This is a guest blog by Gina Covarrubias
Exercise #1: Embrace Emotions, Both Positive and Negative
While many definitions of your self-confidence exist, I will share my favorite: Self-confidence is the willingness to feel any emotion.
As terrible as some emotions feel, they are not harmful. The stronger your ability to accept and allow emotions, positive and negative, the more accomplished you will become.
Lifelong learners know how to navigate their lives taking terrible emotions along for the ride. They know how to feel and how to let emotions pass. When negativity, such as fear or humiliation, rears its ugly face, learners do not allow this to hold them back!
Try it. The next time you feel failure, embarrassment, or other negative emotions, allow yourself to feel it all the way through. Let it be. Allow it to fester inside. Get curious about it as you ask yourself, “What is the worst that’s going to happen?”
Emotions and feelings are simply forms of energy that manifest inside your body, only to eventually dissipate. The stronger your ability to embrace and allow, the less you hold yourself back, and the more gifts you have to offer the world!
“The more you live in fear, the less you live in life.” ~ Gina Covarrubias
Exercise #2: Differentiate Between Doing vs. Being
Distinguish between doing and being. Here’s what I mean.
Doing implies action, such as performing your work, taking a class for fun, or learning a new hobby. You will be doing things your whole life.
In all of your doings, you will no doubt make mistakes. You will mess things up, forget people’s names, screw up a spreadsheet at work, etc. There will be times when you doubt yourself, your skills, and whether you’re in the right place.
When times get tough, remember this: It was supposed to happen that way. We are only human, and humans were designed to be imperfect. Making mistakes and doing things incorrectly is part of the human experience; it is a necessity to learn and evolve!
In contrast, being implies existence. Your existence is 100% worthy despite your actions! You can make the gravest mistake, and you will always possess inherent worth as a human being.
There is no rulebook that states you are “less than” when failing to live up to specific requirements. And let’s face it, we are very good at putting pressure on ourselves to achieve X, Y, and Z. Not to mention the pressures that other people put on us!
When doing, extract wisdom from your mistakes and be grateful for them. When being, remember that you are inherently worthy, and nothing will change that.
“Worth has no prerequisite.” ~ Brené Brown
Exercise #3: Stop Trying to Control Others’ Opinions
“I wonder what they’ll think of me … what if I look like a fool … what if I say the wrong thing?”
The number of ways we worry about others opinions can reach infinity. While it is natural to want to be liked and to want to fit in, this tendency can backfire if taken to an extreme.
Instead of speculating about others’ opinions of you, may I recommend something else?
I challenge you to think this: Every individual sees the world through their own set of lenses. For example, your lenses include your own childhood, your influencers, your education, your mistakes, and lessons learned. You apply this experience to make judgments about other people.
In other words, you decide who to like based on the world as you have personally experienced it, correct?
On the flip side are all the humans who have encountered their own versions of the external world. And they get to formulate their own judgments of you based on their world experiences.
Why is this critical? Because it means others’ opinions about you are not truly about you! Others’ opinions are shaped by the attitudes, hardships, and experiences they have encountered in their own lives.
Therefore, stop trying to control what others think of you. Instead, live an authentic life and be yourself; then watch how other authentic people flock to you!
“You can be the juiciest peach in the world, there is always someone who doesn’t like peaches.” ~ Anonymous
About the Author Gina Covarrubias
Gina is the founder of Deliberate Doing, an exclusive STEM coaching service dedicated to helping engineers fix their careers. She solves the common STEM problem: “What should I be doing with my life?” As a former engineer, she identifies with the technical expert who doubts their personal or professional existence.
Gina’s distinctive background blends life coaching expertise with 12+ years engineering/technology experience in the government, academic and corporate environments, all within the aerospace sector.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share how you strengthen your self-confidence.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success