When is the last time you thought about taking some sort of action and then talked yourself out of it? Maybe saw a role that you wanted to apply for but didn’t because your experience and skillset was not exactly aligned with the ideal criteria.
Or maybe 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.
These behaviours are not uncommon, because the assumptions we make and the stories we tell ourselves to justify our inaction are incredibly powerful. They may stem from old narratives we have built over time to make sense of situations and experiences but they have the potential to become core beliefs about who we think we are, our value and our worthiness.
Our internal dialogue can become so automatic we no longer notice nor question it, but the truth is the stories we tell ourselves are often inaccurate and don’t serve us because they limit the choices we make and our potential to succeed.
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:
- Be focused and present – notice when you are waiting for more information or permission or more experience to decide or take an 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?
- Face fear and challenge your own thinking – is your inaction due to a lack of confidence? Fear of failure? Perfectionism? What is stopping you from taking action?
- Get clear – know your value and your values and challenge your own assumptions, about what is 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?
- 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 that are holding us back. Noticing them is the first step.