Your level of performance is directly related to your level of confidence. If you want to perform better you need to raise your level of confidence in your ability to attempt, if not fulfil, the task in hand. Confidence matters because you are unlikely to attempt something if you don’t believe in your ability. Self-belief is in part, confidence.
When I was a child I enjoyed singing in the school choir. One day the choirmaster listened to me singing and said ‘You’re in the Descant choir!’ When I went to secondary school we had to stand up and sing solo in front of the class in order to be chosen for the choir. There was no way I was going to do that! I didn’t have the confidence to perform solo.
As children, generally, we are confident in our ability. Ask a class of five-year-olds ‘Who can sing us a song?’ and many will eagerly put up their hand and want to fulfil the request. They have not yet learned to doubt their ability. Ask a class of 13-15-year-olds and you will see heads bowed and an unwillingness to even attempt the task. Most of us lose our confidence at some point. Those who can hold on to their childhood confidence generally do better as adults in the workplace.
A study at the University of Melbourne showed that when ‘Participants were asked to describe their level of confidence at primary school…Those who self-reported higher levels of confidence earlier in school earned better wages, and were promoted..’
When you need confidence, recall when you did something well. Put as much sensory detail into this memory: where were you, what were you wearing, what was the weather like, who were you with? Remember doing the thing well and how you felt. Now anchor this feeling by making a movement – I use pressing my thumb and middle finger together – and make a positive statement – ‘I am a great singer ‘ would be the seven-year-old’s choice.
When you find yourself in a situation where you need confidence, squeeze your thumb and middle finger together and say the statement out loud, or think it, and remember the feeling of doing the thing really well. You will call on the embodied memory and reality that you can do things well.
In my next post I’m going to describe how confidence works. If you have any questions until then, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to know more about building your confidence call me on 01424 773 988.