When looking back helps us move forward
In our continuing journey to build confidence it can be helpful to look at how far we have come. But wait, isn’t focusing on our past harmful? Didn’t someone once say:
Don’t look back – you’re not going that way.
Actually yes, graphic artist and illustrator Mary Engelbreit said this. And while I do like this quote, and find it inspiring, I find it can also overlook the value of reflection.
Reflection enables us to recognise our progress. This reinforces the trust in our abilities. It reminds us of how capable we are. It reiterates the potential we have, based on what we’ve achieved so far.
The difference between looking back as a positive experience versus a negative one, is our intention behind it. When we choose to reflect for the purposes of learning and growth, then it is always going to be a useful activity.
So, where has your confidence got you?
When reflecting, I find it helpful to have questions to guide me and prompt my thoughts.
You could reflect on the past year by asking questions such as:
- What am I most proud of?
- What new experiences did I embrace?
- Who are new connections I have made?
- What goals did I achieve?
- What did I learn?
The answers to these questions can give you insight into what is most important to you. They can help you identify where you used your confidence to make a difference in where you are now.
Once you have spent time thinking over these questions, make notes of what resonates most with you. When did your confidence matter most?
The purpose of the reflection exercise is to learn as much as you can about yourself. You can learn about what has worked, and what can be done better next time.
While it may be uncomfortable to do so, it could also be helpful to think about where your confidence has not got you. That is, when did your level of confidence hold you back?
Reflection questions include:
- What did you want to achieve, but didn’t?
- Who did you want to speak with or reach out to but felt too shy?
- Where did you play small, when you knew you had more to give?
This activity is not to feel bad, and get you down in the dumps. It is to recognise some failure points, then decide – was it worth it?
In those times where you held back to feel safe and remain in your comfort zone, was it worth giving up what could have been? If so, then use this disappointment to spur you on into your future brilliance.
Go back to your positive list of achievements and new skills, knowledge, experiences and people in your life. Look at how far you have come.
Action builds confidence. This list is a summary of actions you took, strides you made into your courage zone.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~ Dale Carnegie
Now that you have realised how far you have come, where are you going to go next? You know where your confidence has got you. The exciting bit comes next… Where will your confidence take you?
Set your goals and aspirations.
Then get out there and live your life confidently!