I recently had a coaching session with a really talented, promising, enthusiastic and passionate young professional. She knows what she wants and in fact she has been intuitively allotting time in self-reflection to find out where her interests and skills lie. But she has one big kryptonite – lack of positive self-belief.
She wants so much to showcase her writing skills and share her brilliant ideas but every time she realizes that her work will be seen, she suddenly gets a writing block that eventually spirals down to depression.
The brilliant spiritual leader Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation said that, “Nothing in the world can bother you as much as your own mind.” The surest and most effective way to paralyze yourself is to buy, dwell, and expound on the negative voice that tells you, “You’re not good enough,” “I’m not eloquent enough,” “I’m not likeable enough,” “I’m horrible,” “I’m stupid.” The list goes on.
Here’s the good news, these voices are merely perceptions – learned from events and from others impression of you. As they are learned, they can also be unlearned and you can re-learn new ones that will serve you better.
But you’re asking, how to do I trick my brain to believe great things about myself?
Here are 5 effective steps into becoming your personal leader towards better self-esteem:
Know who you really are
Knowledge is power and this one should fuel you to into the path of self-belief -Know who you really are. Who are you beyond your title or lack of it? Beyond others perception of you? What are your strengths and values? What is important for you? When you are clear about who you really are, it’ll be much easier to choose activities that you’ll love, career that will give you long term fulfillment, friends you’d want to be with, and goals to pursue. When things become shaky, you’ll know what to hold on to – your identity.
What a liberating feeling when you can say “No.” How empowering when you can act consistently regardless of any situation you’re in. And, how unburdening to not care about how others judge you or react to you. This is sometimes a tough one because of some learned values and practices through culture or how we were raised. I had a share of that growing up in a country where the community is more important than the individual. But after living in the Netherlands for a few years, I learned to express my opinion truthfully, say a direct “no” to invitations and requests, and to a cup of tea or dessert one too many without feeling impolite (imagine that?!). By practice, everyone can learn to be just oneself.
Feed your brain regularly with words of affirmation
“Affirmations strengthen us by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest,” says clinical psychologist Dr Carmen Harra. There are tons you can find on the internet – on Pinterest, Facebook pages and Twitter. Pick a few that resonates with you or if you want, make yourself one that is really true to you. My personal words of affirmation is “I trust myself and I am enough.” Every time I start to doubt myself and question what I can give, I calmly recite this to myself and it immediately washes me over with positive, almost giddy feelings. Other great examples are:
- I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.
- I have been given endless talents which I begin to utilize today.
- Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.
- I am a powerhouse.
Deal where it hurts the most
Dare to learn that language or skill that you need to get a job. Practice vulnerability if you feel misunderstood. Expose your work if you’re afraid of others impression of it. Talk to a familiar or a complete stranger in social events. Audition for that play you’ve been fantasizing to act in. Run for a student/civic election if you’ve been meaning to make more difference in an organization. You get the picture. Gain your self-esteem where it hurts the most. The best antidote to lack of positive self-belief is to disprove it by doing what you’re exactly terrified of.
Befriend your inner negative voices
This doesn’t mean embracing and agreeing to them. It means to acknowledge their presence mindfully. After you do, you can gently let them go and say back to yourself words of affirmation to get you up and running again. Remember they’re just thoughts and if perhaps they have a basis, it’s all in the past. Trust yourself that you’ve learned from them. Permit yourself to blossom now.
You see, lack of positive self-belief is like having a sports car with a Suzuki Alto engine. This is the engine that will drive your show.
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
At Passion and Leadership, I coach young international professionals fulfill their potential and find fulfillment in life by facilitating them in taking the lead in these areas of their lives. We all have fears that come in different and many forms. Together, we can journey towards tackling them and help you gain the self-belief and self-confidence you need to create the life you want to live.
For more information on my Personal Leadership Coaching, click here