Have a look and ponder on this following statement:
“I want to empower myself to lead my life in a way that projects my authenticity”
Now, as you think about this statement, what comes up for you?
Maybe some of you became aware of a feeling that emerged.
Maybe some of you had an image come up, possibly even a particular thought.
There is nothing wrong with this statement and similar ways of speaking appear everywhere in personal development. It has its uses if directed in the right way, mainly because of the abstractness of it.
Look at it again and notice it doesn’t actually say anything! The 3 power words in the statement ‘empower’, ‘lead’, ‘authenticity’ can mean multiple things to multiple people and as a result, if we stayed just here at this statement, we’d get absolutely nowhere.
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The Origins of ‘Stuck’
Yet, this is exactly where people can find themselves stuck. When someone comes to me stuck, whether attempting to build self-confidence, how to move forward with their business or with health, one of 3 things are happening:
- They are pursuing an outcome that is still abstract in their mind
- They are in reactionary mode and lost all sense of creativity
- Their feelings are currently hyper-sensitive
Abstractions For Actions
There are 2 ways something can appear abstract in your mind; words & metaphors. With regards to words, I’m sure you’ve noticed that some words have more of an emotional impact than others.
Words like ‘empower’, ‘authenticity’, ‘Lead’, even down to ‘love’. We can use these words but not actually stop and ask ourselves “what does authenticity actually mean to me” and “How will I know when I am BEING authentic”.
With regards to metaphors, when we have experiences that we don’t fully understand, our brain will determine what ‘it’ is like. This is why we have statements like “I’m banging my head against the wall”, “It has been an uphill struggle”. It is our brains way of attempting to process the understanding.
The problem is, by keeping it abstract we can lose any sense of movement and to go from lacking confidence to building confidence, to go from unhealthy to healthy, to go from broke to wealthy there has to be a shift, a movement both in mind and action in reality.
Reactionary Mode – The wrong kind of movement
In the weight loss game, an example of reactionary mode is where an individual sees they’ve gained a few pounds, resulting in them dusting off their trainers and going running for 4 miles.
Days later they’re still walking funny up the stairs and developed a crushing pain in their hip. In the business game, reactionary mode is when the latest social media craze appears (looks like the next one is periscope) and suddenly you MUST be on there along with the 15 others you MUST be on.
Whilst this does result in movement, its short term movement because it doesn’t necessarily work in the grand scheme of what you want. It is also evidence of the 3rd point, which is a hyper-sensitivity of feelings
Feelings On Overdrive
Emotions aren’t always at their peak. They are not a constant, they have a peak and a trough. As a result, that feeling you associate with motivation, that feeling you associate with a sense of achievement isn’t always going to be present.
Shock horror, there will be times you wake up and you can’t be arsed. That’s ok because you don’t need that pumped feeling to get work done. What is required, what you need to DO, is break down into small enough pieces the work, in order to not have to think about what needs doing.
And this leads me to the 1 mind shift required in building self-confidence. The shift is move from abstract to detail. “Building self-confidence” is abstract, “Building a business” is abstract, “Being a leader” is abstract. Think about:
“What does self-confidence look like?”
“What are you doing when you are experiencing self-confidence?”
“What is the very next act you are doing in the next 24 hours that builds upon your increasing self-confidence?”
All 3 of these questions shift your mind from thinking in abstracts to thinking in detail. They fill in the gaps and create movement in your thinking that has a basis in reality, i.e something that can be validated by someone else if needs be.
How about starting right now! Write down in the comments what does self-confidence look like to YOU?