Boost your Confidence
Many of us are held back from achieving our full potential by issues of confidence. It can also cause us to suffer excessive nerves or stress in the lead up to situations such as exams and presentations.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines confidence as: “self assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities”.
This highlights the very clear link between our propensity to recognise our qualities and abilities and the resulting positive mindset.
Often lack of confidence is also linked to low self esteem or negative beliefs. So a starting point for building confidence is to reframe these limiting perceptions…because perceptions are just what they are. During our life we are continually subjected to the views and opinions of others – and we might be swayed into thinking they have some foundation (but who says they are right?).
If you find yourself saying things like the following examples, it’s worth taking some time out to explore these limiting beliefs further.
- I’ll NEVER be as good as other people at that
- NOBODY will want to listen to what I’ve got to say
- I ALWAYS mess up
- I DON’T deserve
…Question where your confidence or esteem issue came from and what evidence you have for it. If it came from a person, what credence do you give to their opinion? Are they always right?
And then consider whether you can reframe these negative statements to positive affirmations, eg:
- If I put the effort in I CAN
- People are coming to listen to me because they ARE interested in what I’ve got to share
- I SOMETIMES get it wrong – I’ll learn from these times and plan to improve
- I AM just as deserving as anyone else.
Another thing we can do to improve our confidence is to act confident – just like actors can become characters, if we adjust our body into a confident pose we can bluff our brain into believing we have the confidence we need. Imagine how someone who is as confident as you want to be would stand/sit, move, gesture, breathe, talk and view the world. You will find that you begin to experience the feelings of confidence and there are ways in which this ‘resourceful state’ can be captured so that you can regain it whenever you need it.
For more on the positive effect posture can have on confidence see my post and link to the 20 minute recommended TED Talk by Amy Cuddy on Power Posing.
Here are a few practical things you can have a go at to improve your confidence:
- Be alert to your beliefs – how many times each day do you say (to yourself or out loud) things like – ‘I can’t, I’ll never – each time you catch yourself saying something like this, note it down.
- Have a go at ‘reframing’ some of these things to positive self talk, eg
- I believe in my capabilities and value the unique talents I can offer the world
- I accept me for what I am
- I am a valuable and important person and worthy of the respect of others
- Keep a confidence diary for a week –helping you to lower your reliance on feedback from others by evaluating your performance yourself. Each day look back and identify:
- 3 things that you are pleased with yourself for
- 3 things that you learned that you can do something about and the positive actions that you will take
Take a moment to remind yourself that it is more important to take the feedback from things that could have gone better and do something with it that to dwell on who was to blame or self criticism.
- What do you admire about yourself? Indulge a little and make a list of all the strengths and qualities you have. If you find it difficult to do this yourself, imagine asking a selection of people whose views you value what your positive characteristics are. Leave out anyone who you believe is contributing to your confidence issue.
- Be prepared – whether it’s a meeting, social event, exam or presentation, being prepared, knowing your stuff thoroughly and avoiding last minute rushes are essentials for a confident you.