Each month our Development Consultant Sally Ward, recommends a resource to help you in your work. For April’s theme, Building Inner Confidence, Sally takes a look at 'Confidence for Dummies' by Kate Burton and Brinley Platts, a self-help book about building your confidence levels and becoming more effective in all areas of your life.
I’ve done a lot of reading about building confidence for our work on the 'Purple Confidence Toolkit' so I thought I was fairly well informed about this subject. I’ve also always been intrigued by the '…. For Dummies' series of books – even though I’m slightly irritated by being termed a dummy if I don’t know about something - so this was a good opportunity to buy a copy and review it for our April theme of Building Inner Confidence. And, while one of my stock in trade phrases is “Every day is a school day” this is absolutely true of this book. What a brilliant and informative read.
Sometimes self-help books can be dripping with well meaning hyperbole that I find quite difficult to swallow. But this was completely different. There is no need to start this book at the beginning and read through sequentially to the end. The book is designed to be opened on any page, at any chapter, and provide you with food for thought. Throughout the book there are boxes for Anecdotes, Tips, Remember, Try This and Key Concept that really crystallise the purpose behind the chapter.
Particular themes that leapt out at me were 'Your journey to your truly authentic self is a lifelong project', “At its heart, confidence is the ability to take appropriate and effective action in any situation, however challenging it appears to you or others” and “Confident people are okay with the feeling of not knowing all the answers. Confidence is just the feeling that it’ll be okay”. These and other themes really resonated with me and made me think about self-confidence from a different perspective. It is definitely more than just a feeling inside – it’s an absolutely necessary ingredient for success in life.
I’ve often found it difficult to get to grips with certain psychological theories – I understand the macro perspective of what they are demonstrating but I’ve not really got under the skin of it. And again, this book helped develop my understanding of, for example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how it is one of the corner stones of understanding what your motivation is and how that affects your confidence.
The book also talks about subjects such as breathing, assertiveness, mindfulness and using your passion to live powerfully and confidently. And you might now be thinking why should breathing be a subject connected with confidence? But how many of us, before we are about to make a public speech or presentation haven’t taken that all important very deep breath to steady ourselves. Physical confidence is as important as mental or spiritual confidence.
The final section in the book is designed specifically to be used as a source of quick fix confidence inspiration. It offers a set of questions - 10 Great Questions to Spur You into Action and Ten Daily Habits to Raise Your Confidence – to ask yourself when you need to get up and get going, plus some great reminders of what you can do on a daily basis to build your confidence.
We are so aware that your work, as network / resource group leaders brings you into contact with many people who are navigating difficult life experiences. Let’s face it, we all want to bring our brilliant selves to work – but that can be hard for anyone, let alone those of us who might have a disability or health condition. As a network or resource group chair, if I had a bit of budget (£7.83 on Amazon) I would buy a couple of copies and give them to my members, especially if I could see that they would benefit from reading the book.
Finally, there was a chapter called 'Approaching Romantic Relationships with Confidence'. I have to be honest and say I didn’t feel ready to read this chapter and gave it a wide berth. So now I know which area I need to focus on over the coming weeks. I’ve got my homework sorted out – which area are you going to focus on?
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