Skill Level Intermediate
- I love the cartoon that shows a small orange kitten looking confidently into the mirror. What does the kitten see? His reflection shows a much larger, ferocious lion. Similarly, your own self-image can boost how you feel, leveling up your self-confidence. Or it can weigh you down like an anchor, affecting how far you can go. To get really clear, your self-image is the default overall picture or idea you have of yourself. It's built up of your own and others' assessments and experiences of you, good and bad. Now your own self-regard might seem like a private thing, but I have news for you. It becomes pretty obvious to other people pretty quickly what your self-image is like. If it's really positive, you might walk into a room carrying yourself in an assured and confident way. If it's negative, you might speak at a whisper and appear doubtful of your ideas. To see where your current self-image is, stop this video now and download the self-assessment. It'll only take you a few minutes to complete. Great. Now let's build on your self-assessment results by making three connection points. These points illustrate how self-image impacts confidence. For each point I'll give you positive and negative examples. And I think they'll help you get clarity on what a strong self-image can do for you. The first area that self-image affects are your basic beliefs, and whether those beliefs are more often positive and optimistic or negative and pessimistic. Think of the example of going on an exotic vacation. If your self-image conjures up a vulnerable, insecure person, you might believe that trip is dangerous and chancy. If your self-image is of a resourceful, adaptable grown-up, you might believe the trip is an exciting adventure. Realize how much your beliefs are driven by your self-image, then decide to make it an energizing, empowering picture, even if you need to make some revisions. Another critical area that self-image affects are your actions. Actions go beyond your inner thoughts and beliefs to your lived, everyday behavior. And your self-image forecasts how bold or safe you're willing to act. Imagine that you've always wanted to go skiing. But you have a limiting self-image of being a slow learner, or someone who's helplessly uncoordinated. You might sit out the chance to ski with friends because thanks to your self-image, you're predicting you'll be hopeless and uncoordinated. But if you see yourself as an open person who's eager to learn new things, your chances of getting out on the slopes go up. You decide on the rules of how you act. So make sure that the picture in your mind supports behavior you're proud of. One more area that's driven by self-image are your relationships. When we start, sustain, or revive relationships with others, we're often making choices and moves based on our self-image. When we have a healthy self-image, we see that reflected in healthy relationships. And the reverse can be true, too. If, for example, you think you don't have a lot to offer others, or you're boring, you might disqualify yourself from going to a party where you don't know many people. But on the other side, if you think you have plenty of positive traits and an interesting perspective, you're further emboldened to go to that party and make new connections. Your own perspective influences the quality of relationships in your life, in terms of what you need and deserve from others. What's a relationship in your life that's been limited by your self-image? What's a step you could take now to start, nurture, or revive it? Make no mistake, the way you see yourself is a huge driver in your overall confidence. It was American sociologist Robert Merton who coined the term self-fulfilling prophecy, the idea that a belief, correct or incorrect, could bring about an expected outcome. The fact is, correcting your own limiting self-image delivers big returns. It'll improve your thought patterns, your actions and performance, and your relationships. Now who doesn't want that?