Have you ever second guessed your decisions and wished you could have a “do over”?
Last week I was wondering if my blog was helping as many people as it should. I started to second guess my decisions. When this happens, my confidence runs away faster than a sugar fiend from the dentist.
Sometimes I can’t help second guessing myself because I have so many good ideas that I never implement. Aren’t most people like this? We have all these grand ideas, but never enough time.
Hey, we are busy people with families and careers, and we still need to find time to squeeze in water balloon fights, a good movie, and some tasty food.
You must be careful to take time to relax and appreciate where you are and who you are. Don’t let in that negative voice that is trying to tear down your confidence.
Confidence Affects Our Work
“In order to recognize our self-image, we can no longer identify with it. In other words, we have to learn how to objectify our own mental processes.”
- Matthew Flickstein, Journey to the Center
When you have confidence in who you are, you feel like you are on top of the world. The problems occur when you spend your time chasing fleeting feelings. The feelings that lead to more negativity.
I know that I’m advocating solid ideas on my blog. I’m not promoting slapping old ladies at the bus stop. If I was I could see why my confidence would fluctuate.
- Building a Career You Enjoy.
- Emotional Development.
- Healthy Choices.
We create stories, ideas, and problems that can hurt our confidence. It’s up to us to pick and choose what helps us become stronger people, but we can’t let our choices dictate how we feel. We need to be able to stand back from both the negative and positive and smile. Both give us value. Both teach us.
Our experiences aren’t good or bad until we decide it to be so. This mental strength will help you take your career to a new level. You don’t need your boss to compliment your every move. You don’t have to let a negative comment bring you so far down that you question your choices.
You can stand back from the push and pull of petty and angry comments. You understand the political angles, skewed thoughts, and confusion that can come from the interpretation of someone’s comments. Nothing is ever as it seems. There are always layers beneath layers.
I’ve developed a lot of emotional strength in my fifteen year working career, but I still fall victim to the emotional high and lows of someone else’s comments. In reality, what other people say doesn’t define me. Nothing defines me, not even me. (I know that sounds a little existential, but it made my point.) Interpretation is a tricky thing.
I’m learning to objectify the thoughts and feelings of myself and others because they are all skewed. That’s why you can’t let them dictate your personal well-being. I can prove this…the last time you were in a good mood and you heard something negative, how did you react? You probably didn’t let it affect your confidence, but how about a similar comment when your confidence was on shaky ground? I bet it sent you into a tizzy, an emotional whirlwind. You were interpreting the person’s statement depending on how you felt at the time.
When we interpret comments and actions based on how we feel or how someone else feels, we get a distorted perspective. This happens every time because we are always in some kind of mood. This perceptual contrast determines our state of being. We fool ourselves 100% of the time. But when we know this, we can adjust accordingly.
If you have an argument with a co-worker about a hot or controversial topic then be willing to understand that the person may have a history that you don’t know about. Don’t be so stubborn that you can’t acknowledge these feelings that you can’t see. By using this emotional intelligence, you will win friends instead of creating enemies.
You may believe that your co-worker is wrong, that’s ok, but it’s their perception of their experiences that has brought them to their conclusion. Your beliefs come from your history as well.
Yes, you should listen to others, but don’t let it touch your soul. Protect that core you that knows what you are trying to accomplish. When you aren’t sure about what you are trying to do, those comments can shake your foundation. If another person’s comments do shake your foundation then reassess. If you were just on emotionally shaky ground and your idea is solid then just continue on. If these comments hit your “core you” then maybe you were fooling yourself this whole time.
I know that your tangled emotions are hard to sort through when you are in the middle of a difficult situation. This is when you need to anchor yourself back to your core self. Your inner self knows when you are on the right path.
When I’m on emotionally shaky ground, I make sure that I slow down my thoughts and actions. When my confidence takes a hit, my negative thoughts (arch nemesis) start to take over my thoughts. When I slow down my thoughts and actions, I can do a better job processing my thoughts and emotions. Low confidence is hard to deal with because the self-destructive habits bring me down even further.
I never really realized that I have a system for bringing my confidence back up to normal levels until I got half way through this post. That’s the beauty of processing through my thoughts. I am always discovering something new new technique to help myself grow and improve.
The confidence system:
1. Get Away from Your Work
When you mess up, the first step is to temporarily get away from your work.
I like to take a walk. I step outside to distract my thoughts with nature.
While completing this step, it’s important to focus on your breath and external elements. Try to look at a tree and notice the beauty. What features stand out?
By separating yourself from your work, you can more easily deal with your mixed emotions.
2. Ask for Support
While you are out for a walk, bring your cell phone with you. Call someone you can trust who you know will encourage you.
I have a few friends that I can call in such a moment. Certain friends are good for sharing business issues, and other friends are better for sharing personal issues. Every person has his/her talents, so I try to call the person who can best help me meet my needs.
You probably have a few people you can call for support. If no one is available (which can happen, especially during work hours) then you will have to be your own therapist.
3. Remember Your Cause
There is a reason why you decided to do the work that you do. Your confidence may be low because of the results that you didn’t achieve, but bad results happen to everyone. The successful people are the ones that who don’t give up.
I know that any project I work on has the potential to flop. I’ve created products that people didn’t need. I have coached clients who didn’t like my style.
Each failure happens for a reason. It’s important to remember why you do what you do. 99% of the time it’s not for the money. So if you failed and your confidence is low, you have to focus back on what you were trying to accomplish in the first place. Refocusing back on your actions instead of the results will help you recalibrate your emotions.
4. Make an Actionable List
After you have refocused on your cause, create an actionable list that will help you make your next choice. The idea is to make a list that gets you excited about the outcome.
The last time one of my projects failed, I was a wreck. I wondered why I even tried. I got snippy at my wife and she called me out on my lousy attitude. I went back and thought about why I did what I did, then I made a list of what I needed to focus on for the next week. This refocused my thoughts on why I choose to help people become happier at work. I want people to develop a better relationship with themselves and their co-workers, managers, clients, and everyone else that they work with.
You need to look back on what you do and then think about what you need to focus on next. Taking action is the best way to bring your confidence back up. When you are doing something you want to do, it’s easier to get excited and remember why you chose to do the work that you do.
Once you recognize what task or project you want to accomplish next, the next step is to make a list of five things you can do to start your project or task.
5. Pick Your Favorite Actionable Item
Once you have a list of 5 things you can do, pick your favorite one and get your mojo flowing again. The idea doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t perfect because it will leave you room to improve it and build your confidence.
The item I chose was to create a small 20 page e-book. I wanted to create something that was useful, but not too difficult. I decided to research how the brain responds to breaks. Is a person more efficient when they take breaks? Do they enjoy work more? If you are curious as to whether I put this out yet, I haven’t. I have put it on hold while I am dealing with some health issues, but it should be out very soon.
You need to do work that will allow you to keep moving. Confidence is a fickle thing. The only way to bring it back up to normal levels is to do work that gets you excited and makes you proud.
Do you feel that confidence affects your work?
Do you feel that the core you should be fluid or solid?
* Join the Work Happy Now Facebook Page and interact with other people who are trying to improve their superpowers. It’s very basic right now, but it’s a fun place to visit. We ask good questions, support each other, and laugh. Stop by and hang out.
* Are you looking to add power to your superpowers? Then check out Marc's post over at Marc and Angel Hack Life. He gives a ton of free online resources to teach yourself new skills.
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Image courtesy of Bertelsmann Stiftung