Marta wasn’t a very confident woman.
That’s what she repeated to herself, anyway.
In saying this, she failed to remember that time she went to an improv class at university, performed in the school play or went to a networking event when she was job hunting.
Instead, she spent a lot of her time noticing all the moments she wanted to pluck up the courage to do something, but didn’t.
Comfort zones, right?
Every time she told herself: I’m just not a confident person, it impacted her decisions, her actions, and the scripts running on autopilot in her mind.
When she prepared presentations for the Board, she’d ask one of her team members to deliver them.
She’d tell herself, and the team member, that she was offering them a development opportunity.
It’s my responsibility to help you cultivate new skills and prepare yourself for your next role. Come to me when you need guidance. I trust you can deliver this.
Her intentions were honourable. She helped her team become better at their jobs. They respected her for it.
But during her quiet moments, Marta dug beneath the surface of her actions. Every time she did this, she realised that the biggest reason why she delegated presentation delivery to her team was because she lacked the confidence to do it herself.
I’m just not a confident person.
One Saturday Marta received a text from her friend Sara.
Marta! You told me last week you want to start dating again. There’s a speed dating event I’m going to tonight. Join me! No time like the present, chica!
Marta’s first thought was: Great! I spend time with Sara and I can meet single men.
But this thought was booted and replaced with: Wait. Talk to strangers? Tell them about myself? Ask them about their life? In a venue I don’t know? I’d rather go to a quiet bar with Sara and catch up, just the two of us.
So she replied to Sara’s text, convincing her the bar idea was far better for both of them.
I’m just not a confident person.
This belief that Marta had didn’t obviously rule her life, but it certainly kept her from letting go and having fun. Developing her own career. And who knows what else?
If we peek back into Marta’s childhood, we can see where this belief may have come from.
When Marta was around six, her mother noticed how Marta would sit in the back of class, not approach other children to play at her new school, and was a pretty shy child.
When the other mothers asked how Marta was doing, Marta’s mother would say: Marta’s very shy. But she’s doing ok.
When Marta told her mother she didn’t want to join the singing group at school, even though her teacher had asked her to, her mother said: You’re a shy girl. I understand that. You don’t have to join if you don’t want to, sweetheart.
As a teenager, Marta thought she’d give the school play a shot. She talked it over with her father, who warned:
It’ll take confidence to get on that stage, Marta. Are you sure you can do this?
And with every experience, Marta gave the I’m just not a confident person belief more fuel. More power. More control.
Her mother was unintentionally supporting this belief.
Without meaning to, her father influenced her behaviour by triggering this belief.
How many other people in her life would have this opportunity?
Fred in the office certainly took advantage of it.
He was on a mission to get promoted to the position he knew Marta wanted.
He wasn’t part of her team, but he’d ask to take over her meetings with the Board.
Marta, imagine those middle-aged men sat around the big oak table. Staring at you. In silence. Watching you sweat. Do you really want to put yourself through that?
With a few choice words, Fred persuaded Marta to hand the reins over to him. And she agreed, thinking Fred had her back.
(I can’t say for sure but I think he also had a creepy moustache and smoked cigars. Y’know – the stuff of snakes in the team)
What could Marta do differently to change this belief?
What would you do?
What beliefs do you have that you want to change?
Most of the negative scripts running through your head on autopilot have a belief attached to them.
To bring them to the fore and start dealing with them, you first must acknowledge what they are.
Think of a moment in your life where you’ve stopped yourself from doing something. Why did you stop? What belief underpinned that action?
To begin changing this belief, try this exercise by answering these questions:
- Describe the belief
- What evidence is there that this belief is true?
- What have you done in the past to reinforce this belief?
- What evidence do you have that this belief is not true?
- What new belief does this reflect? (this is a positive belief)
- What will you do more of to reinforce this belief
Marta gave it a shot and y’know what she learned?
- Clearly seeing all the times in her life she’s acted with confidence
- Discovering what she could do to enforce a new belief that she’s a confident person
- Starting to push her boundaries to grow her confidence further …
… she also discovered this:
That Fred does have that creepy moustache I mentioned earlier. And he uses some fancy facial-hair-oil-for-dudes to keep it looking sleek for the ladies.