How to Get Confidence
My Six Step Process
A Confidence Success Story
Anthony (not the client’s real name) is a surgeon and was struggling with social anxiety. His partner, who he had relied on in social situations, had sadly passed away a year ago. He wanted to meet new people socially but was crippled by his lack of confidence. As a result, he avoided meeting new people at all costs in a social setting.
Now Anthony was an extremely good surgeon. I asked him to think back when he did his first operation. How did you feel when performing this difficult task? He admitted that whilst the procedure wasn’t the most challenging, he did feel very nervous as he didn’t want to make a mistake. He got through the operation by drawing on his training and had the right people around him as support. Over the years since, he has performed hundreds of operations successfully. I asked him does he feel nervous before surgery nowadays? He said that even though the operations he now performs are far more complex, he does get a little nervous but has great confidence in his abilities.
Performing most tasks with any complexity is difficult the first time. If the task is important to you, you will feel anxious and will most probably lack confidence in your ability. The secret is not to run away from our fears but instead to practise the task with increasing levels of difficulty. You will, as a by-product, become more confident at it.
For Anthony we worked on exposing him to different social situations where he could build his confidence meeting new people. The first time he attempted to meet a group of people he ended up going to the bar ordering a drink but couldn’t bring himself to join them so sat alone, finished his drink and left. He said he felt ‘a bit of a failure’ but I pointed out that the great news is he made the effort to go and actually made it into the bar. That’s an important step to build from. The next time he did pluck up the courage to introduce himself but gave himself an option to leave after 30 minutes if it didn’t go so well. Fortunately, he found it easier than expected and spent two hours there! From there we simply worked on adding to the experiences and adding a little bit more of a challenge each time.
The great news is Anthony no longer has problems going out and meeting new people. His confidence has grown since and he is now comfortable walking up to complete strangers and striking up a conversation.