When is the last time you thought about taking some sort of action and then talked yourself out of it? Maybe you saw a role you wanted to apply for but didn’t because your experience and skill set were not exactly aligned with the ideal criteria. Or perhaps you wanted to strike up a conversation with a senior leader in your organisation and decided you shouldn’t because you don’t have the authority to do so. This constant back-and-forth is the infamous battle between your inner critic and your inner coach. 

These feelings and behaviours are not uncommon; your inner critic loves making assumptions and creating stories to justify inaction. They may stem from old narratives you have built over time to make sense of situations and experiences. 

This voice and the stories it tells you are incredibly powerful. They have the potential to become core beliefs about who you think you are, your value and your worthiness.

Our internal dialogue can become so automatic we no longer notice nor question it. The truth is that the stories we tell ourselves are often inaccurate and don’t serve us because they limit our choices and our potential to succeed.

Rewriting the stories we tell ourselves.

Learning to re-write these stories can be challenging, and you can use some of the building blocks to Core Confidence that we discuss in the book to help:

1. Be focused and present 

Notice when you are waiting for more information or permission or more experience to decide or take action and get curious. What’s really going on? Why are you waiting for someone else to come up with the terms and give you permission?

2. Face fear and challenge your thinking 

Is your inaction due to a lack of confidence or fear of failure? Perfectionism? What is stopping you from taking action?

3. Get clear 

Know your value and challenge your assumptions about the ‘right’ thing to do in a given situation. Are you making decisions that benefit your future self, or are you keeping your present self comfortable?

4. Maintain resilience 

Accept that things will not always go to plan and failure will happen. Persevere. Find insights from the lesson and use that knowledge going forward.

Connecting the decisions we’re making and actions we’re taking with our confidence can be uncomfortable and confronting. Yet sometimes, they are the red flags needed to spotlight the truth, that it is our behaviours are holding us back. Noticing them is the first step.