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Have you ever been on top of the world? That feeling of invincibility and rampant confidence that rides shotgun to a job well done? It’s an awesome feeling, but it can be fleeting. A bad review, a negative conversation, a project delay, or getting dressed down in a meeting can let the air out of your balloon and drop you from invincible to vanquished.
Even the best performers have bad days. And, just like anyone else, they need time to bounce back. The key is to not let those negative experiences derail your entire day or week. Instead, take a step back and assess the situation. Was it really that bad? What can you learn from it?
Nobody likes feeling defeated. So how can we build confidence and regain our mojo?
When my kids were little they loved Winnie the Pooh. What's not to love? Pooh was so gentle and eternally optimistic. His opposite was his good friend Eeyore. Eeyore never had a happy word to say and was the perennial curmudgeon. Confidence thrives in an environment of positivity and withers in an environment of negativity. So when you are feeling defeated channel your inner Pooh not your inner Eeyore. Find something to smile about. When you are feeling defeated channel your inner Pooh not your inner Eeyore!
When anyone asks me how I am, I respond: "On top of the world, best day ever!" And I mean it. No matter what is happening or how well or poorly things are going, I am always on top of the world. It's a state of mind that works and just saying it helps you feel more confident. I know it may not always feel like you're on top of the world, but saying that you are helps put things in perspective. When things get tough, remember that you have been through worse before and you can get through this too.
Remember: life is full of ups and downs, but if you keep your head up and stay positive, you'll soon realize that the ups eventually outweigh the downs.
Review the highlight reel...often
It’s easy to let the most recent setback obscure past accomplishments. To combat this, review your highlight reel. Remember the little victories and the big wins.
But that’s a catch-22 isn't it? In all honesty, when you lack confidence, it's hard to remember all of the great things about yourself. Try this, start a wins journal. Every day, jot down a win, and go back to it when you feel like you're in a slump.
They don't have to be massive, but they are yours. When you feel like you've lost your mojo, this journal will be there to remind you that you have something to be confident about.
Ask a trusted friend about you... and listen
When you can't find (or don't have) a chronicle of your awesomeness, ask a friend to name a few great things about you. But be very careful who you ask to lift you up when your confidence is low. Ask the wrong person and you may end up worse off than you were before! The person you ask to boost your confidence should be someone who is always in your corner, someone who can remember your awesomeness and remind you of it. You already know who this is.
Ask them to tell you 3 or 4 admirable qualities about you, or a story of when you were confident and your confidence game was on 110! Warning: You may not want to listen because you’re having a hard time believing anything good about yourself.
Listen anyway. Don't cut them off. Don't correct them. Just listen and get recharged.
PUT ON YOUR PUMPED UP PLAYLIST
Guardians of the Galaxy is just a really fun movie to watch. Starlord (Chris Pratt) travels through space in a really cool spaceship that he has somehow retrofitted it with, of all things, a cassette player. What's not to love about that. For Starlord, music is life.
One of the main themes throughout the movie is that music is what has kept him (somewhat) sane after losing his mother and being abducted by aliens 20 years earlier. Music plays a crucial role in the development of his character and the movie.
That's because one of the quickest ways to shift your mood and reclaim your confidence is to put on the music that gets you pumped up.
I have a specific "pumped up" playlist for when I need to remind myself of what I am capable of. Some of my songs are:
- Aloe Blacc, I'm the Man,
- Marvin Sapp, Yes You Can,
- Survivor, Eye of the Tiger
- Katy Perry, Roar,
- Blue Suede, Hooked on a Feeling
- Destiny's Child, Survivor,
- The Five Steps, Ooh Child,
- Stevie Wonder, Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing,
- Stan Bush, You've Got the Touch (yes, the song from the 1986 Transformers movie, don't judge me!)
There's some Jackson 5, Public Enemy, KRS1, Earth Wind and Fire, and Beastie Boys sprinkled in there as well. Let your music help you reclaim your confidence.
These songs can get me moving and out of my pity party. What are your songs? What songs immediately make you smile? Do you have a playlist that you can put in on the ride home after an especially tough day at work that can reload your confidence? If you don't, put one together.
Changing your music is one thing; you should also change your environment. Take a walk outside or go to the gym. There's nothing like pushing through a tough crossfit workout you were sure was going to kill you, to remind you that you can do anything you put your mind to.
Find someone that you can celebrate. Walk around the office and give out a few at-a-boys or at-a-girls as the case may be. Just shifting your mindset from your own problems to celebrating someone else's performance can give you a positive boost and help you find your confidence again.
Face what stole your confidence
I was working for a difficult leader at one point in my career. This leader once raised his voice to me and spoke to me as though I were a child. Not cool.
I didn't say anything at the time because it took me so much by surprise, but we did have a talk. I scheduled a time to speak with him and brought up my concern. I would love to tell you that he was apologetic, it never happened again, and we are now BFFs but I would be lying.
To reclaim your confidence, you have to face what stole it! Even though I couldn't "fix" him, just having the talk empowered me and I regained my confidence. And oh yeah, I took the first reassignment I was offered. If it was your boss who made you give up your confidence or a difficult personal experience that ran your confidence off, face it and take your confidence back.
The longer you stay in denial, the longer it has power over you. Have the tough talk with your boss about how you should be treated, acknowledge the pain that made you give up your confidence and then work to rebuild it.