Ok, so following on from last week’s blog, we’ve shifted those deep, dark beliefs about confidence being a bad thing, and we’d like some of it. Not too little, not too much – just a delicious balance of calm confidence, quiet power, and assurance and ease with all we are and all we can do.

Sounds good, eh? But how? Well, it’s a huge topic, but I’ll share a few hints and tips here that can be game-changers.

But first, how do you know if your self confidence is low?

Is it always so obvious if you have low self confidence or self esteem?

The answer’s no.

Some clues are pretty obvious – never feeling good enough, doubting your abilities constantly, talking yourself down. Others can be more subtle but still stem from those wobbly confidence foundations, like the inability to say no or express your opinions.

Check out the list here for more clues. How do you rate your confidence after reading these?

Clues you might have some wobbly confidence

  • Difficulty in saying no or setting clear boundaries (hands up, people pleasers)

  • A feeling of things being out of control.  Or even the opposite – a need to feel like ever tiny detail is in your control
  • A vicious inner critic, telling you you’re not up to the job
  • A lack of self-trust – doubting that you can manage whatever comes your way

  • A serious case of comparisonitis – always comparing yourself against others, and coming away with a sense of inadequacy

  • Difficulty showing any weakness or asking for help (ring any bells for us perfectionists?)
  • Worry overload and flip-flopping on decisions – everything’s a problem, and there’s very little calm, clarity on any of the calls you make

  • Difficulty accepting any praise, often rejecting it (“this old jumper”, “oh, it was nothing, anyone could do it”)

  • Starting to lose sight of who you are, what you want, even what you even believe

The Confidence Competence Coin

Your confidence should be equal to your competence. They are 2 sides of the same coin.

It shouldn’t exceed it – that’s arrogance, boasting, inaccurate.

And it shouldn’t be far outweighed by the confidence – that is lack of confidence, selling yourself short, being hard on yourself and holding yourself back.

It can be slightly less but not by much, so your expertise is always slightly has the upper hand.

Visualise your coin right now. How do the sides look?

If you’ve got an imbalance, then read on (I’m assuming if you’re here it’ll be the confident side that’s smaller). Oh, and I get if you’re confidence is super low, you might not be feeling competent either, don’t worry. We’ve got that too…

5 Tips to Start Building Confidence now!

1. Mind your language

It might seem a small thing, but if there’s something deep inside believing that confidence is a bad thing (arrogant, complacent, brash etc), find an alternative word that works for you instead. Personally, I like to use assurance, self esteem, self belief, self trust, even “quiet confidence” to put a different spin on things.

2. Play to your strengths

Take a breath and take an honest look at your strengths, your skills and your abilities. Plus all the things that make you, you – your wonderful personality traits, your quirks and kindnesses. Encourage yourself to acknowledge them and let them seep inside to those wobbly foundations, so that a bedrock of security begins to emerge. OK, small plug here but this can be tricky to do on your own if your confidence is low – it’s something I’m great at doing with my clients. Come talk to me.

3. Try an affirmation or 2

Right, I know you’re cringing. I have a bit of a love hate things with affirmations too. But, done right, they really can help and it’s possible to find a style that gels with you. I’ll be returning to this again. But here’s a few quick pointers:

  • Create a sentence or two aimed specifically to challenge your big fears and doubts with a new way of thinking

  • Make them relevant, specific, and ultra uncomfortable to do (that means they’re aimed at the right spot!). They should be tricky to believe initially, and yes that negative voice may crop up, but acknowledge it, soothe it, shush it.

  • Get in touch with them every day, perhaps by reading, hearing or speaking them. Stay with it and soon you’ll get passed the discomfort, then they’ll start to feel ok, and sooner or later you start to actually believe them!

4. Talk to the toddler within (or train your inner puppy!)

Make friends with your inner critic – it’s doing its best. Though it may seem cruel, actually it just wants to keep you safe. But it’s not doing a good job. So say thank you to it, explain you’re trying a different approach, and say you’re not going to listen this time (I like to imagine turning down the volume dial).

Try talking to yourself as you would a toddler or a puppy (the part of your brain that’s running this voice is very basic). Give super simple messages and repeat them – encourage, encourage, encourage – praise everything that’s gone well – let the errors go. And remember – no naughty steps or dog houses here!

5. Let the good seep in

Start moving your focus dial from the shortcomings and negatives to the good stuff. Did you know you’re evolutionarily pre-programmed to focus on danger/problems/mistakes – so you don’t eat those berries that made you sick again? Encourage yourself to capture wins, successes, achievements however significant (journalling can be great here). Celebrate each one, even if it’s just with a smile, playing your favourite song, a lovely cup of tea.

And the next time someone pays you a complement, says you’ve done a good job or that you’re great, say thank you and let it seep in. Quell that instant reaction of rejection, and soak it up. For me, it really helped to remind myself “this is a gift from someone, don’t just shove it back”.

What’s boosted your confidence? I’d love to hear.

And if you’re not there yet, don’t struggle alone. This is a fundamental part of my coaching and I’d love to help you feel good about yourself, play to your strengths, and go for what you really want. Let’s talk.

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