You are out of your comfort zone, you’re doing something you’ve never done before, you’re learning and you’re growing. You feel great until… Things don’t go as planned or you make a mistake. You start to feel awful and that voice in your head starts to tell you that you suck, you’re a failure, and that you aren’t good enough that you should just stop what you’re doing.

I know you’ve been there, and I know it sucks. I hate that feeling just as much as you do. The thing is though, the research says that if you want to build confidence, the only way to do this is by taking risks and failing (and learning from them of course). If you want to learn more about the science behind this read The Confidence code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. It sounds a bit counterintuitive, because you’d think that doing the same thing for a long time would make you really confident. That is true to some extent, in the short term you will get a boost of confidence being really good at one thing, but you will stay stagnant your confidence will not increase any more until you try something new.

In order to move forward on your goals, you will need to put yourself out there, leave your comfort zone, take risks and embrace failure. This is the best way for you to learn, grow and create opportunities for yourself. Embracing failure sounds scary, but the best way to embrace it is to have a strategy for a quick recovery. Today I want to introduce you to the concept of self-compassion.

Kristen Neff is the leading expert in the field and she defines it three ways.

  1. Self Kindness: We treat ourselves as we treat our friends. When a friend experiences adversity or failure you try to pick the other person up. However we don’t often do that for ourselves.
  2. Common Humanity It places our individual experiences in the framework of a shared human experience. It takes our imperfections and sufferings and puts them in context of simply being human.
  3. Mindfulness being mindful of our limiting beliefs, being mindful of comparison and judgements about ourselves and others.

Today I want to talk about self kindness. Treating yourself as you would treat a friend.

Last week I shared how my hyper achiever inner critic tried to steal the joy of running away from me. My inner dialogue was telling me that if I didn’t train for a full marathon I wasn’t a good runner (seriously – I would never say this out loud, I would never say this about anyone else, but for whatever reason I said it to myself over and over again). I originally signed up to run a full marathon in Miami and ended up switching to a half marathon instead. When I told my hardcore running friends about this decision I was expecting them to be disappointed in me. I was expecting them to judge me for not being able to stick to the training.

When I actually told my friends this their reaction: I’m so proud of you! I’m so glad you are making a decision for yourself! Way to go Andrea!! It’s going to be awesome!! You’ll have so much fun in Miami. I am so happy for you.

The point of this story is not really about running it’s about treating yourself like you would treat a friend. My friends were treating me a whole lot better than I was treating myself in this situation.  It’s about being aware of your thoughts and asking yourself: would I say this out loud to a friend in a similar situation? So next time you set a goal or try something new and it doesn’t go as planned remember to treat yourself as you would treat a friend.

If you want to learn more about managing your inner dialogue. You can download my free workbook, there is an entire exercise dedicated to this exact topic.

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