SkillsAct4Vet – Training

Module 1 - Before the mobility

Unit 2: SELF-CONFIDENCE

Short definition

Self-confidence is the individual’s trust in his/her abilities, capacities, and judgments, recognising his/her strengths and weaknesses, the belief that he/she can successfully face day to day challenges and demands.

It is proven the amount of confidence that you possess as an adult has its roots in your actions during your childhood. Growing up, we encounter many difficulties, and handling them helps us build our confidence.

The literature agrees in defining self-confidence as a skill that can be improved and trained, and not as a stable and immutable trait. “We can’t be self-confident unless the skill or task we are doing is not new to us,” Dr Ivan Joseph says.

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/self-confidence-is-a-skill-you-can-learn-today/

Difficulties to which this skill responds

Self-confidence is linked to almost all the elements involved in a happy life.

It has a strong effect on the perception of anxiety and rumination, the tendency to mull over worries and perceived mistakes replaying them ad nauseam. Self-confidence would help you to break the cycle of over-thinking and calm your inner critic.

This is especially useful in relational situations. Being wrapped up in your thoughts and worries may make you focus too much on yourself and not engage with others. It is clear that, especially in the context of mobility exchange, this ability is a valuable help in establishing relationships.

This skill plays an important role in motivation and, in particular, resilience, as it entails trust in your capacities and the ability to recognise the right causes of a “defeat”, without generalising them. All this makes it possible to cope appropriately and not give up in the face of difficulties. When things go wrong, confident people do not get angry, fly off the handle or blame others. They own up to their mistakes, pick themselves up and start up all over again. They can assess what they did wrong and figure out how they can improve.

Confident people are more focused on solutions, and don’t waste time complaining. They show a positive attitude when answering to problems. Rather than looking for excuses, these people work towards achieving their goals with enthusiasm.

Also, people with high self-confidence tend to be more open-minded. They are willing to take bold chances and try new things. Confident people rarely become defensive when their thinking is challenged by new ideas or alternative ways of looking at things. That is why it’s a crucial skill for students doing an internship in another country, dealing with different culture and unfamiliar customs. 

Sources

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shyness-is-nice/201809/why-self-confidence-is-more-important-you-think
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/08/24/self-confidence-leads-to-success-in-your-job-search-and-career-heres-how-you-can-start/?sh=32ac3fd0dcdf
  3. https://teachingconfidence.com/confidence-open-mind/

Behavioral indicators

Self-confidence is reflected by these behaviours:

  • Recognising the impact your behavior can have on yourself and other people. 
  • Reflecting on yourself, showing awareness of your own emotions.
  • Understanding your own emotions; self-awareness.
  • Being able to be self-directed even in the presence of uncertainties and pressures.
  • Dealing with different situations, not giving up when difficulties come up
  • Not generalising defeats and victories, attributing them to the right causes

Why is this skill important for mobility students and which sub-skills are associated with it

Mobility students often go through some psychological and emotional difficulties, such as homesickness. Self-confidence can be particularly helpful in this situation, having a substantial impact on anxiety management and resilience.

Sub-skills directly associated with self-confidence:

  1. Self-Awareness
    Being aware of what we are feeling and why we are feeling it to be able to interrupt unsupportive or disruptive habits and replace them with new, more confident decisions.
  2. Self-Trust
    When we do not trust ourselves, we start looking 100% externally for feedback and reassurance, which impacts our ability to truly grow. Self-trust is like a muscle: if we don’t use it, we lose it. And we give away our power to others. The more you notice yourself making decisions, choosing a commitment and then honouring it, the more your self-trust muscle grows in strenght.
  3. Self-Expression
    It reflects our ability to communicate what we think and feel with accuracy. The more we are misunderstood by others or misunderstand the situations around us, the more our self-esteem can decrease. First, it is crucial to realise that much of our communication is nonverbal. And second, it is necessary to listen to what is really being said and not just listen to respond: this is a significant cause of miscommunication because a lot of important details can be lost.

Sources:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/08/12/three-key-ingredients-for-authentic-self-confidence/?sh=59f003d63507
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shyness-is-nice/201809/why-self-confidence-is-more-important-you-think

How to use the Exercises

To complete the holistic confidence building of the students, we need to present them with real-life scenarios from the professional life they are about to experience. Role-play activities are very helpful in this respect. These activities encourage students to analyze the situation, put themselves in it and think how another person would act/speak/provide solutions.

Further in this section, there are two exercises for teachers to use to increase students’ self-confidence. Both exercises are meant to be carried out in groups. They are designed to help make the students more confident in situations similar to the ones they can encounter in the future, focusing on skills such as problem-solving and leadership, at the same time encouraging them to self-evaluate their skills.

Some ideas for confidence-building role-playing activities are listed below:

Taking a manager position in a situation of workflow problems;

Job Interview;

Introducing yourself as a newcomer to the company;

Being a team leader in a situation when there is a problem with the quality of the produced product;

The scenario in which the company faces a situation of the overloaded production process;

The scenario in which the company handles a crisis situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic in the sense of restructuring the working process according to new conditions;

Handling an accident/ emergency

Learning outcomes

Increase in confidence is the most common feeling experienced by the students as a result of role play. Putting students in the concrete professional roles will make them experience a specific real-life professional situation and lead them to believe in their ability to handle difficult situations and come out as winners. Students will build their know-how in overcoming and solving complicated work issues; this experience will make them self-confident in their specific professional knowledge. Apart from just the know-how of the situation, role-playing activities are known to be beneficial in perspective building, anxiety control and language development.

Many psychologists have stated that role-play-based situations help students in building positive self-esteem and self-image. These skills are needed to handle many situations posed by the adult life.

Learning outcomes for the trainers:

  • Understanding of the definition of “self-confidence” within the context of mobility for students
  • Understanding of behavioural elements linked to Self-confidence as a soft skill to be applied in short-term mobility experiences abroad;
  • Recognising sub-skills related to self-confidence, reflected in students’ behaviours

The trainers will be able to guide students to:

  • Understand and experience the real working environment;
  • Have a strong focus on problem solving and leadership;
  • Encourage self-evaluation of skills;
  • Help students to realise what skills they need to improve on