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Nobody likes to admit that they suffer from a lack of confidence. I know all too well what it’s like to present a certain image to the world, and yet, behind the scenes, secretly be preoccupied with what other people think, then hesitate and not act. For a while, anything slightly outside of my comfort zone just seemed too much to handle emotionally, and so my self-sabotage was spiraling out of control.
CEOs live in a world with a lot of added pressure, part of which is dealing with the emotions of team members, customers, etc. Due to a lack of emotional control, there was a time when I avoided conflict and failed to maintain boundaries with clients, and this weakness only exacerbated the negative internal dialogues.
What I learned over time was that this lack of confidence was due to multiple factors and that my childhood played a huge part. Being bullied and not standing up for yourself had effects well into adulthood, and solving that problem and healing it played a huge role in generating the confidence needed to build a successful business.
Here are some tools and exercises that I discovered during this process, which might be useful for those who want to create greater impact – do great things in the world:
1. Confident Memory Moments
Memory plays a huge role in trust. Either we pull thoughts from the past that support us, or others that handicap us and prevent us from taking the actions that we know will help ourselves and our businesses.
Try this exercise: Close your eyes and remember a time when you felt most confident. It can be any time in the past, pick one that really had an impact (maybe a sports competition). Close your eyes and review what you witnessed at that time, listen to what you heard, and most importantly, feel what you felt. Accepting this is a big change, as it also allows you to understand that you are actually in control of your emotional state at all times.
Related: Male entrepreneurs often lead with ‘What are you doing?’ Instead of these 7 life and career changing topics
2. The follow-up rewiring exercise
Taking action builds trust, but often we don’t take action because we think the outcome will be negative. If we do this enough, we end up conditioning ourselves to be procrastinators, and that only lowers the confidence further.
Take a piece of paper and create three columns on it. On the left, write down the action you are committing to pursue. In the middle column, detail how you will feel after you complete the action. In the third, describe Why it is important to follow. When we create a typical to-do list, unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account that emotions can self-sabotage us. Encouraging yourself to think and feel a positive outcome will help you tremendously.
3. Building Trust
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big leaps of courage because they inevitably involve a greater degree of responsibility. However, something you can easily do is commit to smaller actions that build and support you in the role of CEO. For example, if you’re not currently talking to strangers when you’re having coffee, just start by saying hello. Then move on to the compliment. The positive mental reward you get from micro-actions like these actually goes a long way toward greater confidence. When we lack this quality, it’s often because we’re stuck in a mental loop – doing the same thing day after day. When you start to break this cycle, you will notice that you feel happier and lighter and get things done.
Related: 12 ways to boost your confidence in 2022
4. The physical factor
Body image plays an outsized role in confidence. The more we let health and fitness slide, the more the spirals of self-confidence increase. “Not having enough time” is a reliable excuse, but one that can become the biggest statement of self-sabotage for many CEOs. Workouts and healthy eating should be part of a lifestyle as they fuel both vigor and confidence. If you’re struggling to exercise, ask yourself this question every day: “Is there a real excuse why I can’t exercise today?” Also, make sure the time spent on it is marked on your calendar and focus on how you will feel after it, not the process of doing it – know that every workout and every healthy meal contributes to the present and future success.
5. Impact on trust
One of the reasons we get stuck in low confidence and shun courage is that we don’t have to do the things we have to do. A big part of personal development is knowing when we need to take responsibility and when we don’t. Think about the things right now that you find easy to act on and that you trust. Other people might need to apply greater responsibility to fuel such actions, but you don’t because they are easy on you. . Consequences of responsibility create leverage: good responsibility creates consequences for not taking action, which then forces you to do what’s uncomfortable – and you’ll end up being grateful for that nudge to do something you don’t. you postponed.
Related: The 5 steps to building unshakeable trust
Building real trust doesn’t have to take a long time. The right combination of actions can go a long way in creating momentum that will not only affect you personally, but will carry over into the work, during which you will earn more respect and achieve more results.