It’s tempting to assume that confident people have it easy, that they’re free from the insecurities, inhibitions and self-doubt that holds the rest of us back – but this is not so. Even confident people have fears and doubts; it’s how they cope with these fears and doubts that sets them apart from the rest of us.
Confidence is a state of mind and, according to author and psychotherapist Barry Michels, it is a state that can be learned. LA-based Michels has a number of celebrity clients and has recently co-written a self-help book entitled ‘The Tools’. Below are some of what he believes are the most important tools for being confident:
1. Be a risk taker
The more you do something, the easier that thing becomes. It’s easy to avoid doing things that scare you or make you nervous in favour of a stress-free life, but how will you ever expand your mind or open yourself to new experiences if you stay inside your comfort zone? People who avoid taking risks all too often get stuck in their routines and end up feeling unhappy. Confident people feel just as afraid as unconfident people; the difference is that they fight their fears. The more often you step out of your comfort zone, the easier it will become and the more confident you will feel heading out into the unknown.
2. Be passionate
People who don’t put their all into their performance don’t feel good about themselves, even if they are successful. The secret to confidence is putting your heart into everything you do. This passion and natural drive to do your best will hold you up even if you fail. Confidence is about knowing you tried and having the strength to try again even when you fail.
3. Have a ‘just do it’ attitude
Low confidence can come about when we spend a lot of time avoiding doing the things we have to do. We all have them, the things that niggle at the back of our minds, whether that be writing to an old friend, cleaning the house, or going for a run. When we avoid doing things, we carry those failures around with us and, regardless of their size or significance, they can have a big impact on self-esteem. How are you supposed to be a confident person when you constantly feel guilty for not doing something?
4. Forgive and move on
Confident people know how to forgive and move on. Hurtful things happen to people all the time – a clash with a colleague, a tiff with a friend, or an argument with a lover. It’s natural to feel hurt and emotional, but allowing those feelings to fester can breed defensive and insecure behaviours. Of course, confident people still experience the same emotions, but they process them a lot faster. The ability to admit to shortcomings and forgive others for theirs shows a strength of character.
6. Help yourself
We all have ’emotional shadows’ left over from a former part of our lives – a good example being beautiful women who think they’re ugly, or powerful men who can’t speak to women. Being able to visualise that insecure part of yourself is the key to controlling it. Confident people don’t suppress their insecurities, they admit to them and let them into their lives. This way, those insecurities don’t have a chance to creep in unexpectedly.
7. Be kind to yourself
People who lack confidence often turn on themselves when things go wrong. Directing sadness and anger inwards can be destructive and prevent you from moving on from the set-back. Know instead that while things went wrong this time, you won’t make the mistake again. You can’t change the past and dwelling on things will only drain you of confidence. Instead, use your failings to add to your confidence level.
A life coach could help you build the confidence to be the best possible version of yourself. To find out more, please visit our page on Confidence.
View and comment on the original Telegraph article.