Inhale confidence, exhale doubt

Confidence. To some people, it just comes quite naturally. To others, like me, it requires a bit of effort! Wherever you find yourself on the confidence scale, there are some steps I'd like to share with you to help make it more effortless.



Firstly, confidence means different things to different people, so as you're reading this article consider what being confident means to you personally. Notice I use the word 'being' confident. To one person that might simply mean being able to say hello to someone they don't know in their department or gym, or to another, it might mean confidence in going for a promotion or pitching their ideas.

Whatever it is, you want to be more confident in being you. Start to think as we do in NLP terms by focusing in on how you see, hear and feel confidence - the 'being' bit.

So let's get the uncomfortable part out the way now and think about times when you felt at your least confident. Are there any obvious triggers - for example, tasks, people, places or missed opportunities you can recall? Note them down and keep a log if it helps you for future reference.

But now the pleasant part. Ask yourself - "What will it look like when I'm being confident? What will I sound like when I'm being confident? What will it feel like when I'm being confident?"

These are crucial first steps - identifying clearly what being confident means to you, possible triggers in your confidence levels, and your vision of what confidence is.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Know your strengths and limitations. Notice I didn't use the word weaknesses. There are some companies out there who will profile your strengths for you, so they are worth checking out.
  • Jot down what you enjoy both in and out of the workplace. I bet you feel pretty confident doing things you enjoy.
  • Write down five things you are good at and five things you're not as good at. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to do the same and compare.
  • Trust in your capabilities and maximise on those opportunities to turn up that confidence dial.  
  • Expect success. Not something we've necessarily been brought up to think, this requires positive thinking and self-belief. Take time to work on this, practice over and over.
  • Acknowledge praise - another thing some people struggle to accept. Try to look at praise as a gift. If someone gave you a physical gift which you struggled to accept, what impression is that giving? It's no different with the gift of words. Keep it simple, say thank you.
  • Embrace the unknown. This takes practice - moving out of your comfort zone. Take some risks. Consider reading Feel the fear and do it anyway, if you haven't already - it's a great read!
  • Grow your network and make new connections, but think quality contacts, not quantity. Do your research beforehand and arm yourself with open-ended questions to support those first encounters. These opportunities could open new doors for you.
  • And breathe. We do it 24/7, yet, focusing on the breath alone in any given challenging situation can really help with confidence.

Give the above a shot, give it time, and practice. Talking all this through with a qualified coach/NLP coach and practising mindfulness can all support you to build your confidence and really are worth the investment.

"With realisation of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world." - Dalai Lama

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