TRUCKEE, CA - 07-07-2017 -- Do you look at other people and wonder where all the zest and zing for life comes from, even when the chips are down?
Do you feel others are making progress in life but somehow, you end up doing the same things over and over again?
Lacking in self-confidence can be masked well. Those smiley people may be suffering just as much from a lack of self-belief as you do.
And there are people who genuinely believe in themselves. Aim higher, bigger, better and reach their goal, whether that is a high-paying job or reaching a physical goal.
It is a question of time and pushing yourself. There is a saying – feel the fear and do it anyway – which is exactly what top psychologists say we should do. Challenge ourselves regularly with bite-sized doses of fear and taking the plunge.
A bit like a tandem skydive with Mike Swanson. The 2015 Remake of the film Point Break saw Swanson and others push themselves to the limits of their sports. No special effects were used – just Swanson, his wing suit and the vast open sky.
The ‘typical’ skydiving newbie is not who you think either. “All sorts of people come here to do tandem skydiving,” Julia Drew, co-owner of Skydive Truckee Tahoe, “including tourists, business owners, affluent celebrities, anyone looking for a challenge. You just never know who you will look up and see flying through the sky attached to one of our instructors during a tandem skydive “.
With Jennifer Drew Swanson as co-owner who happens to be married to extreme athlete Mike Swanson, you can understand the confidence tandem skydiving instructors need. But where does all this confidence and self-belief come from?
Stay away from negativity and seek out positivity
Take a long hard look at the people who surround you and the messages they give off. If you declared you were about to jump out of a plane, what would they say? Many people would say you had taken leave of your sense or question why you would want to do such a thing.
The point is, there doesn’t have to be a point. Not everything in life has to be about getting something in return.
“The thrill for many of our skydiving newbies is that they want to have-a-go, just experience the thrill and the rush of adrenalin, as well as experience views of our fantastic planet that only a handful of people will ever get to see and feel,” Jennifer says.
Be aware of your own body language and what it saying to people
Imagine declaring your intention to do something big or make a change – does your body language let you down?
When you make your declaration – I’m going skydiving! – did your body language back you up by standing tall, smiling, holding your head up and making eye contact. Did you speak slowly or did it all come tumbling out before you could change your mind?
All too often, when life weighs us down, it weighs us down physically too. The next time you meet a crowd of new people, for example, or face an equally daunting task, be aware of your body language what you do with your hands, if you smile or not and so on. These signs all send subtle signals to your friends, colleagues, family and strangers too.
Ditch those negative voices and messages inside your head
This isn’t about hearing voices but something psychologists and counselors call self-talk.
These are the messages you give yourself when you ‘fail’ at something. So, the dinner you made last night that didn’t taste so good or you dropped your coffee or you didn’t get the job – when something ‘bad’ happens or something doesn’t go your way, what do your inner feelings and voice tell you.
Do they confirm you have never been any good at cooking, or that you have always been clumsy, or that you didn’t deserve the job?
Or do you evaluate what needs to change? Maybe you just need to add more seasoning to the dish, or that dropping a coffee cup isn’t the end of the world or maybe you can see why you didn’t get that job, but you will have learnt valuables lessons for next time?
Prepare when facing something unusual or challenging
When we face something new, we can take a blind leap of faith and when it doesn’t go to plan, it compounds our negativity.
When you are facing a challenge, being prepared and understanding some of the feelings that you could face will help you get into a better frame of mind.
As you sit on the edge of the plane, waiting to take the leap with your instructor, the fear will rush past you as fast as the wind 10,000 feet off the ground. Houses are match boxes, people unrecognizable, just the vast blue sky and the breath-taking mountains beneath.
You will be fearful. You will be gripped, possibly paralyzed with fear. But take that leap and you will soon feel how fear can be as exhilarating as it is paralyzing.
Make a list of positive and wonderful things
Everyone’s self-belief at some point takes a knock. Self-confidence needs to be nurtured, sometimes more than others.
So, when things have not been going how you want them, you may need to search for the silver lining the clouds. It can be as simple as sitting down and making a list of things that are going well.
It also means looking for the good things that came out of the stuff that was not so good. Rather than accepting failure as absolute, look for the little glimmers of silver in those ‘failures’.
Maybe getting that job wasn’t so bad after all because your boss made you a better offer…
Skydiving is just one extreme challenge you can set yourself to reignite your self-confidence. There are other activities you can do too. Why not take the plunge and try something different?
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