28 Nov 5 steps to gaining greater self-belief
How do we learn to believe in ourselves? For most, the key to leading a happy life and feeling fulfilled lies in cultivating self-belief. But many of us start from a position of deficit. Here are five areas to reflect on, that might shed light on the steps you need to take to achieve greater self-belief
- Explore Childhood
Identify and come to terms with the reasons you might not have been instilled with self-belief as a child. This is where many people’s lack of self-belief has its roots. Some of us may have been born genetically inclined to lacking confidence and this predisposition was triggered due to problems in childhood. Parents play a key role in building a child’s self-belief. Maybe yours didn’t or couldn’t provide you with the right amount of love and attention. Maybe due to problems of their own such as stress, poverty, mental or physical health issues, or addictions. Perhaps you lost a parent at a young age, or suffered illness or trauma that had a lasting effect on your confidence. Bullying may have been something you experienced at school. All these things and more can have an adverse effect on self-belief.
- Consider life events
Sometimes people who have always had strong self-belief can find it suddenly vanish after a traumatic and significant life event. For me, the time I lacked most self-belief was during the three years following the death of my mother. The person who had loved me unconditionally and who had believed in me the most was suddenly gone, with no-one left to take up the mantle of believing in me. This was not true of course, as there was an obvious choice to pick up that role – me, myself and I. But I didn’t see this at the time. When we lose someone who has provided us with emotional support, it takes a while to find their voice and belief within ourselves – it’s there, it just needs rediscovering. It’s not just the death of a loved one that can shatter our self-belief. It’s any trauma – an accident, the end of a relationship, or loss of a job. Consider and explore events may have played a role in raising your anxiety about coping with life – anxiety is strongly linked with self-belief.
- Evaluate the role of friendships
Friendships can play a positive or negative part in building self-belief. Often our friends can help us believe in ourselves by pointing out our strengths and achievements when we’re doubting ourselves. Unconditional support from a friend and their desire to spend time in our company helps us see that we are actually a valued human being. Similarly, the belief we have in our friends and the way we demonstrate this to them can show us the way to believe in ourselves. It’s a small but significant step to applying the techniques you use to support your friends to supporting yourself.
Sometimes on examination we discover that some friendships do not serve us well. Perhaps you are supporting a friend who gives nothing in return, or who perhaps displays such a negative outlook that this rubs off on you and how you view yourself. It’s very hard but occasionally we have to find the strength to move away from people who cause more pain than joy.
- Celebrate your achievements
A significant source of self-belief is our achievements. It’s important to reflect on these at intervals. Perhaps you have achieved qualifications, a good job or built a business. Maybe your achievements centre more on family such as your spouse or partner, your children, relatives and your relationships with them. Achievements can be spiritual also – possibly you have been on a journey of growth with many personal triumphs along the way. Have you overcome a significant fear? Taken up regular exercise or healthy eating. All these are cause for celebration and we need to regularly remind ourselves of them. It’s useful to go through the process of writing them all down as often we lose sight of just how many achievements we have under our belt!
- Find inspiration
Occasionally, being inspired by others triggers a new perspective on ourselves which in turn increases self-belief. This rings true for me. At a key point of change in my life, I had the privilege of being in the audience during a keynote speech by Martine Wright MBE. Speaking candidly about her life following the Aldgate underground explosion in the 7/7 London bombings in 2005, Martine described the people, factors, values and principles that gave her strength and purpose again. Listening to Martine explaining her “Power of 7” principles of belief was of the most inspiring and moving experiences of my entire life; I felt as if she was speaking to me alone! This was one of the main contributing factors to rediscovering and emboldening my own self-belief.
The philosophy behind Call Brian Quinn is to apply my learning about myself to helping other people. My businesses Training Plus Merseyside (tpm) and Call Brian Quinn are the evidence that I believe in myself. My starting point with clients is my belief in their potential. Our journey together is about helping them take on that belief, until it becomes rooted as an unshakeable core, their default position regardless of what life throws at them.