I’ve got confidence on the brain at the moment. I’ve been doing a lot of things in the first quarter of 2020 that are really pushing my comfort zone in terms of confidence and it’s, honestly, feeling pretty amazing. But something important I want to reiterate is that when it comes to confidence, it is all about small steps.
I didn’t suddenly decide I wanted to do public speaking, workshops and radio interviews. I didn’t wake up one morning and think, OK, I’m ready to do these things – let’s go!
It’s been a long journey to get here and the journey has been made up of tiny, incremental steps. And I’m still on my own confidence journey, I’m still learning and definitely don’t feel confident all the time. Part of building confidence, I’ve noticed, is doing something even when you’re scared.
Before we get to that though, let’s start at the beginning.
It all starts with self-acceptance
Before you can get to self-belief and confidence, you have to start with self-acceptance and self-worth. You don’t have to love who you are every minute of the day, but if you can become more mindful of the way you talk to yourself and start treating yourself kinder, you’ll be on the right track.
Many people like to use affirmations at this point to start challenging their self-talk. You may also want to try journalling, I like to note down three things I’ve done well at the end of each day. This is a small way you can start changing the way you see yourself and what you’re capable of. You may also want to explore practices like yoga and meditation which can connect you with yourself and help you feel more compassionate towards yourself.
Note: For some of us, this part is the hardest, especially if you have poor mental health, went through trauma or were bullied. Counselling can be a real support here if you’re finding it difficult.
Lean in to what makes you different
I wrote a piece for Happiful at the start of this year about confidence in 2020 and both myself and the coach I interviewed agreed that confidence is all about accepting yourself for who you are and refusing to fit into the typical ‘confident’ mould society puts upon us.
Confidence isn’t about being loud, it’s about being comfortable with who you are and your views. Acknowledging that we’re all unique is key, and for us to all lean into that.
This is something I’m realising the more I learn about public speaking. There’s no one ‘correct’ way to speak. Some of the most powerful speeches are littered with what some would call ‘mistakes’. It’s more about the speaker, what they radiate and the passion behind the words.
Nudge the edge of your comfort zone
To build confidence, you have to start nudging the edge of your comfort zone. The only way to prove to yourself that you *can* do something, is by doing. This doesn’t mean you should throw yourself in the deep end and overwhelm yourself though. All that will do is scare you off completely.
Start with small challenges and build slowly from there. You will feel scared when you do these challenges, but from my experience the build-up is always worse than the challenge itself. Every time you complete a challenge, really note how it makes you feel. The next time a challenge comes up, remind yourself how you felt last time. Focus on that feeling of reward.
Gather evidence and reflect often
Every time you complete a challenge you set yourself, you’re gathering evidence that you can do the thing that scares you. To help you remember these challenges, make notes, screenshot photos/messages and add to your self-belief evidence bank.
I really loved a recent episode of the Friends with Business Benefits podcast where Franky and Charlie were talking about coming back from a confidence knock. In the episode Franky mentioned some advice she was given to write a letter to yourself when you’re feeling calm and confident so you can read it when you’re having a wobble. This is such a wonderful idea and helps you give yourself a pep-talk.
Reflect on your achievements regularly and use this as a tool to bolster your confidence when you need it.
Take it slow
As I said at the start of this post, the journey to confidence is a long, ongoing one. You have to start slow and be wary of pushing yourself too far too fast. If you read my last newsletter you’ll know I likened this idea to skating on thin ice. If you go too fast towards the middle, you’ll fall through the ice.
Take it slow, start at the edges where the ice is thicker and enjoy the skate.
In this month’s newsletter I’m going to be talking about coping with change and uncertainty, and how we can deal with what’s happening with the coronavirus outbreak. I’ll also be offering newsletter subscribers a first look and exclusive discount on my new coaching packages which launch on Monday 30th March.
If you want to receive that, make sure you subscribe before Sunday 29th March.
I’ll be back next week with a podcast reminding you it’s OK to go slow and this month’s mindscape story. Until then, take care.
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