People will often ask me about confidence and age. Does confidence develop with time, is there a point that our confidence starts to decline?

Confidence may vary with age but growth certainly isn’t a straight line. There are some well publicised and quite worrying studies around confidence in young adults. We also know that men tend to be more confident than women in their 20’s and 30’s at work. Confidence in women seems to be more of a slow burn, but lasts longer.

However then there seems to be a decline for some. Confidence wanes and the certainty we have about ourselves seems to fade. I have so many people over 50 in my workshops who doubt that they can learn new ways, new skills. I also know people who say they are too tired to try new things. That “this is it”, in a resigned fashion.

Confidence is defined as being certain about ourselves and our abilities. So we can perhaps understand that it takes time to develop and grow. We can also see that we can do a lot to help that happen and retain confidence for ourselves and others.

The 7 Ages of Confidence

Thinking about confidence and age takes me back to school and the famous speech by made by Jaques in William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” that we had to learn. It starts:

All the worlds a stage, and all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages

The 7 ages of man may not be quite the same in modern times but there are clearly quite distinct stages in our lives and our confidence can vary at each of these points, not just because of the age we are but also the roles we play and the pressures and expectations that are placed upon us.

The Child – confident and carefree if given a supportive start in life.
The Teenager – perhaps the most important and vulnerable time in our lives.
The Young Adult – finding their role in the adult world.
The “Grown Up” – with all the pressures of balancing work and life.
The 50 Something – looking for meaning and a place in a changing society.
The Retiree – active and engaged or tired and relieved?
The Elder – as vulnerable as a child in so many ways.

At each of these stages we can see the possibility of how age affects confidence. The impact can be positive or in a way that could challenge and undermine it.

So take a moment to reflect – when were you most confident in your life? Perhaps it is right now, ask yourself what it is about your life at this moment that helps you to feel confident. Was it some point in the past? What were you doing then, how did it feel to be confident, what has changed between then and now?

You can feel confident at any age and in next week’s blog we will explore more about how you can do this.

For more information about how Limitless for Life can help you build confidence and self belief go to the website www.limitlessforlife.co.uk or call Alison Burgess on 07931 556 167 or follow on twitter @limitless4life.

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