Achieving Self Confidence

Confidence. Is it something we were born with or is it a learnt behavior? Is it something we can control? A common belief is that we are stuck with the confidence we were born with, but this simply isn’t true.

Confidence is a skill, not a born trait. So the good news is that we can train ourselves to become more confident.

What is confidence?

The definitions of confidence are extensive, but let’s focus on meanings that challenge our thinking and help set you on your own confidence journey.

Confidence is forgiving ourselves when we fail in first attempts (no matter how horrific we feel).

Confidence is overcoming the fear of doing something badly.

Confidence is also being able to focus on the better fear of doing nothing at all.

Confidence is recognising that life isn’t - and never will - be easy. Difficulties are inescapable.

It’s also important to remember what confidence isn’t. It’s not bragging, insensitivity or brutishness.

How can you grow in confidence?

For those of us who suffer confidence issues, we may have been advised to think kind thoughts about ourselves, pat ourselves on the back, and celebrate our successes. But this is only putting a band aid on the issue. Growing in confidence only comes from challenging deep set assumptions to change our mind set.

Here are a few starters to get you thinking in a different way:

  • Humans aren't perfect 100 percent of the time; in fact we do silly things - and everyone on earth acts foolishly some of the time. Making mistakes is an integral part of being human.
  • We can't see inside the hearts and minds of others. Don't assume that other people aren't suffering from the same doubts. In fact, take that one step further and make a leap of faith that other people's minds are similar to ours. That means that everyone is afraid in some way.
  • In an ideal world, we would be successful at everything 100 percent of the time, on the first time. We are surrounded by stories of success - people we work with, record breaking sports stars and inventors who break new boundaries. But what we don't see are the hours spent on the easel in front of the flawless painting or a triathlon winner who has been training for hours every day for the last decade.
  • Confident people accept that crises are a normal part of life - whether it's work, relationship, family, health or political. Remember that all of these are far more important than embarrassment about speaking up in a meeting or applying for a promotion.
  • A lack of confidence is often attribute to enemies who we perceive are bullying us. Who (apart from you) believes that your enemy is always right? Change what a perceived enemy means to you i.e. they are just one person who has their own opinion, which is not always - or hardly ever - right.
  • Finally, watch out for tendencies to self-sabotage. Watch that inner voice. If it's negative and unhelpful, then shut it down. It may be loud, but answer it back by speaking kindly to ourselves and being more conscious of how we talk to ourselves, until empathy and kindness become part of our internal dialogue and we become comfortable and confident in who we are.