The Shocking Way I Increased My Confidence

When I was started in the corporate world, after 8 years of working in public education as a teacher and instructional coach, I had to put my ego aside. With one job change I went from being an expert to being the new kid on the block with no street cred and very little knowledge.

Cue "All by Myself" by Eric Carmen. One of my all time faves. 

It was really hard, and during my early years in HR I lost confidence. Everyone seemed to know more than me. I looked so young that I had a hard time convincing leaders to take me seriously. I barely understood the business of retail. 

Over time I grew myself into a subject matter expert but one thing never left - the lack of confidence I had in myself that I knew what I was doing. I always believed there was someone else better than me. 

When we lack confidence it shows.

Others see it in our work product (Can you review this for me? I'm not sure it's good enough. Okay, I've made changes, so will you review it again?) because we've never sure if what we've made is good enough.

Colleagues see it in meetings (I'm afraid to ask everyone to stop talking but I need to get this meeting started) because we don't take command of the room and stumble over our words. 

Leaders see it when they ask how we want to grow (I'm not sure because I don't know what else I can do) and we don't really have an answer. 

It's taken years to realize that no one is in charge of my confidence but me. So to increase how I viewed my self worth, I decided about a year ago to do something shocking. Something so very out of the norm that I wasn't sure that even I could pull it off. 

When people told me how awesome I was, I decided to believe them

Seriously. 

I started telling myself that they were right. That what I knew or how I did something (in my case it was facilitating a class or leading a 1:1 coaching session) was pretty amazing. At first it didn't stick - I found myself going back into my old way of thinking. But the more I kept telling myself "They're right! I am awesome at this!" the more I started to believe it. 

Shockingly, it's something most of us don't do. 

We choose to believe the negative thoughts in our head. We choose to minimize the positive feedback we get from others. And you know what happens when we choose that? We don't grow. We don't live out our dreams. We settle for less because we think that's what we deserve.

To increase your greatness, start believing what others say. Shockingly, it works.