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Build Your Self-Confidence for Success

By Jayne Jenkins (1476 words)
Posted in Professional Development on October 15, 2014

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“What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?”


If big goals come in to your mind and you could not fail at them, then chances are you’d be highly successful, rich and famous and likely very fulfilled!  However, in reality we hold back, and it is fear that holds us back the most. If we had no fear, then we’d be unstoppable.


When I left the corporate world to establish the Churchill Leadership Group, I had a clear vision. I did not have all the answers, but I did have clarity on what future I needed to make happen. An executive friend who I went to college with stated, “Jayne, you’re brave!” My husband, although fully supportive, would question when the income would start, fear being the root of his worry. My own Dad said, “Shame you didn’t start this when you were younger!” My goodness… I had only just turned 40! 


I had to face the self-doubt others threw at me, but much more powerful were the ones I laid on myself. My own fears and guilt were greater than I had experienced in a long time. I even considered Spanx CEO's advice of not telling anyone what I was doing with Churchill, however, I knew that wouldn’t work for my situation. I was too much under the microscope. So what did I do? Keep reading to find out more.


In addition to fear, the extensive research on self-confidence by Brian Tracy (author and business guru) tells us that there is a direct correlation between self-confidence and success. Whether you work in sales, a service industry or any other, the two strongly correlate. He attributes three factors that interfere with our self-confidence:

  1. Doubt and fear 

  2. Feelings of guilt and unworthiness

  3. Feelings of inferiority and undeserving 


The barriers attributed to these three often come from our unconscious mind, which is way more powerful than our conscious mind. People regularly work very hard, using their conscious mind to improve their outside appearance and how they are perceived, only to hit roadblocks because they are getting in their own way.  We are born with an open mind, and as we grow we experience situations that cause us to build fear, doubt and inferiority by reacting to others and tough situations. However, at the end of the day it is our own mind — not other people or outside forces — that hold us back.


In his research Tracy talks about how our emotional habits (feelings) cause us to respond in any situation. The good news is they are learned habits and our emotional responses, especially negative ones, can be changed and you can actually defuse them. Whatever you believe with feeling becomes your reality. If you strongly believe it, your mind actually responds by creating a “filter” through which you see the world. You are able to filter out those distractions that don’t fit your belief system and focus on those that do, thus propelling you forward in a positive direction with momentum.


The idea about our mind controlling our success is not new and there are numerous books (such as the time-tested “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill) and quotes from highly successful people (i.e., If you think you can you can, if you think you can’t you can’t” from Henry Ford) available for inspiration.


 So what worked for me? 

Clarity of mind 

Clarity of my “Why”


Clarity of Mind

Taking (and making) the time to think is something a mentor in my early career taught me (thank you, Marianne!). While this is not easy for me, I have developed routines that make thinking time a daily part of my job. Many successful leaders carve out specific time dedicated only to thinking – such as the CEO of one of Churchill’s clients – John Donahue of eBay.  Another example is that of author, hip-hop and fashion mogul Russell Simmons. He speaks about how he used to believe that stress, worry and insomnia were part of being successful. Yet the minute he started consciously letting things go he became more productive. Russell takes 20 minutes every morning and before bed to let his thoughts settle, and he believes those moments of stillness are where his greatest ideas come from – every creative thought and every innovative business idea. Like Russell, I believe if we can take the time to slow down and eliminate the outside noise, we will find that the answers are inside of us. Those answers help us overcome fear and doubt and build our self-confidence.


Clarity of My “Why”

After studying the work of fellow Brit Simon Sinek, I grew to love the simplicity and value the importance of having a very clear and strong “Why.” It was taking the time to create my “Why” and then using it regularly to keep me on track and motivated as I worked through my own fears and challenges as we grew Churchill. When I got scared, I reminded myself of “Why” I was on this new path and even though I didn’t have all the answers, I was willing to reach out for help.


One approach our expert coaches use is “perceptual coaching.” Through executive coaching sessions, we help clients peel back their thinking to the root of what is getting in their way – their “Limiting Perceptions” – and help them examine those perceptions for their benefits and drawbacks. We then help our clients reframe their thinking so that it works better for them.


A recent example was with my client John (I changed his name and specifics for confidentiality). John is a leader at a Fortune 100 organization and is responsible for leading high-profile, cutting-edge technology projects.


For those of you familiar with that type of world, it is fast-paced with a ton of moving parts, stakeholders and ambiguity. Through coaching sessions, John uncovered that his personal insight – “I need to be perfect” – was getting in his way. It was causing indecision, self-doubt and poor communication, which in turn lead to missed deadlines and budget overages. John’s subconscious thinking of needing to be perfect was sabotaging his own success, as well as his team's success. By recognizing this and having the willingness to want to make a change, we helped John reframe his perception in a way that accelerates his success.


Of course, to have high self-confidence we need a level of competence. The gap between the two cannot be too great; however, there can be a gap and we rarely need to have all of the answers.



{#/pub/images/JayneJenkins3.jpg}Written by Jayne Jenkins, CEO Churchill Leadership Group-Jayne is a Fortune 500 Leadership business veteran working for some of the largest companies in the world including Exxon, AstraZeneca and Sanofi.  For over 23 years, Jayne refined her team development and leadership capabilities and built finely-tuned sales teams, responsible for delivering annual sales over $600M.  Through her effective leadership and collaboration, Jayne and her team took market share of a $4Bn business unit from 32 to 41% in just four years. Jayne has also been successful in Marketing, Strategic Operations and Organization Development, so she understands many key business areas. Jayne founded Churchill Leadership Group, an Executive Consulting and Coaching Company.  Churchill’s mission is to increase organizational effectiveness by growing leadership skills and employee engagement through a focus on STRENGTHS for sustainable results. This enables corporate teams, across industries, to enjoy outstanding results.  Jayne worked with Marcus Buckingham, renowned author/STRENGTHS expert (Now Discover Your Strengths/First Break All the Rules/STAND OUT), and his team to become a “Master Strengths Coach and Workshop Facilitator.”


Do you have a question for Jayne?  Post it in our Senior Manager Community and she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


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