When our culture thinks of self-doubt, our first thought is a slithering hiss of weakness. Weakness. Weakness. And if you are not naturally confident in yourself, you hear this and you embrace it, invite it in, and give it some cookies. You say to yourself, I doubt myself and therefore I am weak. I want to both challenge and encourage you to instead have compassion towards yourself and instead see it as something else entirely.
Let’s break down self-confidence. If you lack self-confidence, it is typically linked to one of or all three of the following:
- Lack of Experience
- Lack of Knowledge
- Lack of Self-value
Two of these take time to overcome but are pretty easy to lay out a clear path. Plan goals. Talk to those who are more experienced and more knowledgeable. Be humble. And let yourself fail to learn. These are going to create success in those areas.
The third is by far the hardest to work on because it involves so much of our past, our current self, and our fears. The term “Fake it until you make it” comes to mind which many use as the way to “create” self-value. Portray confidence and gradually you’ll gain confidence. That’s not necessarily true.
The first step to improving your self-worth or value is by having compassion towards yourself. Reminding yourself that you are worthy of love FROM YOURSELF first. This is incredibly important. This impacts your perception of yourself, your abilities, and of others. How you view yourself and how you treat yourself will bleed out to how you treat and view others. It’s inevitable.
Speak to those you trust to be honest but kind to you about your areas of growth. They aren’t weaknesses. They aren’t “issues”. They are areas of growth because they allow for growth. Those who say they don’t have any are lying. Every one has them. They become strengths when we allow them to be areas we can work on rather than areas we are resigned to.
How you view yourself and how you treat yourself will bleed out to how you treat and view others.
So how does this relate to leadership and business? Our society says, “To be a leader, you must ooze and exude confidence. No weakness or vulnerability. You must be feared to be respected”. We see so many examples of how this is simply not true. Especially today, people are more likely to leave a work environment that they do not feel valued in or feel the leadership isn’t genuine.
The courage and bravery it takes to be vulnerable. To learn from anyone and everyone. To be humble. To be compassionate. Those are going to be what others follow. It starts internally though. Learning compassion towards yourself and your own areas of growth will allow those areas to no longer become strangle-holds. Allow yourself that freedom and others will see the strength in you to lead.