Confidence crushed?

Emma* was a client of mine during 2015. Her aim was to improve her confidence, both within and outside work.

It’s difficult for us to measure whether we’ve improved anything when we don’t know where we started from. We needed a clear understanding of Emma’s current level of confidence so I asked her to tell me on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is low, 10 is high) how confident she felt.

‘About a 3, I’d say.’

‘And are there particular situations in which you really notice this low confidence?’ I asked.

‘I worry before I make a decision, I worry after I’ve made a decision, I get myself in a right state before I have to present at a meeting.’

‘How does this low confidence make you feel physically?’

‘I feel small. I feel closed in and hunched up. I feel like hiding – I don’t want anyone to notice me. I feel crushed.’

‘On that same scale of 1 to 10, how confident would you like to feel in six months’ time?’

‘Everyone probably says ’10’, don’t they? That seems far too far away. I’d like to go for 8.’

‘And how do you think you will feel when you get to 8?’

‘Taller! Not needing to protect myself and hide away. I’ll stand up straight, look people in the eye. I’ll feel like my old self again.’

Now we knew what we were aiming for! I shared with Emma a quote from Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. She writes ‘You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side.’

‘I like that!’ she smiled. ‘It sounds like I’m fighting for my confidence – this is like a military campaign.’

So that was the image we worked with over the next few months. We identified key targets of low confidence Emma wanted to attack (decision-making, presentation skills etc) and devised campaigns full of tactics to defeat those ‘enemies’. We worked on power poses (which was a lot of fun!) to enable Emma to feel physically confident. We smashed her limiting beliefs and worked on strengthening her intuition.


At our final session together, I asked Emma what score she would give herself for confidence.

‘It’s a 9!’, she grinned, ‘better than I even hoped for.’

Today’s pebble for your thoughts: are you militantly on your own side?

What do you think?

*Client’s name has been changed.

Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like someone to be militantly on your side and help you work towards your goals, email me and let’s have a conversation about how we can work together.

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