Cart before the horse

Confidence – Putting the Cart Before the Horse.

When first starting to work with a client, I will ask ‘what outcomes do you want from our work together’.

It’s a standard approach in counselling and coaching that enables me to know what my client wants to work toward. For my client defining what they need is a crucial step in realising those important changes.

The two requirements I am frequently informed of are; ‘I want to feel better’ or ‘I want to feel more confident’.

Wanting to feel confidence shows there is the desire to change the state of being so that the person can feel positive about themselves and what they do. Desiring the certainty that what they do will be successful and that they won’t experience negative or doubtful feelings/thoughts.

When defining this in more detail, they might continue; ‘ I want to feel confident so that I can then go and talk to people in a group situation’.

The difficulty with this approach is that feeling confident is built on results of prior outcomes. Waiting to feel confident before going up to and talking to strangers is like putting the cart before the horse.

Motivation, Intention and Determination

We need a few other attributes to help get us there; Motivation, Intention and Determination.

Firstly decide why you want to be able to talk to others be it strangers, work colleagues or people generally.

It might be because you feel awkward when talking to groups of people at work. State the benefits if this was otherwise; ‘If I went up to people and engaged with them, then I would experience easier work relationships’.

When you know the WHY and what the benefits are then this is basis for MOTIVATION.

Next is the intention, this is the WHAT. ‘I am going to talk to the two people over in the corner. I’m going to tell them I would like to get to know then better as we often work on similar things. My INTENTION is to get to know those two people.

The is followed by the WHEN. I am going to go over to speak to them when I see them at the coffee machine. I’m going to keep approaching people at work to build networks. This is the DETERMINATION.

Having identified my Why, What and When this reinforces my Motivation, Intention and Determination.

Learning by Doing

As children we learnt by copying and DOING first and then we FELT confident. We build up confidence over with practise and time.

Start with building up confidence in what it is you are going to do and why you are doing it.

Having followed through a few times with the action you will start to feel more comfortable and then the feeling of confidence will follow.

Remember we build confidence by first attempting and doing despite a degree of disquiet. It’s frequently the anticipation of failure or suffering that holds us back, though it is seldom the absolute reality.

Check out other counselling and coaching articles and wellbeing blogs  on my website.