Building confidence is a never-ending pursuit. In SPARK, my co-authors and I highlighted four key strategies to building unshakeable confidence, which included this concept of “developing positive self-appraisals.” In other words, self-talk.
The words we tell ourselves have a significant influence over how we perform in the experience we’re about to enter. If we say, “I’m going to bomb this interview,” guess what? Well, you might not bomb it, but you’re probably not in the right frame of mind to nail it. Or, if you say, “I just don’t want to screw this up,” you’re playing it safe, not playing to win.
Used To Be
One thing I’ve heard a lot lately is this phrase “I used to be … (insert positive attribute).”
I used to be so fit!
I used to wake up early!
I used to be so brave!
Used to be? What does that mean? If you demonstrated those qualities and behaviors, they’re still a part of you – you didn’t used to be, you still are. Sure, there’ve been times in your life when you exercised more, felt more energetic, and were bolder in your decisions. The great news is that you can still do any of those things – they didn’t abandon you, so don’t abandon them.
When you say, “I used to be,” not only are you memorializing something that isn’t dead, you’re choosing words that limit you. If you start to put a box around your skills, talents, and abilities, you miss out on the opportunity to expand yourself into areas that fulfill you. After all, if they’ve fulfilled you in the past, they probably play a key part in fulfilling you today.
This might seem like semantics, but play this out.
Rather than say “I used to be so adventurous,” how about “I love adventures … it’s been a while since I’ve been on one.”
Rather than say, “I used to laugh a lot more than I do now,” how about “I love to laugh – I need more laughter in my life.”
See the subtle difference? The latter acknowledges an important quality you possess and, perhaps, helps reignite a spark to find that piece of you that once made you feel so fulfilled.
Building confidence is done in moments. The words we tell ourselves matter. Small shifts in language have the potential to lead to large shifts in how we experience our life.
Want to take this idea deeper? Hear from Bet on You podcast guest Lisa Maxbauer Price who describes the concept of “Messy Momentum” in this short reel.
I’m with you – Angie