I’ve been coaching a team the past few months in the area of self-confidence. What’s most interesting about this group is they present themselves quite confidently, and yet, tend to struggle when standing up to difficult customers or when having hard conversations.
Let’s face it, none of us like dealing with difficult people or being confronted by those we are trying to serve or those we love; yet, it is a part of life. Confrontation exists. We all have different opinions and beliefs about what is right and wrong, what is true and false. That’s what makes our world so beautiful and also can make life difficult at times. What I’ve learned through experience and helped coach this team on is it takes practice to get comfortable having difficult conversations, to act confidently during a confrontation, and to stand in your truth. So, what are some ways you can practice getting comfortable with these uncomfortable situations?
First, affirm yourself.
To have the courage to stand by your convictions and confidently handle antagonistic situations, you need confidence in yourself. You must believe in who you are, what your strengths are, and what you know to be true for you. Affirm yourself by remembering what you do well, what your strengths are, and how you’ve successfully handled difficulties in the past. These are ways to ingrain that confidence within you. You can’t do this once and then assume you’ll confidently stand in your truth when confronted. You need to do it consistently (I suggest daily) so that you not only can stand in that truth of who you are when necessary, but you walk in it every moment of the day.
Next, find your voice.
Until you have the confidence to have a tough conversation or stand up for what you believe or know is your truth, you may shy away when difficult or uncomfortable situations arise. When you find yourself retreating and are aware it’s happening, challenge yourself to stand still and say something. Take a deep breath and remember some of the ways you’ve been affirming yourself. And then speak up. Say something. It may not be perfect the first time it comes out of your mouth, but the more you challenge yourself to speak up, the clearer and more confident your voice becomes.
Finally, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Standing in your truth and standing up for yourself means being honest about what you need to do to maintain your sense of self. Often this means walking away from situations where you are disrespected or where your perspective is not valued. Standing in your truth is not just about dealing with difficult customers or a difficult boss at work. It means honoring yourself in all areas of life.
Remember your affirmations and who you truly are. These will lead you to find your voice and to know which situations are no longer healthy for you. Just like that quote by Tene Edwards says, “You must find the courage to leave the table where respect is no longer being served.” Stand in your truth. You are worth it.