Self-Efficacy. What the heck does that mean? Efficacy means “the power or to produce an effect.” So self-efficacy, is your belief in your power to effect something.
Our belief in what we are and are not capable of doing is the greatest determinant of what we actually are and are not capable of doing! Our BELIEF, mind you – this can be completely and utterly unrelated to FACT. The FACT is, we may be super smart, super creative, super gifted. But if our BELIEF is that we are a bit dim, we don’t have any original ideas, and there is nothing special about us – well, that’s the filter through which we see ourselves, and that’s the belief upon which we’ll make our choices.
For school I read a super interesting article on Social Cognitive Theory. This theory of human functioning states that we as humans have agency (meaning we have power over our actions/response; we are not victims of our circumstances) and “what people think, believe, and feel affects how they behave.” How we behave affects the results we get in life. So, humans are “influential in determining their own destiny.”
Perhaps you know someone like this (or perhaps this someone is you):
This person is special. She is brilliant, funny, a natural problem-solver. Anything broken, she can fix. She’s a hard worker – someone who won’t give up just because the problem is a tricksy one. She’s kind, considerate; someone who just naturally inspires respect.
She is presented with a new opportunity, a project that is just outside of her comfort zone – a challenge. She is afraid. She thinks she’s underqualified. She thinks she might fail. She believes that someone else – someone smarter, someone with more credentials, someone with more experience – would be a better fit.
Yet you look at her and go, “OMG. TAKE IT!!! DO IT!!! You would be SO awesome at this!!”
But her reality, her filter, is that she cannot do it. She doesn’t see what she’s capable of. So she doesn’t accept the challenge and learn and grow as a result of working through it. She doesn’t increase her mastery. She stays in the safe little box in which her self-image confines her.
Ugh! This is all just based on her BELIEF, not FACT.
But the good news is, self-efficacy beliefs CAN CHANGE! We can take on new challenges and improve our mastery. We can watch others who are similar to us and notice what they are accomplishing and realize, “Hey! She is a lot like me, and she did it! I could do it too!.” Our self-efficacy can also improve if we are around supportive people who provide positive feedback on our performance (e.g. a coach). We can also start to notice our moods and emotions and take steps to deal with stress in more effective ways and learn how to process negative emotional states, enabling us to no longer be completely derailed by stress, fear, and anxiety.
There is SO much more to dive into here, but I wanted to share this little intro because I think there is so much room for hope here. 1. We are not victims; we have power to change our perceptions and therefore our life. 2. We have the power to change our beliefs about who we are and our abilities. It requires awareness, support, and willingness to get uncomfortable, but it’s possible!
Belief in my own abilities is something that I have struggled with my whole life, but, as I reviewed some of the questionnaires that help you evaluate your self-efficacy, I realized, “Holy Sh!t. I’m getting better. I’M CHANGING!!” Here’s an article with some questions that might help you see where you fall on self-efficacy spectrum.
What is your truth? Do you believe you can change your behavior and your life by changing your belief about you?
Happy Sunday, my friends! Hope you have a BOO-tiful Halloween (get it??)!
Looking for feedback:
- I am looking for smart women who feel dumb when it comes to taking care of themselves to help me do some market research. I want to hear what you want and need, what you are struggling with, what you would be SO HAPPY to achieve if you were to work with a coach. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts with me, you can book a 30 minute chat session here.
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