Confidence and self-belief stem from positive thinking, positive friendships and relationships, plenty of practice and, in some cases, training. Although we aspire to have more of both confidence and self-belief, we often struggle to find or obtain these traits.
We demonstrate the confidence and belief we have in ourselves in a number of ways; our behaviour, our mood and even how we carry ourselves. It’s common for individuals who lack self-belief and self-confidence to find certain areas of their life affected. Relationships can break down, careers can stale, lifestyle can become unbalanced and a positive state of mind can be undermined unless some action is taken to improve these qualities.
We hold ourselves to impossible standards. Wherever we may have got it from, the media, our parents or our peers... it’s our job to break the cycle.
- Read more on Happiful.
We’re taking a look into how and why a lack of confidence evolves and investigating how a life coach can help with confidence building. We’ll present a number of techniques that you can try at home to enable ‘quick wins’ in boosting your self-belief.
What is self-belief or self-confidence?
Self-belief or self-confidence is thought to be the way that you feel about your skills, abilities, appearance and behaviour. A person who has high confidence levels may grasp things quickly and trust that they can complete tasks to a good standard. Self-confidence means to have faith or trust in yourself.
Confidence can also be described as the way we project ourselves to others. We don't have to truly feel confident in our abilities in order to appear confident to others. Many people can portray an image of complete confidence whilst shaking with fear on the inside. This protection method is used to hide a lack of self-esteem or negative feelings manifesting privately.
What is self-worth or self-esteem?
Self-worth or self-esteem describes the way you feel about yourself, regardless of your appearance, achievements and capabilities. It’s closely associated with pride in your yourself and self-respect. If you have high self-esteem you are typically happy in your own skin and you have a positive opinion of yourself.
Self-esteem relates to how we compare ourselves with others. This can cover a number of things including how intelligent, attractive, loveable, successful or worthy compared to others, we think we are.
Having low self-esteem is damaging to mood. Feeling that you are worth less than others may lead you to strive for an unrealistic perfection. Common associations with low self-esteem are depression and guilt, and you may constantly try to prove your worth to others.
Do you lack confidence and self-belief?
Your behaviour, your body language, how you react to different situations and how you speak can depict your confidence levels and the amount of belief you have in yourself.
Self-esteem and self-confidence are thought to be made up of a number of factors:
- physical presence
- social confidence
- status confidence
- peer independence
- stage presence
If you’re lacking self-belief and confidence you may feel:
- uneasy and shy
- uncertain of what you want and who you are
- a sense of worthlessness
- negative thoughts about your abilities and yourself in general
- you are unable to enjoy and relax in situations that you’d like to
- as if you haven’t got a sense of direction in life
On the other hand, if you are full of self-belief and confidence you may feel:
- greater enjoyment of life in general
- comfortable when facing new challenges
- excited about new opportunities
- confident about your opinions and ideas
- a great sense of achievement
- respected by other people
- at ease in social situations
- able to be yourself
- sure of yourself and what you want
Both self-worth and confidence can be developed through confidence coaching either by yourself or with a professional. It may, however, take some time to build upon your current confidence levels. The amount you can gain from coaching is usually very rewarding and is well worth the effort.
Self-image is commonly made up of self-esteem and confidence. It encompasses the impressions you have of yourself; appearance, abilities, skills, sex, age, successes, career, intelligence and more.
How can life coaching improve my confidence and self-belief?
It all starts from within, you are not broken and therefore you do not need fixing. Once you start to notice your self-talk and your self-language you will soon come to realise that you are self-sabotaging. Becoming aware of your self-sabotaging thoughts and language will allow you to realise the damage you are creating, you can then replace with self-praising thoughts and language and discover the true you.
- Read more from Master NLP Coach Vicki French.
Suffering from low confidence and self-worth can be debilitating, but these qualities can both be developed with the help of confidence coaching. Life coaches come equipped with the tools and techniques to help you develop your confidence and self-belief. Confidence coaching is designed to help you raise your self-image and create a positive outlook on life, starting from within. Life coaching may be able to help you challenge your beliefs that you have about yourself, boost your self-esteem and help you build a strong and positive self-image.
When you start coaching sessions, the first thing to do is understand your current level of self-esteem, then you have a base to build upon. You’ll gradually increase your self-worth and confidence over time until these traits become deeply ingrained facets of your personality.
If you truly believe in yourself, so will others. Deeply ingrained confidence and self-worth will make life more enjoyable, exciting and satisfying.
