a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment.
Self-confidence is the final Pillar in the Pillars of Resiliency, and as we’ve shared with all of the others, is likely one of the most important ones. (I sense a theme here guys; our mental health is IMPORTANT!)
Self-confidence is the Pillar that we see a significant erosion with when it comes to driving change. When we find ourselves in change, self-confidence starts to ring the alarm bells, telling us things like:
“You don’t know how to do your job anymore with this new system implementation!!” or “I don’t know what my job is in this merger! I can’t look stupid in front of my peers!”
This can be distracting and present itself as a strong sense of resentment or resistance when it comes to moving yourself or others through change. It also then starts to impact other Pillars; if you don’t feel confident or capable in your role or how to perform your job, your problem-solving skills become hampered - you’re unable to define the real problem you may be experiencing. The downward spiral goes from there, and perhaps you experience a break in your emotional regulation (becoming frustrated) or possibly feeling less empathetic toward others (“Why would I care about how my feedback feels to that Project Manager? She did this to me!”)
It’s the truth – each Pillar relies on the other.
Self-confidence: the beginning
Self-confidence again, like all the other Pillars, begins at birth. It gets woven into our little worlds when we establish attachment and detachment as babies. The humble beginnings of self-confidence begin when we receive love and support when we cry or can be left in our cribs alone safely. As we develop and begin to move about and gain an introduction to toys, movement, and the world around us, positive reinforcement, loving tones of voice, and lots of smiles tell us a lot about our importance in the world and our growing abilities. Self-confidence starts there and continues to develop as we grow.
Research shows that the greatest development in self-confidence between the ages of 4-11; this is when children begin to gain independence and do things for themselves. Simple tasks like dressing or feeding become great opportunities to introduce and nurture self-confidence in a young child.
As children move through elementary school they begin to define and understand themselves and their capabilities. This is where things like athletic, academic, or artistic skills present themselves and act as opportunities to help children embrace their newfound confidence. By the time children reach middle school, self-confidence is relatively well-formed, and we begin to “act” through the adolescent years. Contrary to what many believe, the foundation of self-confidence is set by age 11 and is relatively stable until adulthood.
The time when we feel the MOST self-confident? This answer may surprise you: 60 years old!
That said, not everyone had a great childhood and some of us may have deficiencies in how to have self-confidence – so how can you improve?!
How to improve and strengthen your self-confidence
Learn to accept failure: Failure is a part of progress. You need to fail to be able to set your new benchmark for growth, how would you ever learn otherwise?
Admit to, own, and learn from your mistakes. The only failure is when we fail to learn!
After you make decisions, stick to them! Strong, self-confident people communicate and share their ideas with a sense of belief in what they’re doing and with positive expectations toward the achievement of their vision. Don’t waffle, go confidently in the direction you’ve set for yourself. Be someone that others can and want to look up to.
Show courage on the outside: Your personal energy says a lot about your confidence in your abilities and decisions. If you show a lack of courage in yourself, you’ll damage your own self-perception and your credibility with others. Strong, confident body language and the tone of your voice make a difference!
Be willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve things. Blow your own mind!
Accept compliments graciously, “Thank you! I appreciate the recognition – I worked very hard to achieve this milestone.”
Have boundaries with others. We teach people how to treat us – don’t accept anything less than what you deserve!
Have questions or see an opportunity to improve your self-confidence? Reach out – a call doesn’t cost a thing!