At SEEK Learning, we chat to thousands of Australians each year who are looking to make a change in their career through education. And often, we hear comments like “I’ve never been a good student – I’m not sure I can study again” or “I love the idea of a new career but I’m not good enough / smart enough / tech-savvy enough”.
If these types of thoughts sound familiar, you’re definitely not alone - but that doesn’t mean you should let them guide your life decisions. In fact, with some effort and positive additions to your daily routine, you can develop a healthy mindset and boost your confidence to help you achieve your goals. Here’s how…
Remind yourself of your strengths
When you’re used to bringing yourself down with negative thoughts, it can be difficult to turn ‘Why am I not good enough at…?’ criticism, into more positive and constructive ‘I am good at…’ statements.
The truth is, whilst it’s easy to compare yourself to others who are smarter, better looking or more capable than you, there will always be things that you can do really well (and often better) than others – just ask your family, friends, or colleagues!
From there, Career Strategist Megan Dalla-Camina suggests it can be useful to “sit down and go through your list of achievements and skills - often we forget about the things we have achieved, and the things we’re good at”.
Most importantly, don’t forget to savour your achievements – after all, you’ve earned it!
Be aware of the stories you tell yourself (they’re just stories)
It’s human nature to have thoughts racing through our minds during our waking hours. And whilst many of these thoughts are necessary and productive (for example goal setting, time management, or meal planning) - many recurring thoughts can be damaging and detrimental, not to mention largely untrue.
Psychologist, author and meditation teacher Tara Brach suggests challenging negative ‘stories’ by asking yourself: What am I believing? Is it really true? How does this belief impact how I live? What would be a more healing way of thinking?
By being more aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can often find more compassion for ourselves.
Take one bite of the elephant at a time – and celebrate small wins along the way
A journey is made up of many single steps, so try to avoid considering only the end result, as this can scare you off from taking the first step.
As Dalla-Camina says, “think of one small thing you can do today. We can’t change the world in a day but we can do one more thing in a day that moves us forward to where we want to be and over time, that builds our confidence and helps us create the careers and lives we love.”
As a student, setting yourself weekly achievable goals is great way to put this into practice.
Asking for help is ok – and normal
Even if you’re not currently studying, we all need support from time to time, so give yourself permission to not have to be the expert all the time.
For students, don’t forget support is always available - precisely because it’s expected and normal that students will require support as part of the learning process, as you become familiar with new ways of thinking and subject material.
So as one final experiment, try asking for help – you may just be surprised at how the world doesn’t fall down around you when you do!