Here is your lesson in Eroding Confidence 101.
First you must master the art of discounting. You must be very good at deflecting compliments and praise. So, when your boss comes to you and says “job well done”, make sure you give your team all the credit for whatever it was. Discount yourself. Accept no responsibility for whatever miracle you just created. Give all the credit to someone else or better a team of people, irrespective if they had anything to do with it.
Here’s what it sounds like in real life: My husband works in the restaurant industry and he single-handily brought a celebrity chef’s restaurant concept into Singapore. He hired an executive chef, an executive sous chef and several other management members to run the new restaurant. Before the restaurant opened, my husband had some of the team around for dinner at our home. The executive chef and sous chef were commenting on the amazing foot traffic at the site of the new restaurant and said it was the best they’d ever seen. Both were excited about opening the restaurant in this location. I said to my husband, “Well done. You obviously chose the best place for the restaurant.” He quickly replied, “I didn’t do anything.” That is discounting. My husband was the only one working on this project during the time when the restaurant location was decided and negotiated. He was the only one who had anything to do with the decision and yet he said to me and the others, “I didn’t do anything.”
Accept no responsibility for anything that goes right. That’s the first step.
The second step is to accept blame for everything that goes wrong. Protect your team! Don’t let the blame go any farther than you. It doesn’t matter who screwed up, right? It’s your responsibility isn’t it? Make sure you let your boss know that you should’ve been on top of it. You weren’t micromanaging enough. Accept your failure and make sure when it happens again, you remember what a failure you are.
With these two strategies in place, your mind will take over and that little voice inside your head will keep up the negative self talk all by itself. It will remind you of your worthlessness and your mistakes. It will remember all the times that stuff went wrong and fog over all of the times stuff went right. That voice will nag and berate you endlessly and you will have mastered the art of eroding your confidence. You might even pick up depression on the way.
Well done you (remember to discount this and give credit to the rest of the world for causing this)!
Oh, and if your interested in getting your confidence back, see my related post, “Thank you very much.”