• overwhelmed professional woman

When You Think You Can’t

Confidence is a funny thing. You can think you’ve got it all figured out one minute, and get totally knocked down the next. Truth be told, there are many times in our lives when we take a direct hit to our confidence. Some of these situations arise from bad times – failed relationships, missteps in our careers, or financial hardship.

But, surprisingly, some of our most challenging struggles with confidence come from our greatest joys and success. (Tweet that!)

Promotions at work, new jobs, or new babies can leave us reeling, wondering what happened to the gal that had it all together. The next time you find yourself struggling through one of these low points in confidence, try these steps to regain momentum.

Name It and Accept It

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I am a big believer in the power of accepting life just as it is, even when what it is stinks. I’m not talking about complacency here, but about the power of acknowledging reality. And the reality is that life is challenging, and you will not sail through it unscathed. Believing anything else is foolish.

So, the next time you’re feeling a little rattled, acknowledge it – to yourself, to a mentor or coach, or to a friend.

“I’m having a hard time believing I have what it takes to be successful at this job.”

“Being a new mom is a lot to take on, and I’m struggling with my confidence.”

“I can’t believe that relationship failed. How will I ever feel brave enough to try again?”

Identifying that your problem is one of confidence is a critical first step to moving on.

Know That It Is Temporary

Acknowledging is great, but it also has the potential to derail you. If you stall out in the acknowledgement phase, you run the real risk that you will begin to accept the story that your reality today will always be your reality. Believing that lie will kill any possibility you have of progress.

A lack of confidence can and should be a temporary state. (Tweet that!)

You won’t always be new in your job. One day, you will look up and realize that you’re in a successful relationship. Before too long, you will come to the end of week in which you folded laundry, handled conference calls, and made dinner, all with a baby on your hip. Believing that you will be back on top again is critical to making it happen.

Remember Your Wins

We all have wins, but when we’re lacking in confidence, it can be hard to remember them. The voice of that dreaded inner critic is loud and persistent, and to drown her out, you must be intentional. So, set aside some time to really think about your successes. The outstanding work that landed you the promotion. The work that went into building a healthy relationship. Even the way you have come through hard times in the past.

Beyond remembering just the outcome, try to remember how you achieved each one. Are you a hard worker? Exceptionally creative and imaginative? Great a communicating with others? These strengths and talents can form the outline of a plan to get moving in the right direction again. Fall back on them in times of stress rather than focusing on the areas where you are still learning and growing.

Take Action

Losing your confidence can often tip off a spiral of inaction and procrastination that only further undermines how you feel about your ability to get things done. Combat this possibility by taking action. Spend some time with the things that have made you successful in the past and ask yourself how you can leverage those skills to make progress now. How can you apply what has worked in the past to your current situation? Then, commit to doing it.

Taking action is a great way to get your confidence back on the upswing. (Tweet that!)

Challenge yourself to take just one step toward rebuilding your confidence daily. Be prepared that it may feel awkward or downright terrifying at first, but do it anyway. There is no quicker way to regain your belief in yourself and your capabilities.

Losing your confidence can be a frightening experience – one that causes you to question your very identity and self-worth. While it might be inevitable that you will face these challenges, you don’t have to face them without a plan for how to recover. When handled appropriately, you can be back on top of your game before you know it.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you get back on track when you’ve lost your confidence?