Season 2 of Seedling is officially here! I wanted to kick this season off with a look at self-belief and confidence, and how we can build it. I share my own self-belief journey (including my years as a frustrated ‘musician’) and share some tools that can help you build self-belief.
I really only scratch the surface here, but I hope it gives you some food for thought if you’re looking to build your self-belief.
You can listen wherever you get your podcasts or listen here:
LINKS AND FURTHER READING:
- What does confidence look like in 2020?
- Changing the narrative – are we limiting ourselves?
- How to build a self-belief evidence bank
- Seedling ep 2. Understanding self-worth and its impact
- Do affirmations really work?
- Unusual ways to build confidence
So this week we’re gonna be talking about building self belief and confidence. I’m gonna share some of my own self belief journey and some of the tools and techniques that I’ve found really helpful over the years. So if this is an area that you know you’d really like to work on, make yourself comfortable and yeah, let’s get into it!
Hello everyone, and welcome to season 2 of Seedling! It’s so nice to be back again in front of the microphone. I hope you’re all doing well. And I wanted to start by saying a huge thank you to everyone who reached out to me, either during season 1 or afterwards, to let me know that they were listening. Honestly, it really means the world just to know that people are listening and that people are finding it helpful so far. So I’m going to hopefully continue that with season 2 and I wanted to kick off by talking about self belief because this is such a huge element of the work that I wanna be doing as a coach and the content that I want to be sharing to support people. Because my aim really, through all of this work, is to help people discover their self worth, because I feel that is the foundation upon which you can build self belief and confidence.
So for this episode, I thought I would start by telling you a bit more about my own journey with self belief and then share some tools that could help you build yours up as well.
So when I look back to my younger years when I was a kid, I think I did have quite a lot of self belief. I always thought I could do things, but then I would get frustrated if I wasn’t the best at it. So for example, I used to play the flute and there was this one piece of music that I just could not get right. I kept practicing and practicing, but I kept messing it up and eventually I started hitting my flute against my stand, my music stand, and dented my flute in the process. I was that mad about not being able to do it! And that was a sign to me that maybe flute wasn’t the right instrument for me and I eventually did quit.
Another example was when I was convinced I was gonna be a singer. I was really sure I was gonna be a singer, even though people around me were telling me how difficult it would be. I was like, nope, this is my destiny. Spoiler alert: I do not have a very good singing voice. But I had a lot of passion when I was a kid. Where I fell down was when I was asked to sing in front of an audience and I couldn’t do it. I was far too scared. And at that point I was like, you know what? I don’t want to be a singer anyway. And I just dropped it and let it go.
So yeah, that self belief started to get chipped away when I realised I wasn’t amazing at everything I turned my hand to. And in my teenage years I started to retreat further and further into my shell. At that point, I really didn’t want to stand out and be different. I think that’s quite common for teenagers. I really wanted to be distinctly average and blend into the background. So when that happened, my mental health started to take a turn and my self belief got completely knocked out of me.
And it was only when I recovered from having an eating disorder in my teen years and came out of that mindset that I really allowed myself to dream about the future again. By this point, I’d realised that I really wanted to be a writer. And old patterns did kind of resurface when I went to university. I wrote a short story and sent it to a literary agent and I got a rejection. So I sent it to an agent, got one rejection, and I remember thinking, ‘okay, that’s it, I’m not going to bother trying to write a book again.’
So while that has still happened and I haven’t tried writing a book again, a) I didn’t stop writing and b) I do want to try writing a book again one day.
So this desire to be a writer stuck with me even through that rejection. And it stayed with me through my many years spent working in retail and the many years writing for free, doing lots of interning, doing lots of online writing, anything that I could, even though I wasn’t getting paid for it. And because I kept doing it, and because that belief kind of stuck with me, I managed to find myself in the job that I am in today, where I can now write everyday for a living. I get paid to write and I get published in Happiful magazine every month, which is pretty cool.
But I do wanna say here that self belief isn’t just about what we wanna do career-wise – it’s really about going for what we want in all areas of our life and believing that we’re worthy of love, success, and happiness. It does take work. It does take edging yourself out of your comfort zone. And it does take a huge amount of kindness.
So with that all in mind, let’s take a look at some tools that can help build self belief.
Okay, so number one is identifying limiting beliefs. So figuring out where these ideas that you can’t do something comes from and trying to challenge them. And little hint here: often these beliefs come from experiences in our childhood. Because when we’re younger, that’s when a lot of our thoughts get hardwired into our brains and beliefs. So that’s where they tend to stem from, so if you can look back and see potentially where that’s come from, it can help you start to challenge them
And the thing is, we all see the world through our own filter. And if that filter believes something, so if it believes that we can’t do, let’s say, sing, then our brain is gonna start to look for evidence to support that fact. And this is something called confirmation bias. So instead of trying to stop thinking a certain way, because that’s quite hard for us to do, it’s hard for us to unpick that wiring, we really need to start thinking in a new way. So try and decide on an alternative narrative and keep repeating it to yourself. This is why affirmations are so powerful and why a lot of people turn to affirmations, because it’s telling yourself something positive that your brain can start to embed in itself and start to make new connections and new pathways.
So number two is to look for evidence that you can do the thing that you’re thinking you can’t. So, you have to be really intentional about this and that’s why I really recommend making a self belief evidence bank, which I have talked about in previous episodes. I’ll make sure I link it in the shownotes, and I have a blog post on this too. But this is basically about screenshotting and taking pictures and making notes of every time you do something that proves that you can do the thing that you’re doubting yourself over. So you can look back at it and remind yourself that you can do it. And if you don’t have the evidence yet, the next step is really important.
So step number three is to start edging outside of your comfort zone. Very slowly, and don’t put yourself in a position where you’re gonna be an anxious puddle on the floor. Just try and take it slowly and take really tiny steps to just nudge a little bit out of your comfort zone. Because when you do that, that’s when you give yourself the opportunity to build evidence that you can do something. So let’s say, for example, you are asked to do a public speaking event in a month. And you think that’s way too far out of my comfort zone, I can’t do that. That’s absolutely fine! But maybe you wanna think about what steps you can take to edge your comfort zone towards that, if that’s something you want to do. So it could be starting to speak to Stories more, starting to listen to yourself speak, record yourself speak, maybe start a podcast, and see how you can get used to your own voice and your own way of speaking. Start learning about public speaking, start videoing yourself doing a speech and noticing what you can improve on. Just start taking those slow, tiny steps to get towards what you want, but do it in a way that doesn’t feel too stressful but does push you a little bit.
And here’s the thing: if you do push yourself out of your comfort zone and it goes wrong, just ask yourself what you’ve learned and how you can try again differently. Try and reframe failure as an opportunity to learn and grow and build upon it.
Now the next step is the step that I think I add to almost all of these podcast episodes, but it really is so important! And that is to get support from other people. So this could be friends, it could be family, it could be professionals. The reason so many people turn to coaches is because doing this kind of work is hard and it really helps to have some accountability and support along the way.
And then, finally, the last step is to be kind to yourself and just remember that it really does take time. Growing self belief and confidence is like building a muscle. So you need to grow it with regular workouts, but you also need regular rest days. So don’t push yourself too hard too fast, otherwise you’ll strain a muscle? Don’t know if this analogy is going too far now, but you know what I mean! Just take care of yourself and work yourself out regularly and see how you go.
So there we go! I really hope this was helpful and, as always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. You can find me @katbluejay on Instagram, and I will be back next week with some tips for getting out of a funk and lifting your mood.
But yeah, it’s been really nice to be back on the podcast and to connect with you again here. I hope you have a really wonderful week.