Confidence is a funny one isn’t it? Not feeling confident can be one of the biggest things that holds you back from achieving the things you want to – starting or growing a business, applying for a new job, joining a gym even, there’s so many areas of life that confidence comes into play.
Confidence means ‘the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something’ – in this case we’re talking about belief and faith in ourselves, which is easier said than done!
Confidence or lack thereof, was a big problem for me as a child. I was quiet and quite often labeled as shy, generally I didn’t have a lot of self confidence.
Confidence has been one of those things I’ve really had to work at, and I know I’ll probably be working on it for the rest of my life! I have come a long way since my school days and I’d generally say I’m fairly confident now. I can stand in a room full of people and talk – something that believe me would have given me palpitations a few years ago!
But confidence isn’t just the ability to stand in front of people and talk, it’s so much more than that. It’s an inner resilience that knows you can handle what life throws at you, it’s the self believe that you can deal with shit!
So what helped me grow my confidence and what am I doing now to keep on growing it? Here’s a few tips for anyone who feels like need a bit of a confidence boost…
Gently push out your comfort zone
I know this is awful (literally having to make yourself feel uncomfortable!) but pushing out that comfort zone in a kind and measured way will really help you feel more confident. The trick I’ve found with this is to know what you respond to best. If ‘go big or go home’ is your jam then go for it, but I’m guessing if you’re reading this article about confidence that will just feel too much! I like to approach this in a small and steady way, with little out of comfort zone tasks, perhaps one a week. Maybe that’s making a tricky phone call, sending an email to someone you respect, posting on social media, doing your first live chat or first Instagram story with your face on it!
What’s the worst case / best case scenario
Asking myself what the worst case scenario would be if I did something is really helpful to take away the fear. Often the worst thing is that I’ll look like a bit of an idiot! And when you then consider the best case scenario and how much taking a certain action could benefit you, and the chances of the worst case actually happening – you can move forward with a little more confidence.
Look at areas where you already feel confident
Most people will feel more confident in some areas and not in others – ask yourself why you feel more confident there, and not here? What lead to you feeling confident in that area? Can you apply lessons from that situation to the area you feel a lack of confidence?
Keep a brag list
This is a lovely idea I got from my friend Nicola at A Life More Inspired. Keeping a list of all the awesome things you’ve done and achieved, no matter how small they may feel is a great way to grow your inner confidence in your abilities. Make sure you keep checking back and celebrate all those achievements!
Identify your expanders
I came across the concept of expanders in the work of Lacy from Free & Native. Expanders are people who can see you in a way that you can’t see yourself. They know what you’re capable of and show you the way. They invite you to expand yourself and your confidence with it. When I look back over my life I’ve had several expanders who have helped me immensely. My former managers when I worked in the charity and community sector and now my business coach and in real life and online business friends. In the mastermind that I run, I want to take the role as an expander for others.
Sometimes you just have to say fuck it (not fuck it why bother!). This is a bit like the 5 second rule from Mel Robbins – give your brain enough time to engage and it will convince you why you should stay small and safe. When you can just think fuck it and act, then that’s a great way to show yourself what you’re really made of and with that your confidence will grow.
Overall in my experience what’s really grown my confidence is practice, practice, practice. The first time I had a call with a paying 1-2-1 client I was crapping myself. But now I jump on the phone with people with no anxiety before hand whatsoever – but that took time. Speaking in front of loads of people took time, doing live chats online took time. The more you do something the easier it will become and the more confident you’ll feel.
My Mum friends all say how much more confident they are as a Mum with their second than they were with their first because they’ve had practice and they’ve dealt with all sorts of situations successfully the first time round.
I’d love to know how you feel about confidence – where in life do you feel most confident and the least confident? Can you identify your expanders?