Where do you need more confidence? 

Are you feeling tentative, holding back, or acting stuck in an important area of your life?  If you could believe you were able to break away from the pull of your doubt and uncertainty, what difference would that make for you?  What could it look like if you were able to design a new path to confidence?    

Have you heard about self-efficacy?

”Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Dr. Albert Bandura has described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel.  Agency -thinking is the person’s perceived ability to make progress and the fuel that powers goal pursuit.  Pathways-thinking is the person’s perceived capacity to produce routes to desired goals.”1

Individuals high in self-efficacy are less affected by stress. 

Individuals high in agency-thinking and pathways-thinking bounce back from adversity earlier and develop persistence easier.  They expend less effort and hit goals quicker. We know belief in our strengths strengthens our motivation and helps us perform at a high level.  Our favorable beliefs about ourselves can act as self-fulfilling prophecies.  However, our positive beliefs about ourselves need to be identified and reinforced. 

Working with a solutions-focused coach who can help you identify and build on your strengths. 

A professional coach can help you unpack how you view yourself and your situation.  By asking the right questions, a coach will help you identify the beliefs you hold, both about yourself and your ability to design ways to make progress. The coaching process can help you identify false and limiting beliefs you hold about yourself, so you can design ways to reframe those beliefs and build your self-efficacy.  A solutions-focused perspective pushes back negativity and can release you from the pull of your negative status quo.

Think again of a specific area in your life where you need more confidence. 

Take 15 minutes to talk yourself through the questions below.  Then ask a trusted peer to have a conversation with you about your responses and give you feedback.

  1. Talk about a time when you were successful at doing this type of thing in the past.
  2. How did you manage to be successful in the past?
  3. What does this tell you about yourself?
  4. What is already going well in your current situation? What small successes have you had so far?
  5. How have you managed to get this far?
  6. How can you do more of what is already going well?
  7. What personal qualities or strengths do you have that will help you be successful in this growth area?
  8. What is one small step you can take to get you closer to your goal?
  9. What will you do next?

Build your self-efficacy by designing action steps in any of these four areas:

  1. Performance experiences – Set yourself up for success by designing baby steps and mini goals.  Try something. Practice taking small risks and noticing the progress you are making.
  2. Vicarious experiences – Find others who are doing well in this area and learn from them. Take a course.  Join a group. Mentally rehearse what it will look like when you are more confident in specific situations.
  3. Awareness of our physiological states – Listen to your body and notice signs of nervousness which might dissuade you from following through with your self-efficacy building experiments. If anxiety comes, use deep breathing exercises, take the power pose, or engage in your favorite physical activity.
  4. Social persuasion – Surround yourself with positive people.  Stop the negative input from people who are not in  your corner. Get feedback from a peer who is believes in you, find a mentor, hire a coach.

Science shows we can grow our self-efficacy. 

You can train yourself to think differently about your opportunities. As you do the important work of increasing your self-efficacy, you will boost your capacity to design ways to achieve what you want.  As you experience success, your positive beliefs about yourself will be more established, and you will be increasingly energized to pursue what is important to you.  As you build on your strengths, you begin to believe in your capacity, and you are more internally motivated to try.  You are adept at pathway design; you have the energy you need to overcome barriers.   You are confident, and you are capable.

For more help in boosting your self-efficacy, contact Executive Coach Wendy McWherter at www.mcwhertercoaching.com.

1Lewisa Jewell, MAPP, http://www.louisajewell.com, “Self-Efficacy & The Solutions-Focused Approach Course”, UT Dallas