I’ve been a little wordy the last few days, so I’ll make today’s ‘confidence quickie’ a short one. The other day I talked about putting things into perspective, and this is an action step you can take to help you do exactly that.
Ask yourself: “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”
Find some quiet time where you can sit and really think about this. Imagine everything and anything that could go wrong. Write it all out in your journal if that helps. But really put your imagination to work here, and visualize it all in vivid detail.
Seems counter-intutitive doesn’t it? If we’re wanting to build ourselves up, why are we spending time thinking about what could go wrong?
Here’s why you want to do this…
When you lay it all out, you force yourself to face the worst possible outcome. One major reason why this simple little mental exercise works is that it makes you realize that the worst outcome isn't all that bad and something you can live with.
Just as important is that you discover that this “horrible” outcome isn't terribly likely. While you’re mulling things over, chances are that you remember all the things you have to gain from taking action. Even if everything doesn't go perfect, chances are that you’ll get something out of taking the risk to do something. This realization alone will give you a boost of confidence, or at least the energy and desire to do something.
So what’s this got to do with confidence and courage?
We tend to fear the unknown more than we fear the worst possible outcome
On a psychological level, there’s nothing we fear more than the unknown. This is why this strategy works so well. By thinking about and imagining the worst possible outcome we take away the element of the unknown.
When we can imagine what might happen, then things don’t look so bad anymore. We know what we’re facing. We know what it will take to overcome the obstacle or dig ourselves back out of the hole.
Once we know what we we’re dealing with it’s easy to come up with an action plan for getting through it. We do this all the time when something bad or unexpected happens. Why not use the same idea to build the courage and confidence to “try it anyway”?
So there you have it. One confidence quickie for today.
Whenever you try to talk yourself out of doing something because of fear of the unknown, or when you’re simply reluctant to do something, take some action or try something new, ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen”. Then make your peace with that worst case outcome and go do it anyway. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find how well this works.
If you find yourself still reluctant to take a big leap, then grab this cheat sheet and go back to taking baby steps toward your goals. You can ask yourself "what's the worst that can happen" for each small step and still make progress.