Success and Confidence – it’s in the can!

We all know the feeling; you’re the next one to speak (or you walk into the room, onto the stage, into the meeting) and your heart is racing, your mouth is dry and you fear your deodorant will fail you – what confidence you had has seeped through the floorboards. Confidence is not about eliminating anxieties, even confident people get scared in new situations, it’s just about being human and you can teach yourself to unleash a more confident you.

1) Challenge your definition of confidence

  • What makes you believe that you are not confident? Knowledge and preparation go a long way to making you feel sure of yourself
  • What do you mean when you say “I’m not confident”, being nervous is not the same
  • What does it look like, sound like, feel like to be more confident? Try not to compare yourself to others (who probably have years of experience and practise).
  • Challenge why you are saying “I’ve got no confidence” is it an old habit or a way of asking people to give you an easy time?

2) Confidence means that, no matter what, I’ll be OK

  • Beliefs determine behaviours – tell yourself “I can do that “ and “What is the worse that can happen”
  • Set a goal and work out how to achieve it, but make sure you  believe that you can really do it
  • Look out for your own self-limiting beliefs such as “I’m not the sort of person who…” or “I just have to accept that that’s the way I am!”
  • Who says that you are not confident and do they matter?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”  Henry Ford

3) Get to know the positive you

  • Focussing on weaknesses and negatives is draining, utterly pointless and tiresome.
  • Focus on what you have, rather than what you haven’t, and on what you’ve done rather than not done
  • Learn from your history, it provides evidence of your qualities and skills, e.g. “I completed a qualification under difficult circumstances, so I have determination, concentration and am focussed”
  • Use written and verbal affirmations to build yourself up (stand in front of the mirror)
  • Accept praise and challenge criticism (recognise the difference between genuine feedback from someone you trust and unnecessary criticism that probably says more about them than it does you!)
  • Think of “weaknesses” as strengths that are out of balance e.g. being overbearing or controlling can stem from enthusiasm; impatience can stem from a desire to get things done; being pernickety can stem from high standards
  • Think, and talk about yourself in a positive way. An inner sense of self-belief and value will come across in the way you present not only yourself, but your products and services

Decide on your own measure of success. Comparisons with others are futile.

4) “I can do that”! The language of choice

  • “I can’t” can translates as “I choose not to” which means that you have the ability to do something but, in truth, you have no desire to do it
  • Recognising that you have a choice is liberating and helps you to feel in control
  • Use the language of liberation (will/want to/don’t want to) rather than the language of limitation (can’t/ought/must/should.)

5) If you are stuck in a “can’t” frame of mind ask yourself:

  • What’s stopping you?
  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Is it merely a possibility or a probability?
  • If your inner voice is like a critical parrot sitting on your shoulder telling you that “you can’t”, tell it to “shut up”!

Success comes in cans – I can, I can, I can!

6) Taking action

  • Take small steps and build on them
  • Keep reviewing your progress
  • What’s gone well?
  • Think positively, think small, and think about the whole (progress includes feelings/ attitudes/ dealing with tough things as well as doing new things)
  • Let your supporters encourage, cajole and challenge you into action
  • Distance yourself from your saboteurs
  • Trust your own intuition
  • Do it now!

A journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step

Jan Morris (fabulous trainer and coach) helped with the content of this article which was commissioned as part of the Opening Doors project

photo credit: Mary Hutchison Lo-fi social media via photopin (license)

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  • Norah Robinson says:

    My mum always said little girls should be seen and not heard and she always had to have the last word which destroyed any confidence I would have had so this is great reading .

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