Cultivate a Confident Mindset
Episode #1 of the course How to improve your self-confidence by Patricia Haddock
Welcome to the course!
I’m Patricia Haddock, a successful entrepreneur and former executive for a major financial institution. I teach professional skills development in large organizations and work with individuals to help them improve their career and entrepreneurial success.
Over the next ten days, you will discover strategies, tactics, and tools to help you boost your self-confidence, showcase your expertise and skills without bragging, defend your ideas without becoming defensive, and much more.
Self-confident people have a can-do attitude that helps others see them as competent, capable professionals. They believe that they can meet and overcome obstacles and are willing to face challenges. Those with low self-confidence tend to avoid challenges. They are unsure of their abilities to succeed or have a set of beliefs that stop them from trying. On the extreme end of self-confidence is arrogance and an unrealistic belief in how much can be achieved. The right amount of self-confidence is necessary if you want to succeed in your chosen profession or business.
Self-confidence starts with the right mindset and that’s where we’ll start.
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck conducted a series of experiments on mindset and discovered two distinct types: fixed and growth. Each affects what you believe you can achieve and how much effort you are willing to put into a task.
Fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are limited and cannot be changed. Success goes to those who are born lucky or who have natural, innate talents. They believe that growth is not possible. The glass is half-empty.
Growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset believe that change and growth are always possible. Everyone can learn and master new skills by putting in the effort. Mistakes are teachers that show us how to be better next time. It doesn’t matter if the glass is half-full or half-empty; the glass is refillable.
Please understand that neither mindset is wrong. If you have a fixed mindset and are fine with that, you don’t have to change. However, if you want to boost your self-confidence, it’s to your advantage to shift over to a growth mindset, since it fosters confidence. If you already have a growth mindset, you may suffer setbacks that cause you to doubt yourself.
Now, let’s look at a strategy for shifting into a growth mindset. This might feel uncomfortable at first and that’s okay. Just take it slow and steady.
Choose something that interests you and that you would like to learn or improve. It could be anything from cooking to learning a language to refinishing a dresser.
Set a small, achievable goal around this interest. For example, if you’re interested in cooking, don’t set a goal of learning how to cook a five-course meal. Instead, aim for learning basic knife or seasoning skills. If you’re learning a language, don’t try to master Italian; start with learning a few phrases you can use at your favorite Italian restaurant. You want to set yourself up for an easy success.
Take one, small, action step toward the goal. It might be reading a book, taking a three-hour class, or just talking to someone who is considered an expert.
Let yourself make mistakes. Remember, people with a growth mindset view mistakes as learning opportunities. When you are trying new things, expect to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up or give up. Shift how you view it and ask, “What can I learn from this to improve next time?”
Give yourself credit for trying and for achieving a milestone.
To cultivate more of a growth mindset, start by answering these questions:
1. What is one skill that interests you and that you want to improve or learn?
2. Set one, small, achievable goal for this skill.
3. What is the first action step you can take toward this goal?
4. When will you take it? Put it on your calendar.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at what you’re good at—your skills and accomplishments—as a way of gaining more self-confidence.
See you tomorrow.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD
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