When you have confidence, life is grand. Things come easy, people are drawn to you, and your boss just knows that you will get the job done. Confident people get the best jobs, attract the best relationships and partners, and are irresistible to be around. It is much easier for a person to be confident when she or he is successful, but make no mistake—every person I know, even the most successful ones, constantly has to watch his or her self-talk. I do, too.

When you lose your confidence, it’s like you are walking under a dark cloud. Even worse, your lack of self-worth makes you question every single step you take. Is it a good idea to move now? Will you find another job if you quit? Is this endeavor worth it? And who would even hire you in the first place? A single decision becomes a daunting chore.

Consider a lack of confidence as a silent career killer. It chips away at your self-esteem until you believe you are not capable, or even worthy, of making something big happen. If you can’t believe in yourself, then who else could you possibly convince?

Have you ever noticed that when you think one tiny negative thought, your brain immediately volunteers another twenty negative thoughts? If you find yourself in a negative pattern, here is an article I recently wrote about how to break free from it.

There were six women in the live audience at the three 3-day business building workshop on CreativeLive and a streaming audience of several thousands, and more viewers who watched the recorded presentation. Each “front row” participant had her own story about a life that didn’t exactly take the turns she had anticipated. Yet, the transformations in these women that unfolded during the workshop were nothing short of miraculous. On the second day, each woman dressed noticeably different and appeared more focused. They were already becoming more confident. By the end of the third day, none of these women resembled who they were when we started the course.

I was very curious as to what had sparked these powerful personal transformations. And then it dawned on me…

When we are inspired—when we have the tools and are encouraged to believe that we are capable of doing IT (whatever IT may be for you)—everything seems possible once again. This is what the course provided.

Even though nothing outside ourselves really changes, the shift in our thought process from self-doubt to feeling inspired is the key to regaining our confidence. It empowers us to take action.

Here is what I learned by watching and listening to my audience. You may find it helpful, too.

  1. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t do it—you are right either way. You create your outcomes, so self-imposed deadlines and negative self-talk is your enemy.
  2. Sloughing off the hardship and adversity you are currently going through is not helpful. If you are going through living hell or if you are just getting out of a difficult situation, acknowledge the pain, the heartbreak, and the despair. Awareness is where it begins. Stuff happens, and there is no reason to beat yourself up for not seeing it coming.
  3. Not asking for support pulls you down. This is especially true for women. You don’t have to think of it as asking for help, because that word can make us feel incapable. Use the word support instead. It is much more powerful and true. You support other people through your actions and by listening. Don’t be afraid to ask for the same considerations.
  4. You will never feel better about yourself by putting other people or their accomplishments down. It is simply instinctive to want to tear them down if we are not happy where we are. Remember The Women’s Code Core Code of Conduct and always fall back on that. Be happy if someone is happy—you are next in line.
  5. Breaking complex processes and big goals into smaller tasks makes it easier to get started. Use Beate’s Rule of Five: commit to finishing only five things on your master task list per day. You are not finished your workday until all five are complete. As for errands, limit yourself to three per day or else you will be running all over the place. Small steps lead to big goals.

During the workshop, I repeatedly asked, “What will happen if you don’t meet a goal, or if you decide to move something on the back burner, or if you simply change your mind?” Personally, I used to think of disaster scenarios where everything would fall apart if I didn’t absolutely abide by my plan. But, here is the truth—nothing is going to happen. There is no police who will write you a ticket if you break a personal deadline or if you don’t get it right the first or fifth time. There is no need to be harder on yourself than the police would be, right?

To feel good about yourself and your abilities, you first must find a way to do well. When you do well, it is impossible—IMPOSSIBLE—to continue to feel bad. Confidence comes when you do something you can be proud of. Find what that is for you and please start today with taking the first step.

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