Since my Winter Wilderness week in Finland last month, I’ve described it to several people as my best holiday ever. I’ve been thinking about why that is. Was it the incredible scenery?
The new skills I learnt?
Sleeping in a quinzee?
Or the people we were with?
Whilst all those elements contributed to my enjoyment of the week, I think that one of the best things about the holiday was this: it made me more comfortable with the idea of taking a risk, of not being great at something the first time I tried it and that it was okay to laugh at myself when things went wrong.
In a nutshell, my week really boosted my confidence.
Whenever we do something new, we’ll often see incremental improvements each time we try it. After a while, those improvements tail off and we feel like we’ve reached a plateau. We can become irritated and disheartened by our lack of noticeable progress: this can lead to some serious self-criticism.
Before I tried it, I’d imagined that cross-country skiing only took place on a completely flat surface and I would have no need to go up or down any slopes. Our first session was on a frozen lake so that was okay – then we moved into the woods where things became more complicated! It was so helpful to have other people there to encourage me, scoop me up when I fell over, to help me work out what I needed to do differently and to laugh with me (I choose to believe that was what they were doing rather than laughing at me!).
I don’t always have a group of friendly people to cheer me on and for those times, I’m finding it useful to use the same principles to stop me verbally beating myself up when things don’t go right first time. The benefits of seeing the experience as an opportunity to learn rather than an utter failure are –
- It stops my mood sinking through the floor
– and that stops my performance sinking through the floor too
- It allows me to analyse each stage of the process to find the problem
– and my new-found confidence gives me the emotional resources to pick myself up and have another go.
Today’s pebble for you to contemplate:
What boosts your confidence and how can you do more of it?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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