This blog post was written in conjunction with Marisa Angelillo, InterCHANGE Associate.
Raising confidence is at the heart of Mosaic mentoring programmes and quite rightly so. Have you ever wondered why some people with average intelligence achieve extraordinary results? Or wondered why some people who initially showed so much promise never live up to expectations. Confidence is very often the key difference.
According to the Oxford dictionary, ‘confidence is a feeling of being able to trust or rely on someone or something,’ so if we trust in our own abilities, qualities and judgement we’re much more likely to succeed. We want to be able to handle or be comfortable in any situation. We don’t want to be bullied by anyone. We want to be able to walk into a roomful of people and feel that at we are just as good as any of them – and really know that we are just as good as any of them. But how can we improve confidence for ourselves and for our mentees?
In his book, ‘Instant Confidence,’ Paul McKenna suggests a 5-minute daily confidence workout. He suggests the following 4 daily actions:
- Talk to yourself in a confident way
- Make big, bold positive pictures in your mind
- Use your body as if you were already confident
- Take at least one risk every single day
So let’s take his 4 steps in turn and see how we can make them work.
Firstly, talk to yourself in a confident way. We all have an inner critic that reminds us what we haven’t done, how disorganised we are, how ‘not enough’ we are. Encourage your mentees to replace this inner critic with a positive, confident voice. In ‘The Little Book of Confidence,’ [edited by Tiddy Rowan, Quadrille Publishing] there are many little tips and sayings that can help you to do this. For example: ‘Never undervalue yourself. Remember that you deserve to have the best life possible’. Repeating such mantras in a confident way every day can help you to improve your confidence.
Secondly, make big, bold positive pictures in your mind. Visualise yourself when you have been at your most confident, most successful. See what you are seeing, hear what you are hearing, feel what you are feeling. Turn up the colour and intensity of these images and return to them when you need an instant confidence boost.
Thirdly, use your body as if you were already confident. Recent research suggests that if you strike a strong pose – where you take up as much space as possible – your testosterone (dominance hormone) levels increase, whilst your cortisol (stress hormone) levels decrease. Adopting a bigger posture two minutes before doing a presentation, taking part in a debate or speaking in class will actually give you more confidence and help you perform better. ‘Let your body tell you you’re powerful and deserving and you become more present, enthusiastic and authentically yourself.’ (Amy Cuddy, TED Talks)
Lastly, take at least one risk every single day. It doesn’t have to be a big risk, but constantly challenging ourselves will help us to grow in confidence. You can encourage your mentees to take a small risk every day between sessions and get them to report back to you what they have done. If you do it too, you can share your experiences with them and that can be doubly powerful.
It can take some time building and maintaining confidence but this investment in some simple steps can reap rewards and make you, and your mentees, feel amazing and achieve more. And always remember, “Confidence is a skill that can be learnt, as long as we simply try”.
Mosaic is working in partnership with Karen Tidsall and her team from InterCHANGE People Development to deliver mentor training. Find out more at www.interchangepd.com, @interchangepd or call 020 7281 1700.