10 Confidence Killers and How to Crush Them!

Woman Confused, 10 Confidence Killers, Donna K Woolam, The Life Inspired, I Don't Know How

When was the last time you REALLY felt powerful? What were you doing the last time you believed you could take on the world?

Confidence is that bold voice in our heart that says, "GO FOR IT! You can do it!​"

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Confidence, self belief, and self esteem are closely interwoven. When we have a true sense of our value to the world around us, we are more likely to pursue our goals and achieve them.

When we have low self esteem, we tend to stay away from situations that challenge or stretch us. We also tend to believe that our goals are too hard to reach, and then we simply don't have the confidence to go for it.​

Here you'll find list of 10 Confidence Killers, and tips to overcome them.

1. Rejection

Did you know it is scientific fact that a feeling of rejection hurts in the body just like someone punched you? And after all, isn't lack of confidence the fear of rejection in another suit?

So, how do you get over the feeling of rejection, when your body, mind and spirit are reeling from the blow.

Rejections happens when your ideas or your affections are turned down. It's not too hard to figure that out, I know. But, you'll see that there is a distinct difference between rejection and disapproval (#2 below.)

It may sound cliche' but the best thing you can do is not take it personally.

You knew I was going to say that, right. Listen, I get it. It's not easy. In fact sometimes it seems downright impossible to keep yourself out of the rejection of an idea or plan.

Consider this workplace scenario.

You've been given a project. You have given nights, weekends and every waking moment to get it just right. You give the proposal and BAM - you're shot down.

It is normal to feel rejected. You put your heart into every detail. You probably even shared it with a friend or two who thought it was the most incredible idea ever. THEN, the people that REALLY need to approve, shoot it down. 

It feels like it's about you because you did the work, or took the emotional risk.

In a work situation, we have to live with the fact that sometimes we just don't do things the way our supervisor or boss want us to do them. It might be a communication problem on their part, or ours. It can be we don't have all the information we need to make the best choices.

One way to overcome something like this, is to make sure you understand what the problem was. Maybe it was a font or color choice. Maybe you didn't understand exactly what the client wanted.

A future system could be to have a checklist appropriate for your situation. It doesn't have to be complicated. When you have the supervisor's feedback, help yourself by making sure that the next time you have all the information you need before you begin the project. 

What do you do when the rejection is a relationship?

When it comes to the emotional realm, a literal slap would almost be better than the brokenness your soul experiences when it is turned down. Emotional vulnerability is one of the strongest areas we typically lack confidence. Each time we face emotional rejection, we tend to shut ourselves off and away from other similar situations. Whether it is a parent, sibling, friend or lover, we believe that it is a lack in us that causes them to turn us away.

Lovely, this is simply not the case! As hard as it may be to believe, their rejection of you has to do with THEIR thoughts, feelings, past experiences, life filters and current life situation.

Allowing yourself to feel the sadness, but knowing that it isn't a lack in you, is a powerful step toward healing from the wound.

And, it is critical to be healed! Without healing, you will lock yourself away from other experience and relationship building opportunities.​ Repeat after me, "Rejection is not a statement about my worth and value. Rejection is a statement about their place in life at this time."

Rejection is not a statement about my worth and value. Rejection is a statement about their place in life at this time.

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2. Disapproval

Disapproval arises from opinion. It can be about you, or something you do. The very definition helps you to know - it isn't about YOU! It's about THEM!

Do any of these sound familiar? 

You worked hard to change a habit, or a characteristic. You fought, and struggled, and prayed, and cried through every moment of pain and discomfort until you reached victory on the other side. Then your friends or coworkers tell you that you aren't fun anymore. Or, your family says you think you are better than they are.​

Or, maybe you took a chance and got a great new hairstyle, or took a chance on a daring new wardrobe choice. You walk in the door and you expect a couple of different possible scenarios: 1, they love it and you're happy, ​2, they say nothing and you wonder if they are blind, or what, and then 3, the dreaded, "Why did you (do, buy, make) that? It looks ridiculous."

When the disapproval comes from a more intimate relationship, understand this: it is all about the way they are used to seeing you. When we step outside of our expected behavior patterns, it can throw the people we are closest to out of step. Subconsciously they begin to wonder what else is changing, what is going to happen now, and if you are still the same person they know and love.

Approach the disapproval from their point of view, and it will be easier to withstand this confidence killer.

But when it all comes down to it, you live in your skin and you have to be the person that resonates with your inner being. Unity yes. Conformity, not always.​

3. Compromising Values

We've all done it. And it stinks. You give in to someone else (for whatever reason) in a situation that goes 100% in the opposite direction of what you believe.

