Regain Your Confidence After a Knock
27th September 2019
Disappointment, rejection and judgement are part of life. How do you bounce back after a setback?
Hannah Braime and I were talking about how to cope with the inevitable twists and turns of life when she asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks: how do you regain your confidence after it takes a knock?
My confidence gets bashed all the time.
And developing a resilience toolbox is crucial to being able to move forward and not get stuck. Here’s what I shared with Hannah’s Becoming Who You Are community:
First, acknowledge what’s happened. I might write a single A4 page stream of consciousness about this. I find it a helpful method to articulate how I’m feeling ie bruised, embarrassed or rejected etc. This approach also forces me to break the cycle of rumination I’m so prone to. I don’t spend long on this bit – just the one page.
Sometimes I look over those words and see old stories and patterns right there on the page. You know, the ones spoken in that whiny inner critic voice which says I was cocky to even try or I was foolish or whatever. Now, I ask myself if it’s really true? Almost never.
Next, I ask myself if the knock is really about me at all. I’ve been rejected when online dating – who hasn’t? – and for a long time this meant wondering what was wrong with me. That was my fragile little ego talking. I’m just fine as I am; it’s also fine for the other person to decide I’m not the right fit for them. See, finally, I accept this kind of disappointment is nothing to do with me!
Another way of handling the setback is asking what it teaches me. For instance, I came to realise I had crossed all my own boundaries with a corporate client who hired me to deliver an experience for their own client who didn’t really know what they wanted. The lesson strengthened my resolve to be clear and firm in winning business and completing a project.
Most of all, this example reminded me to trust myself. This is not a new lesson. Sometimes we get sent the same lesson over and over again because we didn’t pay attention the last time…
Another useful question is how important is it? Is this knock really worth spending a lot of your time, energy and attention on? Does it really justify not trying again and staying stuck in fear?
Lastly, I reflect on whether this dent to my confidence is part of a specific season of my life. For instance, bereavement has knocked me sideways a number of times over this past decade. Resilience is helpful to an extent and yet in these seasons of my life learning to surrender to the ebb and flow of grief has been the kinder and more self-compassionate choice. I had to accept my temporary limitations and trust my confidence would return in time, and it did.
In summary, the key to picking yourself back up is to ask yourself some good questions, reflect and learn about yourself, then get back out there.
Discover more ideas for your resilience toolkit from writers and coaches like Sarah Von Bargen to Eli Trier over at Becoming Who You Are here.
Listen to my interview with Hannah for the Urban Curiosity Podcast here.