Belief in our self and our society is in short supply at the moment. We are feeling hammered on all sides and this can make us feel less confident and resilient.
Yet belief is so important, and in fact is step one of the 9 steps of leadership I write about in Unlikely Leaders. Everything starts with belief. It fortifies us. It gives us hope.
If your belief in yourself is low, these mindset myths might be the reason. Let’s uncover some of them and see what reframe might be more empowering.
Mindset Myth 1.
I need proof from my own life that I can do this, before I even start
How many times have you wondered whether something new might be possible for you, and then you stop that train of thought and ignore the bubble of excitement or awe, because you look back through your history and think it’s not possible? We constantly judge our present ability through how we did in the past. If you want to be more visible at work, with this mindset you’ll not take opportunities to speak or express a counter view. You’ll think about your experience or the last time you tried that and it wasn’t a success, and give up.
I know it’s a popular wisdom that ‘past predicates future’ – but this is not the Truth. Don’t look to the past. Stand in your most powerful present and act from there. Build your new belief brick by brick through the actions you take. This then grows belief and creates a powerful future.
The new mindset might be:
Mindset Myth 2.
I need to dim my belief, because I don’t want to be seen as ‘up myself’ (urban dictionary meaning smug; arrogant; self-satisfied.)
Lack of self belief can be a form of false modesty.
No-one likes a blowhard or someone inflated with their own self importance. We’ve all had that work colleague who was so full of their own sense of misplaced brilliance, (which particularly galls when it’s unwarranted given what they had actually achieved.) In our desire to not be that person, we double down on modesty. This is especially true for women who have a culturally attuned default for second guessing ourselves and down playing what we can do.
Don’t confuse a healthy regard for your competency, capacity and worthiness, with ego or blowing your trumpet. Don’t dim your light!
The new mindset might be:
Mindset Myth 3
I should be able do this on my own
When we are lacking belief, it’s easy to look at other individuals who seem confident, living their ‘best life’, seemingly kicking goals and being amazing – and wonder what’s wrong with me that I can’t seem to?
What we completely overlook and underestimate is that no person achieves anything on their own. It’s normal and not weak (and indeed smart) to need people around you cheering you on! When you are at a low ebb, listening to a loving friend who tells you ‘you are amazing’ can help you build belief. Reading an inspiring book showing how someone achieved despite the odds can do this too.
We are not islands. Sometimes we just really need someone else to believe in us, and show us that what we dream can be possible.
Across Africa, when communities were introduced to the idea that they could end their own hunger, what helped build this belief was meeting with others who were doing this. Villagers from one area would go and visit people in another area who were in full swing of ending hunger. Those people share how they too thought it might not be possible. They tell the newbies starting out that ‘You can do this too. We believe in you.’ The visitors used this to build their own belief. Even though they too were poor and lacking formal education, and living through cycles of drought and hunger, through their own action things would change. Belief was ignited through the support and encouragement of others.
Expecting a person to build belief in a vacuum is a pervasive mindset that shackles us, and becomes self defeating. Find your tribe or small circle of people you trust and admire, and lean in to their optimism and faith in you. Doing so is a remarkable builder of belief.
New Mindset might be “I draw inspiration and encouragement from others who believe in me and what I can be capable of.”
As you know, I hold the space of knowing the potentiality you harbour within, no matter your own belief. I may not know you personally, but I KNOW the incredible transformations we humans are capable, even when lacking belief. I hope these 3 mindset myths help yo