Yep, we all have them. I know I do. One day I am the Queen Of The World, the next my confidence is at an all time low.
There are a variety of things that can cause this, a self-perpetuated one springs to mind: if I have had a couple of drinks the night before or even just one, I know there will be fallout the next day.
In me, any alcohol at all causes a feeling of anxiety and an inability to cope or make decisions the next day. I know enough about myself to accept that it will occur and the decision to have a drink is a conscious one. Clearly at the time I decide it is worth it.
Not all bouts are this easy to wait to out, and certainly not all are self-inflicted let me be extremely clear about that.
I have merely opted for a fairly simple one to help illustrate my point. That being, most of us have those moments of self-doubt and anxiety. It doesn’t automatically mean you have a form of depression, the key here is to recognise it and put in place some tools and actions to mitigate and manage it.
Here is a pretty simple system I use:
1) Recognise it. It’s the first step I take to gain some perspective. I even say to myself “ah that’s what’s happening”. Straight away I feel less pressure and self-judgement.
2) It will pass. I then remind myself that it will pass. I won’t feel like this tomorrow.
3) Phone a friend. I often call someone I know will just listen while I get it off my chest, provide a bit of homegrown wisdom or perspective and often just commiserate. After all most of us have been there.
4) Get physical. I get out of the office or house and move, walk the dog, walk around the block, go to the gym, get those endorphins going.
But what if it doesn’t lift? What if it lingers and you cannot seem to kick yourself out of it?
Well I am an advocate of getting some professional help, be in counselling or life coaching. I am for it. But not everyone can or would ring a counsellor and book a session; sometimes it takes time to build up that resolve.
Maybe you are thinking “I am somewhere in the middle of those feelings, not really in need of professional help but not sure how to help this feeling of confusion or slide in confidence to pass.”
You might feel at a crossroads, questioning everything, unable to make decisions and feeling confused about what you want.
I remember one of my clients, a fantastic guy, successful professional who was working with me towards a new role. His life had been turned upside down when is employer terminated his employment unexpectedly.
He had returned to Australia while is partner stayed in Europe waiting on the right visas. He had loved the ex-pat lifestyle and now had to rethink everything. He was at a crossroads about his relationship, his career and turning 50 was weighing on his mind.
We got to know each other quite well; we put in place plans and a ‘one decision at a time’ policy. He also had access to me to chat to whenever he wanted, not something I usually do, but this time I felt he needed a soft place to land when the self-doubt crept in.
I wanted to show this normally confident and vivacious person that change is exciting. Just because life is not what he expected right now each decision he makes might just lead to something even better. I wanted to help change his mindset around the unexpected.
So I said, “I need help on my horse property”.
At this time in my life I was newly separated and had taken the leap to relocate and start my dream, owning a horse property.
“I am on my own here at the moment”, I told him.
“I have 50 bales of hay arriving, fences that need fixing, weed spraying and horses to work, I could really do with some help”.
A look of surprise crossed his face. “I know nothing about horses or working on a property”, he said.
“Neither did I 6 months ago”, I replied. “Will you help me?”
To his credit, he did. He spent most of his weekend on my 7 acres and we worked really, really hard. We stacked the hay, chain gang style, competed to finish the fencing, he won, laughed a lot and he found a connection with the horses he had not anticipated. All of this in only 2 days.
What was the point of all that, you might ask? Well, I had hoped it would initiate that change in his mindset, that he would see that he could just muck in, face his fear of horses, function well in a foreign environment and shock horror, even enjoy it.
I am thrilled to tell you that it worked, or at the very least helped. He has gone on to thrive in his career and personal life, even though today it is not exactly as he had expected.
I am most proud that he asked for help and took the guidance and support offered. That takes courage, self-knowledge and resilience.
If you are at a crossroad and are thinking it is time to rewrite your story, start by deciding on who you are and what you have to offer. I write about this in my new book “The Albino Chameleon”.
Get in touch, I always enjoy your perspective and comments.
Founder of Pinstripe Solutions and author of The Albino Chameleon.