Top 3 confidence killers (and how to avoid them)

Oh … that was your joke?

My opponent looked at me with a smug look on his face, knowing full well he had just won the battle. He grinned and turned back to the audience.

Quite frankly, if she had been the poster child for remain campaign, 100% of the people would have voted “leave”

The audience broke out in laughter and I stood there on stage, trying to keep up my cool appearance.

I wanted to die.

I had been going head-to-head against an award-winning comedian in a stand-up comedy roast battle in London Premier League. We had five jokes each, but my final joke I thought was going to be a killer had just fallen flat.

No one found it funny.

It was a strangely familiar feeling to stand there on stage, in the spotlight, being judged front of a mocking audience.

 It threw me straight back to that time in primary school when my mind went blank during a presentation and teacher’s harsh comment made me cry.

I heard about it for years.

As I lift my head up, looked at the audience and smiled, it felt like I was re-writing the history.

I might have lost a battle, but not the war.

I bowed graciously and shook my opponent’s hand.

Top 3 mistakes that killed my confidence for years (and how to avoid them)

Few years ago I would have never, ever imagined doing stand up. A month ago even a thought of a roast battle scared the heck out of me.

But I did it 🙂

Building up my confidence to this level wasn’t easy, but after years it seems like I’ve finally managed to crack the code!

As a part of my failure challenge, I want to share with you the top 3 personal mistakes that kept killing my confidence for years.

I hope they’ll help you to build up your confidence much faster than I did!

1. Letting the past impact my present

Five years ago I was absolutely terrified of public speaking. Presenting for five people in my team brought me into tears as it reminded me of the years of embarrassment and bullying I received after I cried front of the whole class.

It was hard to breathe.

Yet what happened in the past didn’t have any correlation with the present. My team mates were nice, supportive and professionals. We weren’t in the school anymore.

Don’t bring your past baggage to the present. Kids can be cruel, but adults tend to come from a positive place and have their own insecurities and worries. In fact, most of them have the uttermost respect for you even speaking up in a meeting or getting up on stage.

They remember how it was in school too!

If you mess up, simply smile and carry on as usual.

You’ll be fine 🙂

2. Taking myself too seriously

I used to be constantly nervous and analysing what other people said about me and how they acted. For me, whatever I was doing, saying or wearing was the centre of the world.

For others … it wasn’t.

See, other people are so fully concentrated on their OWN ideas, problems, and projects that they most probably don’t even notice that you messed up. That comment you took so personally probably was just a joke.

What you think is the end of the world, they’ll probably forget in days, if not hours.

Learn to laugh at yourself. If you fail or end up in an embarrassing situation, think how you could turn it into a funny story you’ll tell your friends.

Ever since I do stand up, I find myself laughing at myself more and thinking how I could add the failure or embarrassing moment into my set.

Suddenly people won’t laugh AT you. They laugh WITH you.

And that, my friend, feels damn good 🙂

3. Punishing myself for the smallest mistakes over and over again

I used to stay awake at night, going through all the things I screwed up that day, that month, that year.

I went through all the scenarios in detail, seeing myself looking stupid and awkward, nervously stuttering in a meeting and forgetting my lines. I always came up with a witty comment I “should have” said instead of listening complaints in silence.

What an idiot.

Would you ever keep reminding your loved one of all the mistakes they’ve done that day? Describing their weaknesses in detail, poking holes in their confidence until they cry? No?

So, why are you doing it to yourself? 🙂

It’s important to evaluate what we could have done better so we can improve, however punishing ourselves by going through our failures over and over again is hardly constructive.

It definitely doesn’t build up your confidence.

When you find yourself doing this, get up and write in the note pad of each scenario:

  • 3 mistakes you did (e.g. I forgot my lines)
  • 3 lessons you learned: what you should have done instead (e.g. practiced my pitch with a friend)
  • 3 things that were positive about it (e.g. my manager said she was happy I finally proposed an idea and asked me to do it again)

Believe me, it empties your head, you’ll feel more positive and you’ll sleep better.

You can boost your confidence if I could

Building up a confidence is not easy, especially if you’ve never felt good enough, you’ve been bullied or you’ve been surrounded with toxic people. This is why it’s so important to meet up with positive, encouraging people who listen to you and cheer you on even if you mess up 🙂

You can build up confidence step by step – just don’t be too harsh on yourself, forget the past experiences and find the funny side of things.

It’ll keep your confidence unshaken even if your joke just died a painful death front of a drunk, late night audience 😉

If I could do it, so can you!

I bet you’re awesome 🙂

Best of luck x


Ps. If you found this helpful in anyway, please do like this or share your thoughts in comments  Would really appreciate it!

[This is part of my challenge to share one personal failure per week to help you see you’re not alone: we all fail. I hope this will help you to get unstuck and succeed in life ]

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