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  • Writer's pictureYesYou.Anna

You just need to be more confident is bad advice.

I took a climbing course last weekend. I failed.

While my whole group was signed off to climb without supervision, the instructor informed me 'I am not going to sign you off this time'. Cringe.

I am pretty sure reason I failed was due to a lack of confidence. And the irony isn't lost on me; confidence coach fails climbing course due to a lack of confidence! At one point while physically shaking at the prospect of trapping my hand in a metal contraption for the second time I was praying no one would ask me what my job was. Lucky for me climbers don't appear to be particularly interested in anything other than ropes.

Seeing my obvious nerves and struggling to tie my ropes my partner said (he thought reassuringly) "you just need to be more confident Anna". Lol I thought.

When you are low on confidence, someone saying you just need to be more confident doesn't work. Even telling yourself doesn't work and here's why...

When I was climbing I was thinking this isn't safe. When my clients are feeling low on confidence at work, they are thinking exactly the same thing; this isn't safe.

It doesn't matter what the situation is, whether you are climbing up a wall or trying to speak up in a meeting, whenever we are thinking this isn't safe, our bodies release a mix of chemicals designed to trigger the fight/flight/freeze response. This response enables you to deal with an immediate threat, but if there isn't an immediate threat to deal with, it will leave you with a fairly blank brain.

I couldn't feel more confident while I was thinking this isn't safe. It was literally impossible. It's the same for you at work. You cannot feel more confident by telling yourself I just need to be more confident. You cannot feel more confident because boss says, your work is great, you just need to be a bit more confident. It's just bad advice. In fact, it is such bad advice that if I had given it to my clients when I was a lawyer, they could have sued me.

While you are thinking this isn't safe, you will never feel more confident. Your body is designed to keep you on high alert. It does not want you feel confident when you are thinking, this isn't safe, it wants you to run away.

If if sometimes struggle with low confidence you can bet that the thought it's not safe is lurking in your brain.

If you want to increase your confidence, I have two things which will help you (and you'll be pleased to know neither of them are climbing tips):-

(1) Join Confident at Work - the coaching and training programme for professional women. It will change your work life, forever. Guaranteed. Get in. And, if your boss has ever suggested that you just need to be a bit more confident, here is some better advice, download the PDF and ask them pay for this programme. Today!

(2) Book February's free class Grow Your Confidence to learn about the 3 essential conditions your confidence needs to grow. And no, none of them include telling yourself to be a bit more confident (!)

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