Then later, you're alone and mad at yourself because you let them have their way.

To beat this confidence killer, you need a 'no-fly' zone. That means, you need to have a clear commitment that on certain issues, you simply will not back down.

Now, that doesn't mean you have to go out and start fights. It's a matter of saying to the others, I don't agree with you, and I can't (work with you, cover for you, support you) in this area.

Everyone has a right to their point of view and belief - even you.

When you have a solid line of understanding about what is important to you, it gives you more power.

If you aren't sure what your core values are, download this gift assessment. It will help.​

4. Inconsistency

Inconsistency keeps your subconscious mind in a turmoil. In fact, even the Bible says in the book of James, that a "double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." 

One day yes, one day no, and before you know it, you don't know what you want to really do or be or have. Inconsistency is bred from a lot of different underlying emotions, but one thing for sure; when you are inconsistent you don't have any confidence in your ability to truly carry through with your commitments.

Doing what you need to do, when you need to do it, will help emotional confidence grow. When you and others know that you are dependable; that you will keep your commitments, not only will YOU have more confidence in you - others will, too.

A great way to track this pattern, and the reasons behind it, is to think about the last 3 or 4 events, meetings, practices you decided to avoid. What were the reasons you ​gave yourself for not going or doing the thing you said you'd do? More appropriately, what were the EXCUSES?

When you discover the pattern, then you have power to overcome the obstacles. The most critical piece of the puzzle will be what you SAY to yourself before you begin the non-action habit. Your mind-speak dialogue is probably the culprit. Make a practice of talking back to yourself. When your mind says, "You really don't have to (arrive on time, take the class THIS time, make the bed), ask "WHY NOT?".

The 5-Whys is a business tactic developed Sakichi Toyoda, a Japanese industrialist. Using the 5-whys method, you will drill down into the REAL reasons you hesitate. In the Six Sigma model, the practice uses countermeasures instead of solutions.

For instance, you got a speeding ticket on the way to work. The ultimate countermeasure? Set your alarm to get up earlier.

Download the pdf.

5. Hesitation

 “When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles give under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly nothing will go quite as you wish-it is then that you must not hesitate.” Dag Hammarskjold  (Swedish Statesman and United Nations official, 1905-1961) 

Listen, I've been there. I'm new in town. I don't know anyone. I need to network. Even just meet new friends. For me it's tough to​ walk into a room of people I don't know. Funny, isn't it? I love to speak to groups of people, and if I need to deal with difficult situations, I can. No problem. But something about the 'new group of people who might become friends' makes me delay the meeting.

All of the things we've covered so far: rejection, disapproval, compromise and inconsistency, bring us to the point of hesitation. Somewhere in the deep recesses of our heart and mind, perspective of a situation will keep us from making a step forward, just when we need to step. Hesitation, upon hesitation, upon hesitation and our confidence is lost. 

There are good reasons for hesitation. It is always a good thing to make sure that what we are about to do is the right thing, at the right time. 

Another tool is to give yourself a 24 hour window to make a decision. This window will help you break through the emotions of the moment​. When you have a good support team, there are times it is good to ask for their point of view, too.

If you find that you ALWAYS hesitate, there is usually an emotional culprit. We'll examine that confidence killer next.​

6. Fear

That cold, damp sweat of fear. Your heart pounding. Your mind racing. Your palms drenched. FEAR has made it's appearance. Emotionally, fear is the confidence assassin sent in from the mind to protect you.

The only trouble is that fear was created in the body to protect us from cheetahs and overlords. Most of us don't have to worry about such things these days.

Fear is a chemical response to protect the body from a harmful situation. When you are walking a dark street at night, it's good to have the heightened awareness that the rush of adrenaline brings. Your vision is sharper, your sense of smell is greater, your hearing is on high alert.

But when you are in a business meeting, or you are given the opportunity to speak at the local charity event - you probably don't need all of that fear-based intervention.

As we look back over a few of the tools we've discussed, it's great to take a minute to understand WHY we are afraid (5-Whys) and to consider what situations we've found ourselves in have led us to fear.

It may be that someone rejected your proposal in the past. Perhaps you are concerned that those closest to you will disapprove. If you've been inconsistent or practiced hesitation, you may feel like your feet are mired in concrete.​

Unless you are in true physical danger, your emotions are ruling you. And, the best way to stab fear in the heart is to take a giant step forward and do it anyway.

You've probably heard this quote, "True courage is being afraid and doing it anyway."​

The more often you stare fear down, the greater your confidence will become.

