One the problems I have with the term confidence is that often other people seem to decide for us whether it's something we have or not.
I was talking recently to someone who had been told since childhood that she wasn't confident. Her parents had - however well-meaningly - labelled her. Her teachers had commented on her lack of confidence on school reports and discussions with her parents. Her friends knew her as the 'not so confident one' and got used to speaking for her. Her colleagues didn't expect confidence so treated her accordingly.
The label - which she had never chosen for herself - was stuck pretty well.
On the other hand, I have literally been pushed into a party full of strangers by a 'friend' who told me 'you're confident - you go in first'. I have been told by colleagues I have to be the one to speak up for everyone in the staff meeting because 'you're confident enough to do it'. I have been told 'you're confident - you wouldn't understand what I'm going through.'
The label given to me by others has stuck.
When other people are deciding if we are confident or not, we are living within their expectations of confidence. If someone thinks quiet, reflective people aren't showing confidence in the way they expect it to be shown, we're labelled as not confident. If we do something that feels natural to us, but is out of someone else's comfort zone, we are labelled as confident and then expected to do all sorts of other things we don't want to!
What if you want to speak up in a meeting but others don't give you the opportunity because you're 'not confident'?
What if you don't feel comfortable going into the party - but feel pressured to do it because you are 'confident'?
What if you would love to challenge yourself, but feel unable to break out of the constraints others are putting on you by labelling you as 'not confident'?
What if you feel you have to keep doing what other people expect of you just because you are 'confident'?
Wearing a label of confident/not confident is rarely helpful.
What would it mean to do if you could choose to change this?
Join me to explore this exact topic in my workshop 'Confidence Through Choice'. Click below to find out more.
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Emma Cann - find out more about me on the other pages of my website!