it isn’t. We’re raised to believe that work is a suffering we must endure to survive. We should be slaves for wages, and be grateful for the opportunity.
Can you really be a confident person if you’re feeling anxious every week? Can you really have high self-worth if you think your job is pointless and unrewarding?
Most people can convince themselves that their job doesn’t suck, or that they have no choice. This is to avoid the pain and guilt of wasting their time. But some part of them still knows. That’s why they feel the anxiety.
I used to wake up every day with excuses I could use to call in sick. For 15 to 30 minutes each morning, I would lie in bed debating whether or not to use them. Most times I could drag myself to work, after a long battle convincing myself that it was worthwhile, that people needed me.
Figure out what your dream job is, and then put together a step by step plan as to how you could achieve it. No matter how “impossible” it seems, assume that you will find a way to make it work. Then, in your spare time, put as many hours aside as possible to take those steps.
Just one at a time.
Latest posts by Dan Munro (see all)
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- How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs: The Observe, Stop, & Replace Method - March 7, 2015