by Lori Milner: author, entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Beyond the Dress
Forget what the glossy adverts are saying. Your number one essential is not whatever the media decides is this season’s must-have. Your number one essential is something deep within you. Your number one essential is your confidence.
Exuding a level of ease and confidence is more critical to your career success than you may think, because confidence has the power to create a self-fulfilling prophecy repeatedly. Success may not be an easy journey for any of us, but when you’re navigating your way to the next level, nothing in your toolkit is quite as potent as your self-confidence.
Confidence makes anything possible: professionally, intellectually, athletically or socially. In The Confidence Code, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman describe it as being life’s enabler. They say that, ‘success correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence, and that ultimately it is the characteristic that distinguishes those who imagine from those who do. It’s what drives us to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off every time we happen to fall. It allows us to try and try again until we triumph.’
Confidence incites us to action. From voicing our opinion around the boardroom table to applying for a higher position or salary increase, confidence is the force that catapults us.
So, what happens when our confidence seems to evade us or we are simply just having a really bad day?
You need to be able to press the override button when you experience a moment of failure and call to mind your triumphs. Creating a Positive Emotional Memory Database™ is an effective way to keep your wins ‘on file’ so you can pull them up when you are experiencing fear or self-doubt.
Exercise: Conquer your fears – build up a Positive Emotion al Memory Database™ (PEMD)
Give yourself a quiet half hour, and do yourself the honour of remembering all your past achievements. Look back at every triumph you have had, both personally and professionally. When last did you do that, if ever?
• As a start, think of three experiences you have had over the last 10 years that have been validating for you, three moments when you achieved something, when you were complimented, or overcame some difficulty. Unearth some of your most delightful, most exhilarating, most powerful memories. You’re creating an inventory of every time you ever felt a sense of achievement. Every time you felt amazing, accomplished, comfortable, confident, whole, complete and authentically you.
• Take yourself back to those defining moments. Immerse yourself in them. And remember how you felt.
• Now go fully HD. See those moments with absolute clarity. Make your mental image clearer, crisper, sharper. Make the colours brighter, more vivid. Enhance the sound. Add applause if you want to. And most importantly, recall your feelings. Make those emotions of triumph, joy, exhilaration, completion and happiness as tangible as you possibly can.
• Finally, ‘pin’ those memories into your mind with a click of your fingers, a clap of your hands or a long, deep breath. This is now your trigger to recall those memories at will, and to replay them whenever you need them.
Recalling positive past experiences and visualizing them before speaking up in a meeting, going for an interview or giving a presentation, is a powerful antidote to nerves and fear. We tend to focus on our insecurities, to downplay our successes. So often, we start believing in our own mediocrity and forgetting just how accomplished, skilled and talented we really are. With your PEMD (Positive Emotional Memory Database™), you enable yourself to shift your focus to what you do well, and by doing so you remind yourself of your competence.
Confidence is achieved through repeated success at any endeavour. The more you practice doing something, the better you will get at it, and your confidence will grow over time.
Here’s to owning your confidence,
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.
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