Have you ever second guessed yourself? How about talked yourself out of an opportunity because you didn’t believe you had what it takes? Or been too put off by nerves to go after what you really want?
If you have, that’s a lack of confidence and we’re here to tell you something: Those persistent thoughts telling you that you aren’t good enough, you haven’t got what it takes and you could never achieve your dreams, they simply aren’t true and when you realise that YOU can become unstoppable.
What’s so great about confidence anyway?
Confidence is the unshakeable belief that you can rely on yourself, no matter what happens. Without it, you might pass up on that big opportunity, talk yourself out of going on that date, or downplay your unique skills, talents and abilities.
Confidence is that little voice inside your head that says ‘You got this’. It’s the very thing that gives you the courage to go after your dreams and achieve your full potential.
Confidence is within your reach…
Is self-belief something you struggle with?
Here at The Head Plan we know that confidence can sometimes seem hard to come by, plenty of people struggle with it, even those who seem like the most confident in the room. Confidence isn’t something that people are born with, it is a skill and attitude you can acquire and nurture. It also has nothing to do with being gifted or successful.
It’s something you can cultivate with your thoughts. Building confidence starts with being aware of what goes on in your head, and moulding it into something that supercharges your self-belief. It’s always in your power to develop it, no matter who you are or where you are in life.
That’s really good news because it means everyone – yep, you included - can have confidence. Everyone can build belief in their abilities and conquer the confidence issues that often hold them back.
Ready to start flexing your confidence muscle? Good, we’re excited for you! Here’s how…
How To Build Your Confidence
Befriend your inner mean girl or boy
We all have an inner critic. That voice in our heads that stops us from going after our dreams, critiques our work, and tells us we aren’t good enough, clever enough, or capable enough to do this, that and the other.
Self-help guru Melissa Ambrosini calls it your inner ‘mean girl’. The secondary school bully who tries to keep your achievements small, but here’s the thing, you don’t need to fight them.
Becoming aware of this voice and not believing all that is says about you is the first step in over-coming a lack of confidence. Picture this; you are nervous about starting a new job or going to an event. Within the first few moments your inner mean girl or boy starts; “Ugh, here you go again, you are so awkward, why did you say that…they are never going to like you”.
How does this make you feel? Will you behave like yourself? Will you be comfortable in your own skin? Will you enjoy yourself? We think not. Imagine a new scenario; you are aware you can be hard on yourself so before you go to work or the event you say positive affirmations to yourself to bring in new empowering beliefs such as “I am comfortable, I am becoming more confident, I am looking forward to meeting new people, I am at ease in new environments, I can handle any situation, I am strong”. You have changed the narrative in your mind and adapted an effective technique also known as ‘fake it till you make it!’ Try this the next time your inner critic gets loud and tries to take over the show.
Ever heard the phrase ‘kill ‘em with kindness’? This is how you get your inner critic on your side. Learn to identify with them when they pop up with an unhelpful comments or nasty putdown, give them a name and ask questions like; “What’s wrong, why are you feeling like this, and what do you need right now?” And once you’ve befriended them, they no longer have the same power to hold you back. If you are believing your thoughts and not questioning them you can fall into a trap of self - inflicted turmoil.
Become aware and listen to the thoughts you are having
Rewrite the story with positive affirmations
Name the voice
Become friends with the voice - what do you need from me? What facts do you have to support this? Why are you not on my side?
Talk to yourself like a best friend
What would you say to a friend who was having a crisis of confidence? You’d probably tell her she’s doing the best she can? You’d remind her about that time she got that promotion in work, or how she always has a great way of making people feel at ease. You’d tell her what great company she is, and remind her she’s uniquely special, capable, and talented.
But let us ask you this, how often do you do the same for yourself? Instead of knocking your confidence with nasty put downs, start telling yourself all the things you would say to a friend. Things like, “You got this. You are doing the best you can. Everything is going to work out”.
If you wouldn't say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself.
Take tiny risks
If comfort zones were a piece of clothing they’d almost certainly be your favourite pair of fluffy PJs, but just like you can’t stay in your pyjamas forever, you can’t sit still in life if you want to progress. We get it though, change is scary and it’s when taking these first daunting steps into unknown territory that you might experience a crisis of confidence.
If you’ve read the classic self help book Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers you’ll know the secret to overcoming fear is to do the very things you’re afraid of, but before you freak out, you don’t need to take a giant leap into the unknown. No, you can slowly nudge your way out of your comfort zone, and with each step your confidence will grow and grow.
Maybe it’s signing up to that evening class you’ve been thinking of or start chatting to that guy you like. Whatever it is, every time you do something that scares you a little, you start to develop a wonderful new belief. And that belief is ‘Yes, I can’.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Messed up? So what! We all make mistakes and as cliché as it may sound, messing up only means you were brave enough to try.
So the next time things don’t go as planned, don’t immediately rush to berate yourself. Giving yourself a pat on the back for trying and acknowledging what you can do better next time is a sure-fire way to build the confidence to try again.
Grab your copy of The Head Plan and remember to note down the achievements you’re most proud of each and every day to see your confidence soar.
Remember it’s all in the mind
The mind is a complex place. Professor Steve Peters, author of The Chimp Paradox, looks at the mind in three parts: the human, the chimp, and the computer. When the chimp part of your brain perceives a threat – like the potential for embarrassment or failure, for example – it will fight, flight or freeze, and can grow paranoid and insecure.
Keeping your chimp – and your confidence in check – involves nurturing it with positive self talk and occasionally distracting it. Feeling panicked before a meeting with your boss or having a confidence crisis before socialising with a new group of friends?
Offering your chimp brain an incentive and telling it that once you’ve completed this nerve-wracking task you can relax with a reward can be an ace way to get a temporary boost of confidence and get your anxiety-ridden chimp to play ball.
You got this
Here’s what we want you to know: Confidence is within your control and it’s got nothing to do with your job, what you are wearing or being the loudest person in the room.
What it really comes down to is believing, in no uncertain terms, that no matter what happens you can handle it. You are doing the best you can and you are capable of handling anything and everything that comes your way. We repeat…You got this!