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Sunday, May 3, 2009

4 Powerful Ways to Regain Self-Confidence Despite Challenges

"The way to develop confidence is to do the thing you fear."
~William Jennings Bryan
I understand how easy it can be to get frustrated when we move forward on our dreams and goals. Because no matter how exciting everything seems at the beginning of new adventure... things take as long as they take, exacerbating obstacles arise, and aggravating challenges happen. Sometimes it seems as if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.
With all this going on, it's not uncommon to become impatient before achieving success, and wanting to give up just a moment too soon. Who hasn't felt self-doubt and stress when things just don't seem to be coming together?
Self-confidence can often be at a low-low place when we are in the midst of making important changes. The question becomes how you learn to trust yourself to continue moving forward even when things aren't going as effortlessly as anticipated? Below are four powerful ways to regain confidence when it looks like you've almost lost it altogether.
Breathe and Release Stress Levels
Stress = self-doubt. It's a myth that stress or worry is the best way to move through difficult situations. Stress happens when we believe that we do not have the time, experiences, or resources to deal with a challenge or situation. Feeling pressured and anxious about a perceived unsolvable or impossible situation, our bodies release adrenaline and gear up for a fight or flight response to handle the immediate danger. Stress equal self-doubt because it takes you into an internal perception that your only two alternatives are to fight the problem or run away from it.
Taking a few minutes of alone time to breathe and calm down helps bring new perspective that while the situation at hand may be undesirable, it is not a life or death situation. With relaxation comes a new ability to be at ease with yourself. And with ease comes the ability to tap into inner resources, grasp valuable insights, and find new innovative, creative solutions.
Be With Your Own Feelings
Taking time alone creates space to relax, clear out the world, and be with no one else's feelings but your own. By stepping away from all the outside noise and busyness, you allow new opportunity to clear confusion and sort out your emotions and feelings. Once your head is clear, you can simply take a deep breath, and ask, "What is it I need to know about this situation?" or,
"What will move me one step closer to what I most want?" Then be willing to trust that yourself and open to receiving the quiet guidance of your own creative spirit.
Open to New Possibilities
Your goal or pursuit may currently be wildly frustrating, but remember that your dream is important. Just because you've hit a few snags doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel. To bring back your enthusiasm and confidence, try this experiment. When something is troubling you, just sit with it. Don't do anything to logically fix or solve the problem. Instead, just sit, place your intention on allowing the best possible outcome, and breathe. Momentarily step away from the negative thoughts circling with frenzy within your head. Welcome your creative self to offer new insights and potential solutions to your situation. Your job is to stop fretting and stressing with the problem, and instead place your focus on being open to amazing new possibilities.
Insights and creative solutions may not be apparent in the exact moment. Instead, be receptive and open for creativity to show itself however it wants and whenever it's ready.
Slow Down and Soften Up
Confidence increases as we realize our ability to be inventive and full of resourcefulness. By tapping into our inner creativity, we can become aware of solutions we hadn't considered before.
When you have a challenge or an issue you want resolved, learn to slow down and let down your defenses. Relax, let go of your stress, and breathe. Slowing down and softening your body allows your creative insight to make new connections, see things from a new perspective, and notice things you hadn't noticed before.
Of course, we all want to know the exact route to reach our destination, and plan things perfectly so we move forward with no unexpected surprises. But odds are that every worthwhile journey leads down some major unexpected side roads. We may even get lost along the way.
Confidence is not about leaving point A and arriving at point Z in perfect, non-eventful fashion.
Instead, confidence is discovering that you can trust yourself. You do know the general direction you are heading toward. You do know when you're off course. And you can trust yourself to allow your imagination and positive actions to point yourself back in the right direction. Follow the four steps above and watch your confidence grow as you regain trust in your own ability to step forward - one step at a time - into your dream.