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Cheat Sheet

Confidence For Dummies

From Confidence For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Kate Burton, Brinley N. Platts

Confidence is an everyday experience, something you have quite often, except on those all-important occasions when it seems to leave you and you could really use more of it. This Cheat Sheet helps you to remember the essentials.

Core Indicators of Confidence

Use the ten core indicators of confidence in the following list to act as your checklist whenever you feel you need a confidence boost. Use them to pinpoint where you may be stuck, to help you move on.

  • Direction and values: You know what you want, where you want to go,and what’s really important to you.

  • Motivation: You are motivated by and enjoy what you do. In fact, you’re likely to get so engrossed in what you’re doing that nothing distracts you.

  • Emotional stability: You have a calm and focused approach to how you are yourself and how you are with other people as you tackle challenges. You notice difficult emotions such as anger and anxiety, but you work with them rather than letting them overcome you.

  • A positive mind-set: You have the ability to stay optimistic and see the bright side even when you encounter setbacks. You hold a positive regard for yourself as well as other people.

  • Self-awareness: You know what you are good at, how capable you feel, and how you look and sound to others. You also acknowledge that you are a human being, and you don’t expect to be perfect.

  • Flexibility in behaviour: You adapt your behaviour according to circumstances. You can see the bigger picture as well as paying attention to details.You take other people’s views on board in making decisions.

  • Eagerness to develop: You enjoy stretching yourself, treating each day as a learning experience, rather than acting as if you are already an expert with nothing new to find out. You take your discoveries to new experiences.

  • Health and energy:You’re in touch with your body, respect it, and have a sense that your energy is flowing freely. You manage stressful situations without becoming ill.

  • A willingness to take risks: You have the ability to act in the face of uncertainty – and put yourself on the line even when you don’t have the answers or all the skills to get things right.

  • A sense of purpose: You have an increasing sense of the coherence of the different parts of your life.You have chosen a theme or purpose for your life.

Becoming the Confident Hero in Your Own Life

Most people think of a ‘hero’ as someone born with extraordinary bravery and charisma. Yet, a real-life hero is just like you – someone who faces regular choices of right over wrong, going forwards with confidence or shrinking back in fear. To become the hero in your own life, follow these steps:

  1. Decide that you are going to take on personal change to enable you to achieve the things you want in life, and get into action.

  2. Decide where it is you are going, or what it is that you really want.

  3. Plan your work and work your plan.

  4. Don’t compete; create!

  5. Pay attention to your lessons before you apply them.

  6. View the world as a whole.

  7. Listen to your inner coach.

Appearing Confident

Ever heard the phrase ‘fake it ’til you make it’? When you appear confident, other people react differently to you. Begin by paying attention to people who behave in a confident way and try the attitude on for yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Go to a crowded place.

  2. Look around until you spot someone who appears confident to you.

  3. Analyse what it is that makes you thinkthat they’re confident.

  4. Consider how you can imitate or incorporate these qualities in your own behaviour.

Checking Your Integrity to Improve Your Confidence

The single most powerful step you can take to improve your confidence and power in the world is to restore your integrity. This checklist identifies ways that you can leak personal power and confidence and how you can build reserves.

Each time you do this, you increase your personal power and confidence Each time you do this, you reduce your personal power and confidence
Honour your word and keep your promises Fail to back up your words with actions
Be honest with yourself and honest with others Act or speak in a way that causes real harm to others
Accept people as they are and judge only their actions Act superior to others or browbeat someone weaker than yourself
Treat others with respect and candour Fail to act right because no one is watching
Let people know where you stand on important issues Don’t give of your best
Be genuine and transparent with people; don’t deceive through silence or inaction Don’t follow your own conscience
Be true to your values and purpose Don’t practise what you preach
Live up to your standards and always do the right thing Manipulate or mislead others (or yourself)
Admit and accept your own mistakes Tell white lies to look good, or to avoid looking bad
Say what you mean, and mean what you say Use bluff or bluster to get your own way
Walk your talk Pretend to be anything other than your authentic self

Breaking the Gridlock for Confident Action

You may find yourself stuck in the X then Y gridlock scenario in which your conversation is all around ‘I can’t do X until I’ve done Y’. Lack of time, money, and energy are common reasons but not the only reasons people get stuck. Breaking the pattern involves breaking a job into smaller steps, like this:

  1. Put asidethe idea that you don’t have enough time, money, or energy – assume that the lack of any or all these elements is not the real problem.

    Imagine that you are rich enough in time, money, or energy.

  2. State your goal or dream in a positive way and write it down.

    For example, ‘I want to move to a cottage by the sea’.

  3. Ask yourself Question 1: ‘Can I do it today?’

    If your answer is ‘yes’, then everything is in place. Hey presto, your dream is complete! However, if your answer is ‘no’ – and this is the most likely scenario – then proceed to Step 4.

  4. Ask yourself Question 2: ‘What needs to happen first?’

    Break out all the separate tasks you need to do to accomplish your goal.

    In the example of the house by the sea, the tasks can divide into three main activities: researching the location, finding a more flexible job, and getting the family’s agreement.

  5. Loop around the questions in Steps 3 and 4 for each task.

    Ask yourself Question 1 – ‘Can I do it today?’ – and if the answer is ‘no’, then go on to Question 2 – ‘What needs to happen first?’ – until you arrive at a list of activities that you can either do today or that you’ve negotiated with yourself to do on a set date that you write in your diary.

Casting Off Your Cloak of Invisibility at Work

More often than not, the reason nobody acknowledges the great job you’re doing at work is because your colleagues are too busy worrying about their own roles. Seize the opportunity to take powerful action to bring your excellent work to the attention of your boss and colleagues with the following formula.

  1. Ask your boss to define exactly what she wants from you in order for you to get a five-star annual appraisal.

  2. Ask the same question of other people who depend on you or who are affected by your performance.

  3. Pull it all together into job objectives that you can realistically achieve.

  4. Spell out what you feel you can reliably deliver to your boss, colleagues, and customers.

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