On the podcast today I’m talking confidence knocks, because no matter how confident we are – life’s twists and turns can still shake us. Here I share some of my own setbacks and the steps that can help you move forward.
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Today I want to talk to you about coming back from confidence knocks, sharing some of my own experiences and some ideas to help you come back from them.
Hello you, how are you doing? I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks, I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of Blue Jay work after my break which is really nice. In today’s episode I wanted to talk about confidence knocks and how we can cope with setbacks. Because no matter how confident we are, no matter how much work we’ve done on this, there are things in life that can still shake us.
Thinking back to my own experiences, health wobbles have definitely affected my confidence, both mental and physical. In 2017 I suddenly started experiencing intense anxiety symptoms including dizziness, chest pain and moments of dissociation, where it feels like you’re not in your body. This totally knocked me sideways, in all areas of my life. And of course, my confidence was hugely affected.
Everyday tasks like going to work and leaving the house suddenly became difficult. It was as if my comfort zone suddenly shrunk to a fraction of what it was. And more recently, the physical health challenges I’ve been experiencing have definitely knocked my confidence. When I was preparing to do a talk at a conference earlier this year, I was not only nervous about giving the talk but also about my pain and energy levels. There was a whole other layer of self-doubt coming up, not only ‘can I do this?’ mentally but ‘can I do this?’ physically.
These are a couple of bigger examples that come to mind, and I’m sure you can think back to times in your life when your confidence was knocked. Perhaps you received some negative feedback about something or something didn’t go to plan. These knocks can happen at any time and they usually happen when we’re least expecting it.
The key to coming back from these knocks is not to immediately rebound, pretend nothing happened and keep going. It’s about rolling with the punches and understanding what you need to pick yourself back up.
Here are a few things that helped me come back from my setbacks.
The first step for me was to really acknowledge what was happening and that my confidence had been knocked. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that, especially if you’ve worked hard to build your confidence. It can feel frightening, like you’ve taken a step backward. The fear can make you want to retreat and, honestly? I think a little retreating isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Taking some time to process what’s happening and how it’s making you feel can help you gain a little clarity. The trick is not to get sucked in by the fear and retreat indefinitely. At this stage I’ve always found journaling and talking things through with others to be really helpful to understand my own swirling thoughts. Once you’re a bit clearer on how you’re feeling, you can start to think about moving forward.
Something that I’ve found really helpful at this point is to reflect on times I’ve moved forward after setbacks in the past. Of course I have quite a big experience I can draw on, and that’s recovering from my eating disorder and building my confidence up from scratch. When I have knocks, I reflect on that, reminding myself that if I can come back from that, I can definitely come back from this. You may not have such a dramatic example, but any previous experience you can think of can help. How have you moved forward from setbacks in the past? What helped?
Coming back from setbacks isn’t always a quick and easy thing. You’ve been hurt and you may not want to jump back into things straight away. To help you gain a little momentum here, I would recommend taking small steps to gently re-expand your comfort zone. If you immediately try to go back to what you were doing, you may get overwhelmed and retreat even further. So ask yourself, what small step can I take today? Set yourself small and manageable challenges, offering yourself compassion along the way.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll also know I’m a big advocate of having a self-belief evidence bank. This is a place where you collate positive feedback so you can come back to it when you need a confidence boost – mine is a photo album on my phone full of screenshots of lovely messages. Yours may be an email folder or even a notebook. This can come in handy when you’re going through a setback, bolstering your rebound. Another tip I love which I believe I heard from Franky who is @loveaudrey83 on Instagram is to write yourself a letter when you’re feeling confident to your less confident self, giving yourself a pep talk. I love this because this is coming from you and it takes away some of that desire for external validation.
Another point I wanted to include here is how helpful honesty can be. During any confidence setback I’ve had, I’ve always shared how I was feeling with anyone who may be affected, including loved ones, friends and work colleagues. It’s easy to feel shame around a confidence knock, wanting to pretend it didn’t happen and that’s everything is fine, but I’ve never found that helpful. Being honest, telling people ‘Hey, I’m going through X so it may take me a while to get back to where I was and I appreciate your patience and support’ can go a long way. Remember, most people in your life are rooting for you.
This also opens the door for support, which can be so welcome. How can people in your life help? Can they be an accountability buddy, checking in with your confidence challenges? Can they take something off your plate, helping you to focus on what’s important? We all need a little help now and then and that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You may even decide to work with a professional on this.
Take your time, hold your heart, make space for self-care and you’ll find yourself back on your feet, I promise. Our impact bias means we often underestimate our resilience, so you truly are so much stronger than you think.
I hope that was helpful, and if you are working on building your confidence I have the replay of a workshop I ran on quiet confidence currently for sale on my website. In the workshop we go into some of these steps in more depth, helping you cultivate your brand of confidence, not what society tells us confidence should be. If that sounds interesting to you, head to bluejayofhappiness.com/shop and I’ll leave the link in the show-notes.
I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. If this episode resonated I’d love to hear from you, please do share your thoughts and connect with me over on Instagram or TikTok, I’m @katbluejay there. Thank you for listening and until next time, take care.
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