I just spent a weekend away with my girlfriend who’s struggling with what so many working women wrestle with. The confidence to make change to do work she loves! She wants to try a new vocation but hasn’t done anything about it. Do you have any ideas, I ask? Yes, she smiles, and looks dreamy. What’s holding you back, my friend? I don’t know whether to trust my ideas or not, she says….how will I know?
The problem is she’s second guessing her ideas. She knows she’s scared to dive straight into the deep unknown, but she’s losing ANY confidence to act!
In truth, her lack of confidence comes from two things.
- A lack of clarity about her values, priorities and deepest wishes for her life.
- She believes she needs to make big decisions right now.
I’m here to tell you my friend, the dive is indeed too scary. Just dip your toes in first, and feel the gentle current against your skin.
….dip your toes in first, and feel the gentle current against your skin
Because, really, she just needs to figure out her very first step. To do one thing. To just dip her toes in. This will help her feel if the current is taking her in the direction she wishes to travel, and to know that she can swim. For her, this might be getting some ideas out of her head and onto paper, starting to talk to people in the area she’s interested in, or doing some desktop research. Not so scary after all.
From a confidence point of view, the best thing about taking smaller steps is that by breaking down your larger more intangible goal, you can start to see these as very possible to do. Once you think it’s doable, you imagine succeeding. You get a sudden boost of motivation and an urge to act. You take the next step towards your goal.
Scientifically proven - small acts boost your confidence:
- They help you visualise what needs to happen and prime you to notice opportunities that move you towards your goal.
- Smaller, (more tangible) goals are much more likely to be achieved.
- The positive feelings of hope and optimism that come from succeeding enhance your problem-solving abilities, help you see more ways to achieve your goal, and give you the courage and motivation to keep going.
3 steps to dip your toes in
- Brainstorm OPTIONS. There are many pathways to your goal. What do you still need to know or find out? This is a time to expand your options (not narrow them). That way, if one path reaches a dead end, all hope is not lost, you have other routes to follow.
- Write it down. Define the small steps you can take to make progress on each pathway. Your steps need to be “doable”! Then test them out.
- Celebrate. Acknowledging your small wins along the way will boost your self-belief and fuel your motivation to keep going.
I know my friend will take these steps and enjoy the journey. And, she doesn’t have to do this alone! She can tell someone what she’s working on, so they can follow her up. She can have coffee with people who can answer her questions. She can go to a professional and hire a coach!
As her goal of a career change takes shape, piece by piece she’ll feel more excited and confident. We wish this for you too!