Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Express A More Confident You: Stengthen the Inner-You, Part 2


The task ahead of you is never stronger than the strength within you.
~Unknown~

In this second part of Express A More Confident You, I discuss how strengthening your inner-game influences your ability to approach your experiences with a greater degree of self-confidence. You can read part one, here.

What do I mean by strengthening your inner-game? In this guide, your inner-game refers to your thoughts, emotions and will. Strengthening your inner-game requires that you develop and nurture a resilient mindset. As you know, your mindset influences how you perceive and approach your experiences. It defines if an experience influences you to become better or bitter, whether you will bounce back from a setback or teeter along in life majoring in pity parties and the blame game. Like you, I've had low moments in my life in which my inner strength was weak which caused me to be susceptible to influences that had I been stronger on the inside I wouldn't have been so vulnerable to them. I can see clearly now how a resilient mindset is critical to my self-confidence and the personal power I demonstrate towards living my life aligned with my values, core beliefs and priorities.
Life does not always go as we hope or plan. A common dilemma faced by anyone striving to achieve positive change in their life is how to avoid having their efforts sidelined by self-defeating thoughts, emotional distress and counter-productive behaviors. A smart solution to this dilemma is for us to cultivate a resilient mindset. A resilient mindset nurtures personal traits such as, an active faith, an optimistic perspective and a passionate perseverance towards tasks relevant towards creating progress and the “better state” they desire in their personal and professional life. Individuals that are able to sustain a resilient lifestyle possess a high degree of self-efficacy.



 Wikipedia defines self-efficacy as the extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.  The online dictionary points out, "High and low self-efficacy determine whether or not someone will choose to take on a challenging task or write it off as impossible. Self-efficacy affects every area of human endeavor. By determining the beliefs a person holds regarding his or her power to affect situations, it strongly influences both the power a person actually has to face challenges competently and the choices a person is most likely to make." Confidence is generally described as having a belief in one's: self assurance or a belief in your ability to succeed. Reviewing the definitions of the words self-efficacy and self-confidence provide you with clear distinctions as to why they are so closely related and how they effect your performance and productivity towards your goals.
In the following confidence building tip segment, I share a 3-step process that can strengthen you from the inside-out and boost the level of confidence that you demonstrate and sustain as you pursue your dreams and goals.
Confidence Building Tip #2: Strengthen Your Inner-Self
Confident people recognize the importance of being a continuous learner, developing new approaches to challenges and opportunities while expanding their ability to influence positive change and produce stellar results in their life and business. They understand how critical it is to develop a stress hardy mindset to manage stress in a healthy and productive manner so they are able to focus their time, energy and attention on improving their personal effectiveness towards producing desired results.
In their book, The Power of Resilience, Robert Brooks, PH.D and Sam Goldstein, PH.D acknowledges the research of psychologist, Dr. Suzanne Kobosa on what encompasses a stress hardy personality. She identifies the three components of a stress hardy personality as:
  • Commitment
  • Challenge
  • Personal Control
Brooks and Goldstein writes, “We are more vulnerable to stress if we believe our lives are bereft of purpose or if we fail to follow a path in which we feel that we are being honest and true to ourselves.” So the question that we me must ask ourselves, over and over again is this, “Am I living a life that is in accord with my values, priorities or commitments?” Brooks and Goldstein shares insightful ways as to how we can put into practice the three components identified by Dr. Kobosa that makes up a hardy personality or mindset.
Commitment
According to the authors, Dr. Kobosa describes commitment as being involved with rather than alienated from, the many aspects of life. They write, “When commitment is present, we possess a sense of purpose that tells us why we are doing what we are doing. We are guided by a vision that provides passions and merry to our lives, lessening the impact of stress. In essence, we have a reason for waking up each morning and meeting life’s challenges.”
Consider three things that give your life meaning and purpose. Why are you energized to remain committed to them in the face of any challenge? How do they give your life meaning and satisfaction? By keeping in the forefront of our mind the beliefs, values and activities which fuel our sense of meaning and purpose, our level of commitment towards them reduces our stress and increases our inner-strength.
Challenge
We’ve all heard at some point, “It’s not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you that matters.” Brooks and Goldstein writes, “Not surprisingly, stress hardy individuals are those who perceive difficult situations as challenges from which to learn rather than opportunities to feel defeated.” The authors assert, “It is not always an easy task when faced with adversity to search for the opportunities that may lie ahead as hidden nuggets in this terrain. But not to undertake this search is to continue to experience pessimism and stress.”
Personal Control
Often we feel a heightened sense of stress during periods in our life when we feel less personal control. Prolonged stress increases our chance of experiencing mental and
emotional health problems. In Dr. Kobosa’s research on stress hardy personality, it was found that people are less stressed when they devote time and energy to managing that that which they have control or influence. In other words, when we look outside of ourselves for experiencing the better we desire in life, we add to our stress.
The first step to achieving a sense of personal control is identifying what is and what is not within your control or influence. When you are blinded by outdated assumptions that have never been challenged with a willingness to consider fresh insights, you life begins to be shackled to automatic response patterns that so often fuel emotions and behaviors that sabotage your progress. You know, as well as I, how difficult it is to change others. It can be downright exhausting and depressing. It is much more productive for you to concentrate on what you can do differently in any given situation so that you can meet challenges with a sense of purpose, passion and perseverance.
Once you accept that you cannot control the response of others, you can learn to accept the reality of your relationships and life and begin to make decisions for your life from an empowered perspective. Confident people do not sit passively by, hoping that factors beyond their control or influence will change. Instead, they recognize that their ability to affect positive change dwells with their willingness to take responsibility for initiating proactive behavior.
As you reflect on the three components of a stress hardy mindset: commitment, challenge and personal control, challenge yourself to consider how you can begin to practice these fundamentals and strengthen your inner-game. Remind yourself of your past victories and how you have made a difference in the lives of others. Too often, we undervalue what we can do. Minimize your stress by focusing on what you can control and influence. Adopting effective coping strategies that enable you to better manage stress will improve your well-being and build your confidence towards overcoming challenges that are sure to come as you pursue the achievement of dreams that reflect new possibilities in your personal and professional life.




If you are in Columbia, SC, join me for my upcoming FREE Live Event the Make It Happen! Masterclass. You can find out additional information and register here.
Thanks for being a part of the growing readership of the Grow Forward & Flourish community. Please share this article with your network.
Do you think strengthening your inner-game can increase your self-confidence? Share your thoughts below.
Until next time...Dare to Be Great!
Jackie Capers-Brown
Founder, Grow Forward & Flourish