As the lyrics to Defying Gravity, of one of my all-time favorite songs from the musical Wicked says:

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by
The rules of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap...

It's time to try defying gravity
I think I'll try defying gravity
And you can't pull me down

7. Lack of Training/Education

Donna K Woolam, The Life Inspired, I Don't Know How

I Don't Know How to Do Any of This!

This Confidence Killer should be obvious. If you don't know HOW to do the job or project, it's tough to be confident.

Take every opportunity to get traditional training, but if you don't have the resources to do so, take advantage of one of the greatest free tools in the history of mankind: the internet.

Truly, you can find information on almost anything you need to know. Youtube videos have taught me how to repair copper water lines in the wall of my house, and how to crochet. You can take advantage of MIT's free online non-credit education or listen to Wharton's School of Business radio.

The more you increase your skill set, the greater your confidence will be.​

8. The Past

Our past failures or setbacks shred our confidence for future success. 

Recently, we went through a pretty rough time in life. In fact, we still deal with the consequences of the journey. ​ The result? A lack of confidence in how the future will turn out. 

Interestingly, the past has also been the perfect tool for me to use to create a new foundation of confidence. ​You can use your past wins/successes to help you take heart and move forward. If you've done it once, you can do it again.

A journal is a great to put in your Confidence arsenal. Whether it's a pocket spiral notebook, or an Italian Leather keepsake, tracking your ups and downs will help you identify patterns of behavior. It will also give you an opportunity to learn which practices serve you, and which slow you down.

Use your past to guide you into a more confident, powerful future.​

9. An Un-supportive Team

You've heard of them. You probably even have one or two around you. What do I call them? Dream Stealers. And they are a wicked, wicked, wicked group of people. They probably have the very best of intentions - but THEIR fear of change makes them rain on your parade.

They are often the people you have to maneuver around in the Disapproval area.

They are the Eeyore's of your life.​ No matter what is going on, they are the thunderclouds of the event.

Eeyore, JD Hancock, Flickr, Donna Woolam, The Life Inspired
“Wish I could say yes, but I can’t.” - Eeyore

It is important to surround yourself with positive, hopeful people. Jim Rohn is famous for saying, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." The question before you is who are those people and what are THEY like.

If you don't like the answer, it is up to you to cultivate new relationships. This is the best way to make sure you have people who inspire you to do and try new things with Confidence.

You can't always simply leave the un-supportive people of your life in the dust. You may live with some of them. It takes a strong mental discipline to keep from being undone by their negativity and fear.​

10. Not Keeping Your Promises to Yourself

We all make promises to ourselves. 

Some of them are good ones. Some of them are not.

Depending on the promises you've made to yourself and how you've managed to keep them, you will either walk powerfully in your life, or shrink back from your future.

When we look back over our past, or our associations, we can say to ourselves, "I will never (do, act, be) that way." When we fail to keep those most intimate of promises, we can wonder if we will ever be a better person.

Some of our stumbling make us fall forward into strength; some to fall backward into  fear.​ How we recover makes the difference.

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A long time ago, someone said something to me that has pulled me up when I've felt like quitting.

"If you fall down while crossing the street, you don't lay there and wait for a car to run over you. You get up, dust off your knees and keep going."​

This is the place where progress is either made or forfeited.

We ALL fail. We ALL miss the mark. We ALL mess it up.​ Each of us has a dark spot somewhere that speaks to us to give up, stay hidden and forget about what might be.

Here is where everything else comes into play.​ Here is your chance to look back over everything else and decide why your promise to yourself isn't important enough to keep.

  • Have you been rejected before in a similar situation?
  • Whose approval do you hope to gain by not going forward?
  • Are you compromising your values by staying in the same place?
  • What value is there in hesitating? Real value or just a chance to delay making a decision?
  • What are you afraid of? Is it a real fear, or a manufactured one to keep you 'safe'?
  • Do you need more training or education? Is there a way you can get it?
  • What part do past experiences play in your decision?
  • Are you surrounded by people who don't support your desire for change? Is it time to get some new friends, work in a new job, move to a new location?
  • What promises have you made to yourself that you aren't keeping? Are they life-changing promises? Can you start by taking a tiny step today?

True confidence is built brick by brick. In some areas of life you will have amazing bravery that confounds everyone. In others, you are like the elephant with a mouse: ridiculously afraid.

By taking a few of these simple steps and making a few observations, you can become a confident and powerful person.

What steps will you take today? Share them in the comments, okay?

Hey! If you like this post, tell someone. Share it with your social networks. Be confident!

Live Inspired ~ Live At Your Best

Take the discovery even further. Get my free report on Whole Self Confidence today.

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