A Lesson in Self-Confidence from Winston Churchill

self-confidence

My wife and I went to the cinema recently to see the film “Darkest Hour”. The film tells the story of Winston Churchill during the early days of his time as Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War.

It’s a fantastic film and I really recommend you go to see it if you haven’t already done so.

One of the things that stood out for me was the incredible courage and self-confidence shown by Churchill at this point during the war, when Britain’s fate in the war looked very uncertain. The German armies were marching across Western Europe defeating all before them and an invasion of Britain seemed inevitable after the imminent loss of the vast majority of the British army in Northern France.

Churchill had formed his war Cabinet of senior politicians and advisors to help direct the British war effort but from the very start it seemed that rather than supporting him, they opposed Churchill’s plans to evacuate the British army from France and begin the fightback against Germany.
Even the two most senior members of his own party, Chamberlain and Halifax, opposed his plans to fight and tried to persuade him to negotiate a peace treaty. Churchill was adamant that a peace treaty would be futile and the only course of action was to fight.

Where on earth did he find the self-confidence to stand up against such overwhelming pressure and lead Britain to eventual victory in the war?

No doubt there are many factors that contribute to self-confidence but one of the most important ones is having the help and support of people around you. In Churchill’s case the rock that he was able to lean on when he needed that support was his wife Clementine. It was Clementine who encouraged him to take on the role of Prime Minister and she was there to support and encourage him when the pressure to back down and negotiate a peace treaty would have been almost irresistible.

In Churchill’s own words “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” He knew how important it was to surround himself with supportive people!
None of us are ever likely to face a situation as perilous as Churchill but we all face challenges in our daily lives.

How do you feel when problems crop up? Do you feel confident in your own ability to deal with them or do you always have that nagging voice in your head which says “I can’t do this”.
Don’t worry if you do – we all experience this feeling known as self-doubt from time to time. So what can we do to relieve these feelings of self-doubt and build confidence in ourselves?
One of the first things you need to do is follow the example of Churchill in his Darkest Hour. You see one of the major causes of self-doubt is people who either fail to support you or who actually fuel your negative feelings.

Don’t listen to people who bring you down. They are like a poison for your mind and a drain on your energy.

Be careful of your friends. If you have friends who are frequently negative about things then start to politely distance yourself from them. Don’t allow their negativity to rub off on you.
Churchill’s closest allies in his war cabinet should have been his political colleagues, Chamberlain and Halifax, but they were constantly negative about his plans and tried to talk him out of what he believed in.

Churchill’s response was to distance himself from them and instead listen to supportive people such as the King and his wife. People who believed in him and encouraged him.
Be aware of friends who think they are doing you a favour by talking you out of doing things. This will subconsciously reinforce any thoughts you have that say you can’t do things.

Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you or reassure you when times get tough. Friends and family can be good sources of support but I know of people who find a supportive stranger such as a therapist or coach to be effective too.

Identify those people who support you, and nurture your relationships with them. They will be important for giving you strength and confidence when feeling down.
There are many ways to help improve your self-confidence but the first thing you should do is follow the example of Churchill by surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people and distancing yourself from those who are negative.

This will help you develop the confidence you need when faced with your own darkest hours.

 

 

Stop talking yourself out of achieving success!

girl-1312899_640Everyone has conscious or subconscious ideas that can become limiting beliefs that stop us from achieving our goals if we let them. Sometimes these beliefs are instilled in us in childhood and sometimes we create them ourselves. An example of a limiting belief that can get in your way of success is how you see yourself with money.

If you believe you will always struggle and always be poor, chances are you’ll set yourself up for failure. Your limiting belief that you’re poor and that you always will be poor becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The same can be said about anything negative in your life that limits you – whether it’s career, education, or personal such as being healthy and of normal weight. If you see yourself a certain way, it can be hard to change that view and let go of that limiting belief.

There are eight telling phrases that point to a limiting belief:

1. “It’s hopeless” – Anytime you use the word “never” is a clue that you’re focusing on a limiting belief. For example: “I’ll never have any money because you need money to make money.”

2. “I’m helpless” – When most people feel uneducated or helpless, they blame their circumstances instead of working to change them. “I can’t manage my money because I don’t know how” sounds insightful, but the part that’s missing is the feeling of helplessness when all you need to do is take a personal finance course or buy, read and practice the lessons in “Personal Finances for Dummies”.

3. “It’s useless” – The idea that nothing you do will make a difference is that you believe that any action you take won’t make a difference. “It doesn’t matter if I work out an hour a day, I won’t lose weight anyway.” How do you know? Have you tried to do anything for longer than a couple weeks?

4. “It’s the universe” – Sometimes a limiting belief has to do with the idea that outside forces that you can’t control are at work keeping you down. You can’t find a job or get clients because the economy sucks, where you live is depressed, you don’t have the right clothing and so forth, but you do nothing in your power to change it because it’s destiny. “Everything happens for a reason” type of thinking can be very limiting and make you feel powerless.

5. “I’m worthless” – The idea that you’re not smart enough or good enough to do what you really want can be a very strong limiting belief system and seems to affect women more than men. You feel you’re not pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough to have something, so you don’t take the steps to achieve it, because you don’t feel that you deserve it.

6. “It’s genetic” – While there are certainly some instances where genetics play a huge role in a person’s life, the truth is that almost everything that is genetic can be fixed with the right mindset, training, exercise, and outlook. You’re not stuck with your genetics, but if you think you are, you may not try any of the things to pull yourself out of the rut you’re stuck in.

7. “I’ll fail” – The truth is the fear of failure is something most people have as a limiting belief. “I’m a bad public speaker so if I do it, I’ll be judged, and I’ll fail anyway so why try” is a common refrain. But, how can you set that belief in stone if you’ve not tried?

8. “I’m different” – The limiting belief about being different is that different is necessarily bad. You don’t want to be who you are because you’re different and you’ll be looked at as different by other people. You’re afraid to be who you are, and because of that you don’t even know who you are, and you’re too scared to find out due to fear of rejection and ending up alone.

If you ever hear any of these phrases go through your head, try to disconnect from them, and turn them around to “why not me” instead of “why me.” Always ask “why not me” because the truth is, you’re not feeling anything different from anyone else who has made goals and achieved them. The difference is in the doing, not the intelligence or talent.

Take Action and make positive difference in your life!