This week I continue in my quest to define some of the common terms used in personal development and in relationship to self-esteem in particularly. This week my focus is on self-efficacy.
Many people confuse this term with self-esteem so let us first clarify the difference. One definition of self-esteem suggests that it is the degree to which people perceive themselves to be capable, significant and worthy. It is an overall evaluation of personal worth.
One of the leading researchers of self-efficacy is Bandura who suggests that self-efficacy reflects an individual’s momentary belief in his or her capability to perform a specific task at a specific level of performance.
This specific self-efficacy is a state based expectation, meaning that it is a judgement about the likelihood of successful task performance evaluated and measured immediately before any effort is made on the task.
State based in this context is different to the use of “state” in NLP. In NLP we are referring to physiology, cognitive processes and emotional responses. In psychology this term is used to relate to events that are contextual or specific rather than global and generalised e.g. in the moment rather than beliefs held consistently. This psychological definition also applies to the NLP definition however the NLP definition has more depth.
Self-esteem beliefs tend to be held more consistently and are generalised whereas self-efficacy beliefs may change dependent on changes to the external context however some of these beliefs are strongly tied to persistent self-esteem beliefs so may be more resistant to change.
Bandura points out that state based beliefs about oneself are some of the most powerful motivators of behaviour. Let’s take a moment to consider why.
Efficacy expectations determine the decision to perform a task and the amount of effort put into that performance. It will also determine the level of persistence in the face of obstacles and problems in completing the task.
If I believe I can run a marathon I am more likely to decide to enter a marathon race. Having entered the race I more likely to develop a training programme and stick to it. If I am busy, or the weather is poor, or I develop a cold I am more likely to find ways to continue my preparation for the marathon.
Alternatively if I believe that I am not fit enough to run a marathon I am unlikely to send in an application, train or overcome barriers. If I believe I might be able to run a marathon I might start to train but give up when faced with obstacles.
In the example I have given someone could have a high self-efficacy, for example above 95% chance of success through to a low self-efficacy of below 5% or anywhere in between.
As mentioned in some of my earlier blogs beliefs tend to be self sustaining and we start to fall into the self fulfilling prophecy. If we believe we can do something we persist and will probably succeed at the desired task. If we do not succeed we will have a way to explain this that helps us to maintain our belief.
Understanding the power of self-efficacy and self belief is incredibly important for people wanting to change how they feel about themselves and to transform their lives. There comes a point when it is important to identify what it is you want to do with your life, what you want to achieve and what meaning that has for you.
Having identified what you want it is time to start examining the beliefs you hold about your ability to achieve your desires and dreams.
And here is the exciting bit – even if you believe you cannot do it you have taken the first step in changing that! You have identified some limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
With tools such as NLP you can change your limiting beliefs into empowering ones! This is relatively easy to do.
You can even start to change limiting beliefs for yourself by just asking yourself
“what is the next smallest step?”
Once you have taken that step ask the question again and take that step. Most of us believe we can achieve our small steps and once you have chained together a whole series of small steps you will discover you have achieved more than you thought possible!
Those of you based in the Bedfordshire area might want to come and join us for our next NLP Practice group “Busting Limiting Beliefs” on the 2nd May. We charge just £5 for this evening session and you are welcome whatever level of NLP knowledge you have. Click on the link below
Two events I have coming up soon are designed specifically with this in mind. The first is our popular one day workshop, “Your Brilliant You!”
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will be familiar with this workshop. It is based on my research and aimed at helping people improve their self-esteem and thus their resilience.
Our next workshop is on 21st April, for more information or to download a free MP3 of two hours taken from an earlier workshop click on the link below.
The second event is our NLP Master Practitioner, running in May. One of our key areas for exploration is finding your life purpose! For more information click on the link below.
Do let me have your thoughts, comments and experience of self efficacy and changing limiting beliefs. What has worked for you?