The missing link by Lou Kirby @WomanReadyblog
Confidence is a funny thing, don’t you find? Sometimes you can feel positive, happy, fulfilled, unstoppable, calm, attractive. Other days, the total opposite; unworthy, self-critical, anxious, ugly, not good-enough.
Lack of confidence is something that affects many women. It’s estimated that 60% suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their life. Imposter syndrome, if you’ve not heard of it, is that feeling that someone will find you out to be a ‘fraud’, that you don’t deserve the success you’ve achieved.
My own confidence has been up and down. It took a particular ‘beating’ after I had my children and returned to work. I remember thinking, who am I and what am I doing? It was totally unsettling and made me doubt who I was. This feeling stayed with me for a long time and I really battled with it.
My kids are older now; my eldest is a teenager and I’ve found myself to be, what I would call, quietly confident. I’m comfy in my skin. I like who I am. I know what I like and don’t like, who I’m happy to give my precious time to and I don’t feel that I need to ‘impress’ people like I did in my earlier years. And that’s a nice place to be.
So, between the ‘who am I’ and the ‘comfy in my skin’ stage, a few things happened. I got to the point though where I thought there had to be a better way of being, of living. I decided I wanted to do something about it. If I was privileged enough to be here in another 20/30/40 years, then I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t my biggest critic!
So, I started talking to lots of other women. It became clear, that many of us were suffering from lack of confidence in some part of our lives – be it work, relationships, social life or how we felt about our bodies. There was that general belief that we weren’t quite good-enough!
What Would You Have Done In Your Life, With More Confidence?
One of my favourite questions to ask them was, ‘what would you have done in your life, with more confidence?’ The answers I heard weren’t around achieving really big goals – the climbing Mount Everest type goals – for example – but examples of everyday events.
Here’s what they said.
- Applied for jobs that I thought were beyond my reach.
- Stopped worrying so much about events, circumstance, people’s opinions of me.
- Done more public speaking.
- The amount of time spent in advance preparing for a confrontation or situation would have been minimised.
- Learnt to drive earlier.
- Asked for a pay rise and asked more often.
- Enjoyed meeting people.
- Less influenced by others.
- Ended relationships sooner.
- Worn different clothes and be more comfortable with my body.
This is a really interesting question to ask yourself. Have a think about what your answer would be.
As a result of the above, I wanted to help other women feel more positive about who they were and I set up womanready.com & re-trained as a coach – more in the Bio.
The Inner Critic
Whatever our age, it seems that our inner critic, is forever present, holding us back and chastising us. One of my biggest fears was regret; regret that I’ll would reach a certain age and realise that I hadn’t lived a full life because of this inner voice. Not because of someone else but because of ME!
It’s Time To Stop! Confidence is something that you have to work on. I know you probably don’t want to hear that though! There is no magic pill that will transform you into an assertive, confident woman. You need to be willing to put some work in to fan those flames of self-confidence again.
At various stages of our lives, we can easily slip into the comfort zone trap. I’ve seen it happen so many times and it’s so easy to do. When we get comfortable with our life (which can be lovely, right!), we tend to not push ourselves; we tend to stick with what we know. And then our desire to try something new (something that we may have done without hesitation a few years ago) dwindles. And then this cycle repeats itself.
Action = confidence. You have to start doing things; things that you are a little nervous of. And if you’re a little scared, so what? Recognise the emotion and then do it (feel the fear and do it scared). You are so much more than you think you are.
Start taking those little steps forward. And you’ll find that those little, positive steps, all mount up to something bigger.
I read this somewhere (sorry I can’t remember the source) – “One day you’ll wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Do it now.”
Lou is founder of Woman Ready (womanready.com) which is an online platform helping women to recognise their potential, embrace who they are (as they are) and believe in themselves more. She is also a qualified professional coach helping women to live happier, more content lives.
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Keep being fabulous!