The benefits of a positive mental attitude
There are plenty of ways to improve your self-confidence and the main thing to remember is that you need to truly believe in yourself in order to start making the changes you strive for. If you lead with positive thoughts, you’re more likely to accomplish your goals.
Most improvement techniques for self-confidence are based around the power of the mind and body working in harmony: a positive mental attitude will help you overcome many obstacles by enabling you to do things with the incredible power of your mind. A negative attitude, on the other hand, will create negative actions, feelings, reactions and low confidence.
The advantage of any technique based on a positive mental attitude is simple: you don’t need to know the outcome of an action in order to perform, you simply need to believe you can and your body will loyally follow. This may not always happen immediately and will take a lot of practice, but is a proven technique that can produce results.
"Whether you think you can or you can't, you're probably right." - Henry Ford
Confidence at work
Being confident at work is crucial for career success: from just starting out or running a company, confidence is key in most occupations. Having a strong sense of self-belief will affect how you communicate with colleagues, as well as how effective you are in your output and your enjoyment of your job.
Being confident in the workplace enables you to be situationally proactive, assertive and focused. Having true confidence not only allows you to have a positive impact at work, but it also helps you make choices that will benefit your home life too.
Here are a number of areas that a life coach could cover with you if you are struggling with confidence at work:
- Leadership coaching
- Management coaching
- Small business coaching
- Public speaking
- Anger management
- Stress management
- Conflict resolution
- Executive coaching
If you distinctly lack confidence at work more than other areas of life and struggle to believe you warrant the success you’ve achieved, you might be experiencing imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is the inability to warrant yourself pride for your accomplishments. The persistent feeling of inadequacy may haunt you, even though there is definitive proof that your achievements are the result of hard work and talent. You may experience feelings of intellectual fraudulence and severe self-doubt.
You will feel like you are aren’t a competent, successful individual, you are instead imposing as such. ‘Imposter’ feelings can appear in many forms, but they tend to fit into the following three categories:
1. Feeling like a fake
You may feel like you have deceived others into thinking that you are more competent than you actually are. You don’t think you deserve your professional position or success. This is typically coupled with the fear of being ‘found out’.
Statements that you may identify with:
- “I am afraid of the time when my colleagues discover my lack of professional knowledge.”
- “I often come across as a more competent person than I actually am.”
2. Your success is attributed to luck
You may have a tendency to feel all of your success is down to luck or another external variable, rather than your skills and perseverance.
Statements that you may identify with:
- “This won’t happen again.”
- “I just got lucky.”
- “This was a total fluke.”
3. Downplaying success
Often times when you achieve things that others congratulate you for, you will discount your own success. You may feel that the achievement itself could have been accomplished by anyone.
Statements that you may identify with:
- “It’s not that big of a deal.”
- “It wasn’t that important.”
- “The reason I did so well was that it was an easy task.”
The imposter syndrome is not an ‘all or nothing’ type of mentality. You may only identify some of the feelings in certain situations, or you may know friends or colleagues that exhibit some of these traits. If you have imposter feelings, you can take positive steps toward changing them. A life coach can offer help and the motivation to get your professional life back on track.
Confidence building tips
Practice these five tips to build confidence in-between your coaching sessions.
1. Work to remove negativity from your life
If you have constant negative feelings towards yourself and doubt your abilities, evaluate your inner circle of friends and family. It can be tough, but if those closest to you are the cause of your lack of confidence, you may have to step back from those relationships. Even a temporary break can offer a real positive step towards confidence building.
2. Change your body language
You can slowly start confidence building by changing your body language. This starts with your posture, eye contact and smiling. A simple smile with your shoulders back emanates confidence. Smiling will not only make others more comfortable around you, but it can also make you feel better too. Try to imagine a person who is smiling with good posture - this person looks self-confident.
3. Avoid accepting failure
Don’t give up and accept failure. You are able to find a solution for nearly everything, so why would you want to throw in the towel? Succeeding through perseverance can be one of the best confidence boosters.
4. Be prepared
Whatever you’re facing next, learn everything there is to know about the subject. If you are prepared and knowledgeable, you will feel confident and brave.
5. For particularly tough instances, create lists
Sometimes life can be overwhelming, making it difficult to keep up our self-belief. In that case, try to make one list of all the things you are grateful for, and a separate list of all the things you are proud of accomplishing (no matter how small). Once complete, pin the lists up somewhere you will regularly see them. This will remind you what a great life you already lead - it can be especially powerful when your self-confidence is waning.
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