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As another year winds down, it’s a common time for people to take stock of the last 12 months and think about the goals they’d like to focus on next year.

However, it’s just as common to find ourselves looking back on the year gone by and wondering why we didn’t achieve those goals, try that new experience or learn that new skill.

Sadly, the reason behind these perceived failures usually isn’t a lack of motivation, resources or opportunity – the culprit is far more likely to be a lack of confidence. Trying something new can be scary, particularly if you’ve managed to convince yourself that a certain skill or accomplishment is beyond your natural abilities.

People are more likely to avoid trying new things or stepping out of their comfort zone if they have low self-esteem to begin with. Those who are confident in their own worth generally find it easier to make themselves vulnerable, by trying something new without knowing what the outcome will be; similarly, they’re less crushed if it doesn’t go well.

As well as holding you back from beneficial new experiences, a lack of self-esteem could, ironically, be preventing you from realising just talented and loved you really are. A study by Ohio State University found that social support networks can offer tremendous mental and physical health benefits – but only if you have high enough self-esteem to feel worthy of it.

People who have a poor sense of self-worth tend to reject the support of their social connections, because they don’t think they deserve it. This saps their confidence to find out whether they could excel at something new, therefore missing another opportunity to discover just how capable they really are.

So, when you’re surrounded by family, friends and admiring colleagues this Christmas, try to really listen to and believe in their praise. It could be the key to unlocking the self-confidence that opens up a whole new world of opportunity.

Originally featured on Linkedin – December 2019

Mark Fryer

11th December 2019