I'm obsessed with the subject of confidence at the moment. The more I think about it, the more I realise it's such a crucial skill to develop if we want to live a bigger, bolder life.
What is it about confidence that makes it such an attractive feeling and way of being?
Here are some of the reasons why I believe confidence is so important:
1. We teach people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves
If you show up in the world by treating yourself with respect, by talking about yourself in a kind, loving way - you usually have that kind of overflow to liking the other person and showing up and liking and acknowledging them.
This usually leads to better quality relationships and deeper connections with people.
2. Confidence suggests leadership
Most of us are leaders in some form or other in our life.
As humans and pack animals, we want to find the leader and follow her. Confidence is one of the traits of a leader.
When someone is in a leadership space in our minds, we listen to them.
We follow them, and we enjoy the feeling of being led around the things we want to improve on.
If you don't have confidence, people usually don't want to follow you.
3. It exudes positivity that is attractive
We love to be around people who help us feel better.
Confident people have positive thoughts about themselves, which in turn create positive thoughts towards others.
I’m not talking about arrogant people who say "I'm better than everybody else. They're a loser. I'm the best."
That comes from a place of insecurity, trying to be better than everybody else.
That is not true confidence.
I believe confidence is a flow-on effect from living your life on purpose, with meaning and aligned to your highest values.
I've been researching confidence and listening to a number of audiobooks on the subject and I've come to realise that having more confidence is something that most people want - but not everyone is actively trying to create.
Here are 3 big mistakes that people make when it comes to confidence:
Hustling for worthiness
Hustling for worthiness is all about feeling the need to have external validation, or looking / being / acting a certain way in order to gain approval, love, belonging, success, etc.
This is rife in our social media-driven society.
And the constant comparison trap is costing people greatly.
When I left NZ in 2009 to move to London, I realised that I really lacked confidence. I had such low self-worth and I knew it - so I decided to read loads of books about confidence.
But what I realised - is that confidence can’t be learned just from a book. It mostly comes from taking action - and running at your dreams and fears.
I threw myself in the deep-end and went for it. I started doing the things that scared me. And I quickly went from a shy, introverted, nervous girl, to a woman who now stands on stage regularly and doesn't feel that fear anymore.
The second mistake people make is this:
Thinking that confidence is something you have to go and GET
We are all born being able to do things - we can wriggle, we can cry, we can fill our nappy. We have inherent and unconscious confidence around these things because we can already do them.
As we grow up, we become confident in other activities as we learn them, like dressing ourselves, learning to read and write and tie our shoelace.
Then, we learn fear, doubt and worry. It is modelled to us by adults and we copy it!
Many of us think that we need to be able to do all the things we want to do perfectly, in order to feel confident. But that's a lie.
The truth is, you already HAVE confidence!
Think of a time when you felt confident - a specific time. Imagine that time now and notice what you were seeing, feeling and hearing when you felt confident.
You have just accessed the fact that you are capable of feeling confident. If you can do it once, you can do it again.
Your confidence is already in you - it's your choice when you want to use it and experience more of it.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to wanting to building their confidence, is this: Thinking confidence is something we have to go and get.
The fact is, True confidence does not come from outside you - it's an inside job.
Often, negative self-talk stems from expectations and comparison.
Expectations can arise from feeling as though you "should" look, be, sound or act a certain way. This might be due to your roles such as a partner, role-model or Mum, or profession such as a speaker, business owner or yoga instructor. Or it could be because of what others around you are like.
Expectations also pop up when you think you need to be in a different (usually much better) place than you are.
You wonder why you’re not there yet or you’re taking longer than you thought to arrive.
Or you start to question if you have it in you to achieve what it is you really want.
Comparison often arises when you look at someone else's life, body or possessions with judgment or jealousy, or you look at a previous version of your own.
Then you start to talk unkindly to yourself – doing the internal beat-up and speaking to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t to your best friends.
This is hugely detrimental to your relationship with yourself and also has a flow-on effect to how you treat other people.
Here are 3 of my top tips to help you overcome these common mistakes and start to increase your confidence - fast:
1. When you feel unconfident, ask yourself what the block is that's in the way
Based on the fact that you're already confident, get specific on the exact thought that is stopping you feeling it. Usually, it's an unconscious or semi-conscious sentence or belief in your mind.
Maybe it's "I haven't done it before, so I might get it wrong"
or "I'm just a quiet, shy person"
or "It's just me, I can't change"
These are all limiting beliefs. Get specific on what it is coming up for you to bring awareness to it and then choose another more empowering belief.
Writing it down can be really helpful for this.
2. DECIDE to be a confident person
I know, it sounds too simple. But it really can be that easy.
As psychologist Amy Cuddy says "Fake it until you become it"
Speak to yourself like you already are confident. Tell yourself you’re confident.
SAY it to yourself with conviction, like it’s a DONE DEAL
If you want confidence - know that it's on it's way! It’s going to happen.
People say to me - "But how do you know it's going to happen?"
And I say "Because why else would you want it?"
If we want something, it’s because we can have it!
3. Prove to yourself that you can trust yourself
When you commit to doing something and DO it, you start to TRUST yourself more.
When you trust yourself more and honour the commitments you make to yourself, you start to LIKE yourself more. When you like yourself more - you feel more CONFIDENT.
I'm not talking about arrogance, thinking you're better than someone else - I'm talking about genuinely liking yourself.
When you speak kindly to yourself and honour and respect yourself, you will be able to treat others in the same way - and as a result, as a by-product, you will feel more confident.
And that’s a massive win!
Which of the 3 mistakes have you been making?
Which one of the 3 confidence tips resonates the most with you?
Take some time to do some journalling about this and decide on a simple action step you can take to put this tip into practice.
You got this!