When people hear you’ve written a book that’s selling around the world, the first question I often hear is “So what’s the biggest fear you see?” Even as I write this, I find it’s hard to hone in on one over all fear. However as a coach, I think one of my most important jobs is to help people build confidence. And the opposite of confidence is fear.
To which many will tell me “I have no fear in my life!” and yet when they read the book, they’re surprised by the hidden fears that lurk in their subconscious attacking their success. Not all fears wake you in the middle of the night covered in sweat and fearful for your life. Some are hidden and are the underlying causes of a lack of self confidence and a lack of self belief is often hiding in a fear that wishes to stay a stalker in your mind.
Ever noticed how you are awesome at something and yet pause when asked to do something new related to it?
Found yourself keeping quiet on an idea for fear of what people might think?
Have a burning ambition that you never seem to get around to?
Always one more job that needs to be done before you can send in that article or report or launch that website or share your ground breaking ideas?
That could be a hidden lurker of a fear called arrogance.
We all know someone that is highly confident and seems to float around the room at parties or business events with pizzazz, natural charm and laughter and everyone knows who they are and wants to chat with them. Bet that person doesn’t fear arrogance right?
On the contrary they are just as likely to have their own internal automatic thought processes that are impacting on the actions and feelings, but they’ve learned the power of feeling confident and purveying that. That may not have had to think about it a great deal, however they will do things either automatically or with practice that enables them to feel confident.
I speak from experience here, I had the social ineptitude of a burnt sausage at social gatherings, always managing to say just the wrong thing and then not being able to stop myself from talking, sounding like the nearest thing to perpetual motion and yet still jabbering on, because my internal dialogue has gone into hyperdrive as I panic about what that person thinks of me, “oh no I didn’t mean that, what must they think!” I’d keep talking in an attempt to dig myself out of a conversation catastrophe. This didn’t just happen in social situations, I did it when I started networking too. And that meant the drive home could be a journey of hell as my mind replayed every conversation and convinced me that I was the worse human on the planet.
Arrogance Is a Thief of Confidence
Guess what this does to your confidence? To your ability to feel comfortable in any situation? Guess what it does to the way you feel, and if you feel negative, what does that do to your thoughts and actions? You’ve guessed it we are less likely to achieve what we wish to because our internal voices and beliefs have gone into automatic pilot and are intent on keeping us stuck in a loop that results in only ever the same level of success and nothing better.
So if you feel you lack confidence, if you find you speak too much or never share what you are actually thinking, or if you find your big dreams are remaining dreams and are still no nearer to reality; perhaps it’s time to check your attitude to arrogance.
You see I can remember looking at other people in the room and thinking why can’t I be that person with the pizzazz and the natural style? Why can’t I be confident and relaxed? And the first thing I did was realize the internal conversation that I was replaying was one that said things like: they are better than you; they’ve been in the industry for years, what could you possibly have to add of benefit?
You are just a girl who leaves the men to the real conversations. (Yes a ridiculous thought to have, especially since I believe that we are capable of achieving anything we truly wish to and I’d been one of the UK’s youngest automotive body shop managers and learned so much as a young woman in the car industry! But hey I’m being honest here, because honesty with you could help you find the strength to be honest with yourself.)
The point is (not just to share really personal and unhelpful thoughts that I used to have!) that the thoughts that are allowed to run in our minds can impact on our actions and that then impacts on our results. Thus, the awesome thing is (that I love about coaching for its speed!) that if you want to get better results you need to change your thoughts.
Take Control of Your Automatic Thoughts
First of all, become aware of the automatic thought patterns you slip into. When you notice them depends on what works for you. What I call the science of being you will depend on the best way for you to deal with it.
For example, if you are a person who is told to quit caffeine for your health, are you the kind of person that stops from that moment on? Or are you the person that limits intake day by day to get to your goal? Do you like an app that keeps you motivated? Are you the kind of person that researches alternatives and the best way to go cold turkey on caffeine or are you someone that proclaims, “Why me” and does their best to hide in denial until the next doctor’s appointment?
The reason you need to consider the caffeine question is that it will help you understand the science of being you and your natural way of dealing with things. For me it’s all or nothing. So when I decided to deal with my fear of arrogance, I used the next tip. And to do that I had to appreciate what the automatic thoughts were. For me I went with the 1,2,3 approach:
- Become aware of the automatic thoughts that you allow to run in your mind.
- Stop the mid thought.
- Choose a new, more motivating and positive thought to have instead.
Ideally you should do each step for one week before adding the next step to ensure mastery and not a half-hearted attempt at change.
Think of the person that seems to ooze confidence, success and happiness. How do they act? What do they say? How much do they listen? How do they stand? Where do they go? What do they talk about on social media? Sometimes noticing the traits of those that you admire can help you act more like them.
This is not about a broadway performance. However, it is about noticing how it makes you feel. It may not work for everyone. But for those that it helps, it can help fast. And before long the act becomes the reality.
One of the reasons we don’t showcase our true potential is because we are scared about what people will think and how they will perceive us. As humans, we are by nature a social animal wanting others around us. And thus we work hard to be accepted and liked.
One of the quickest ways to be liked is to be you. The irony being that people hide who they are for fear of rejection. Learn to accept who you are and then people will automatically do the same for you too. People accept the perception of reality that you bring to them. Act scared in front of an audience? Your audience will look nervous. Smile as you walk into a party? People will smile back. Accept that you are good enough right now today.
Following on from accepting you by listening to what you think people are thinking about you can start to process the truth. When I’ve asked a audience to tell me what they are thinking at that time, rarely have they been thinking about me. It is our ego that tells us that people are talking about us, or don’t like us. When the audience replies, it tends to be things like “I wondered what to cook for tea.” Or “Will I get stuck in traffic again tonight.” Or “I wish I’d not worn these shoes, they aren’t as comfortable as I thought they were!” This is a great way of showcasing to people with a fear of public speaking that our greatest fears are usually not even in existence!
I often find that the clients I’m working with are, if not nationally recognized for their industry or hobby, it’s internationally appreciated, and yet still they enable a nagging inferior complex to stop them from getting their true results.
I remember a client recently who I repeated to them “So can I just clarify that you are one of the best in the UK and on the international panel for this profession, and you are asking me if you are good enough for X?” It was in this reframing they were able to see it was daft to even suggest that they may not be impeccably qualified and perfect for the job.
Look at the areas in your life where you wish you had more client and if you have top tip number 1, you will have become aware of the automatic thoughts that you let run riot in your mind. What evidence do you have for these beliefs? Quite often our minds know the truth and yet don’t let our hearts appreciate how awesome we are. Make a list of the facts that help you reshape your facts to help you appreciate what you are really capable and why you’ve every right to have confidence in this area of your life.