As a confidence coach I know that there are all kinds of strategies, ways of thinking, patterns of behaviour and practical tips for improving your life and feeling better about yourself, but they’re all as useful as a concrete parachute if the foundation isn’t there first. The foundation is the real you; the sparkly, shiny, naturally confident you that – way down deep – you know yourself to be.
Here are 3 ways to find your inner confidence.
- Get to Know What You’re Made of
I’ll often get carried away with myself when I start talking about personal values, for the simple reason that they’re one of the most important things you can know about yourself and are absolutely vital in getting real inner confidence. When it comes to values, I make no apology for waving my arms around or talking too quickly.
Your personal values are ten thousand feet down inside you, right at the very core of who you are. They’re the things in yourself, in others or in the world that’s most important to you, and could include things like respect, progress, family, fun, nature, achievement, freedom or a million other things. They’re the building blocks, the foundations and cornerstones for you.
Why do you think that some people and situations leave you feeling angry, frustrated, demotivated or deflated? It’s because one or more of your values is being denied, suppressed or repressed (or one of those ‘ess’ words) and you experience that negatively because it’s denying a fundamental piece of who you are. How about those times when you’ve felt really alive, amazing or buzzing? Those are the times when you’re plugged into one of your values or when one or more of your values are being expressed. Get more of that feeling by living according to your values.
Your values are hardwired into you and no matter what happens no one can ever take them away. You can have absolute trust in them because they’re there all the time just waiting for you to notice them and use them. Get to know your values and you can start to make choices with them in mind and to align your life around them. It’s such a simple strategy, and it feels fantastic because you’re allowing who you are right at your core to live in the real world.
- Listen to Yourself
People spend too much time looking for signs that they’re doing the right thing or on the right path. Sometimes we get that by hearing that we’re doing well at work, sometimes it could be encouragement from a friend or loved one, and sometimes we get that feedback by seeing our material wealth or possessions growing.
But rather than looking on the outside for those signs, how about looking on the inside at what you’re telling yourself? How about trusting yourself to make great choices? How about trusting your own insights and using your own intuition? I’ve seen these ideas scare the bejeezus out of people and you know why? Because it makes you accountable and responsible for what you get. If you trust yourself implicitly and you make the wrong choice, you’ve got nobody else to blame.
The simple fact is that we all make mistakes and we’ll all continue to make mistakes, but how would it be if you could trust yourself to get through anything and trust yourself to continue making choice, even if you sometimes screw up? That’s the kind of trust I’m talking about, and that’s genuine inner confidence.
Self-trust only comes when you listen to yourself and what your intuition is telling you. When you really listen it becomes easier to trust yourself to make decisions, to trust yourself to roll with the punches and to trust that you’re good enough to deal with whatever happens. True confidence follows.
- Exercise the Muscle
Confidence is a muscle, and like any muscle you need to exercise it so that it doesn’t shrink and atrophy. The problem is that unlike your biceps or glutes, which tend to stay in the same place, your confidence muscle can be harder to find. How do you develop your biceps or firm up your glutes? By doing exercises that are designed to develop that muscle over a period of time.
It’s just the same with confidence. Let’s say that you’re the kind of person that doesn’t take many risks, the kind of person who goes through each day doing what needs to be done and doing it well, but not really stretching yourself. You might talk yourself out of doing something because it’s too scary or because you think to yourself ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘that’s not who I am‘ or ‘I don’t really want it anyway‘. You live within what you know and you generally stay within a zone of safety and comfort.
The fewer risks you take, the less confident you need to be and so the less confident you become.
To work your confidence muscle you need to be prepared to take risks, big or small. You need to be willing to stretch yourself in a new direction, to try something new or try something in a slightly different way. You need to open yourself up to the possibilities around you and push yourself to increase what you know, what you do and even who you are.
The more open you are to risk, opportunity and possibility the more confident you need to be, and so the more confidence you’ll develop.
That’s how your confidence muscle works – so the big question now is, what are you going to do to exercise yours?