If you’re doubting yourself, it’s time to replace affirmations with facts

Doubting yourself as a leader? Replace your affirmations with facts

I’ve been working with a leader recently who is going through the recruitment process. He has completed his application form and has been invited to an interview.

It’s the job he wants, where he can use his strengths, be challenged and achieve amazing results. However, there’s one problem. He doesn’t like interviews.

Although an outwardly confident and able leader, he describes himself as ‘not very confident’ in interviews. Attempts to visualise himself at the interview make him feel sick as he watches himself getting his words mixed up, stuttering, and eventually closing down.

But, as we discovered, he was making things up!

During our coaching session, the leader shared what was in his head. He told me he could hear himself say:

  • I’m not very good at interviews
  • The other candidates are better than me
  • I’m going to make a fool of myself
  • I’ve not done enough research

In response, my question (that’s not really a question) was “really?” He half smiled. Although this was said slightly jokily, I wanted to get him to question his thoughts, rather than just accepting them as true.

Suddenly, he could see how accepting these negative thoughts without challenge was having a direct effect on his feelings about the interview.

Don’t replace one story with another

We explored how we can fantasise and tell stories in our heads, and convince ourselves about things that aren’t factually correct.

I’m very aware of this. When I don’t receive a text message back from my son when he’s out, I have to stop myself jumping straight into fantasy mode and convincing myself something terrible has happened.

But I also know it doesn’t help to simply swap the negative thought for a positive one to try and convince yourself everything is OK. Replacing “I’m not very good at interviews” with “I’m great at interviews”, for example, is like swapping one made-up story for another! It’s far more helpful to challenge yourself to stop the negative thoughts running away, and then replace a negative story with something factual.

So we started to look at what the leader did know to be true. We explored why he’d been asked to interview, where he would add value, and what he knew about the organisation and why he was a good fit.

Where he did find himself storytelling, he asked himself, “really?” and dug further with, “what evidence do I have that this is true?”

When we had discovered all the facts, he noticed a feeling of calm and confidence as he stopped trying to convince himself of a story and instead challenged his negative thoughts with real facts.

Challenging your negative thoughts is a great way of breaking the negative cycle of lack of confidence, and reminding yourself of your strengths.

If you need some solid facts to challenge your negative thinking, I provide a full Strengthscope® assessment and feedback session to help you learn how to utilise your strengths to improve your confidence, motivation and success. If you’re lacking confidence and energy, find out more today.

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You can’t be a great leader, if you’re not a great you.

Andrea helps you focus on leading yourself first, so you can be a great leader. Start getting your regular dose of leadership tips and inspiration with the ‘Leadership Breather’ – encouraging you to give yourself a breather and take 5 minutes for you.

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