6 Powerful Mindset Shifts To Build Confidence
Courage In The Midst Of Life’s Curveballs
When Flannery O’Connor was just 25 years old, she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, the same disease that took her father’s life when she was just a teenager.
She had just five years left to live, the doctors told her.
The diagnoses could have devastated and immobilized her as O’Connor was already a promising writer at that young age.
However, she moved back to her mother’s farm and spent time as much as she could writing each day even as the disease took hold.
Eventually, the most she could write was one hour a day.
But she used that hour well; instead of writing novels, O’Connor mastered the short story form.
By the time of her untimely death at the age of 39, O’Connor had lived 14 more years than doctors expected and completed two novels and 32 stories.
And now, literary experts consider her one of the greatest short story writers of the 20th century.
Life Is Full Of Uncertainty
The one thing that we can be certain about is that life is uncertain!
Each one of us will face challenges in our lives at some point. But we don’t know what or when problems will come our way — whether they’re big or small.
However, in spite of the uncertainty we face, we can be confident women.
And we can continue to live each day with greater intention, just as O’Connor did when we know our purpose or our why.
Challenges Can Be Big Or Small
Sometimes we face really big unexpected difficulties, like an illness, the death of a loved one, or a serious work injury. These challenges require a lot of adjustment.
Other times, the curveballs might be small unexpected things that pop up, like your kid’s project that’s due tomorrow, an extra basketball practice you need to drive your teen to, or surprise company that pops by when your house is a mess.
Whether the challenges are big or small, over time when these challenges pile up, we can sometimes feel like we’re suffocating under the weight of them. It’s okay to have a bad day, we just don’t want to get stuck there.
So how can become confident women when we feel overwhelmed by life’s small or big challenges?
Here are six mindset shifts you can practice to become more confident during uncertain times.
1. Expect Challenges And Problems
None of us is exempt from the difficulties of life. Even if you haven’t experienced major challenges yet, at some point, you will. Developing a mindset where you anticipate problems or setbacks will help you to be more proactive about having the right attitude to face them.
John Maxwell’s book Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn is all about how to develop a learning attitude in the face of problems.
He says, “We need to expect mistakes, failures, and losses in life since each of us will face many of them. But we need to take them as they come, not allow them to build up.”
And this brings us to the next point.
2. Face Difficulties Head On
Again, in his book Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, Maxwell talks about the need to deal with challenges or losses as soon as they come:
“When we experience a loss, we have a choice. If we immediately respond to it the right way, the loss becomes smaller to us. However, if we respond the wrong way, or we fail to respond at all, that loss becomes greater. And it often leads to other losses.”
Many of us like to avoid pain or even discomfort.
We need to shift our mindset away from avoidance to learning how to respond to challenges in a constructive way.
That way, even though challenges and losses will still hurt, we won’t be paralyzed or defeated by them. And the more we learn how to respond in positive ways, the more we’ll gain confidence in our ability to overcome difficulties.
3. Accept Your Humanness
We may not like the fact that some things are outside of our control, but it’s important for us to recognize that we’re only human and it’s okay for us to make mistakes.
Famous American psychologist and talk-show host Dr. Joyce Brothers said,
“You need to give yourself permission to be human.”
Once we accept our humanness, then we can begin to relax into who we are and learn to appreciate our strengths and weaknesses. And we can stop trying to control everything and everyone around us.
(Because here’s the secret: it’s not working anyway!)
4. Focus On What You Can Control
Learning to focus on what we can control — which is ourselves — will help us to gain confidence as we practice greater self-control over our words and actions.
Danny Silk describes confident people this way in his book Keep Your Love On:
“Powerful people take responsibility for their lives and choices. Powerful people choose who they want to be with, what they are going to pursue in life, and how they are going to go after it.”
This kind of focus will help us to become powerful women where we can have a greater impact in our spheres.
5. Cultivate A Hopeful Attitude
In a 2017 study, Dr. Melanie Greenberg writes that one trait emerged as the most critical for people to develop resilience to overcome difficulties in life: hope.
But hope is far more than just an optimistic attitude.
Dr. Greenberg describes it this way: “Hope involves having a flexible approach in which we see many different paths to a positive end result. If you have high hope and you encounter obstacles, you can just take a different path. You are therefore less likely to see the failure as terminal or the result of personal deficiency.”
So cultivating a hopeful attitude involves being flexible and seeing the opportunities in the challenges rather than just seeing one particular path that we want to pursue.
6. Keep Going
Amy Cohen lost her son in 2013 to a reckless driver. Before then, she wasn’t an advocate. Since then she’s founded Families for Safe Streets.
She says, “…after the worst imaginable horror happened, I felt driven to speak out, bring together others with similar experiences, and help build a movement demanding action against this preventable epidemic.
I had the life experience to recognize that we can and we must do better.”
When devastating losses or difficulties happen, we may feel like we want to quit living. And while I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child since I’ve never experienced that, I’ve faced many other difficulties where I’ve been tempted to give up.
Learning to persevere through losses, setbacks and failures help us to gain confidence in our own resilience to overcome challenges that come our way.
Becoming Confident Takes Practice
Like anything else, becoming a confident woman regardless of your circumstances takes practice. And as Joyce Meyer says,
“When you realize that God loves you and that He has a plan for your life, you can walk with your head held high—totally confident in who He created you to be.”
So where is the best place to start?
Choose ONE of these six mindset shifts to practice at a time for maybe one week. Then choose another one to focus on.
And if you’re ready for more, then check out our latest mastermind here. Joining a group of like-minded women will help you to grow faster and go further than you can on your own.
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