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Five ways to build confidence

Who doesn't want to be more confident? Most people I speak to or work with would like more confidence to make changes, to reach further, to live with less rumination and anxiety.

So how do you get it?

Growing up, people would always tell me 'Just have more confidence and you'll be great'. No one actually told me how to build my confidence though.

Confidence is personal. It is not something you can touch or see, yet many of us so desperately want more of it. It has the promise of helping you achieve our dreams. When you have it, you'll apply for the job, you'll leave the relationship, you'll take the risk. But it feels so far out of reach. There may be days when there are glimmers of this elusive confidence, but it vanishes again without warning.

Confidence is not mystical. You can have more of it. You can build it, practice it and exude it.

But it is not something someone else can give you. It comes from within you.

Confidence is something I work with almost all of my clients on. Whether it’s the confidence to speak up in meetings, to go for a promotion or simply to build inner confidence and self-belief, it seems we’re all chasing an increase in confidence.

There is no one practice (and yes, it is a practice) that has the solution. There are some small techniques, which when used regularly, are successful for providing a lift in confidence. Even more successful, though is a broader practice of gaining understanding of yourself and accepting yourself for who you are. When you have self-acceptance, you find an inner confidence that 'I am ok'.

Confidence has always been something I felt I lacked. I was shy and introverted at school and didn’t want to stand out so I hid in the back. I thought for that reason, I couldn’t be a confident person. I see this a lot with people who tend to value quiet and calm. They believe that to be confident you have to be loud and showy and shouty. Some of the most quiet, calm and reserved people I know are confident. Confident in their abilities, confident in their communication, confident in who they are and who they are not. They don’t need to shout about anything to exude confidence. They simply know themselves.

Here are five practices I've come to know help me (and others) build confidence:

1. Focus on your strengths

At school, we're often taught to improve on our weaknesses and we carry this into our adult life too. But doing more of what we're good at builds our confidence. Identify 5 of your top strengths and try to use these more over the coming week. Try talking more about your skills and strengths too and don't shy away from sharing when you are good at something.

2. Celebrate your wins

Our negativity bias wants to focus on when things haven't gone well. This doesn't help us feel confident. So practice looking out purposefully for the successes in your day or week. These can be big or small - whatever you deem a success. Try capturing 3 wins a day - either sharing them with someone else, writing them down or simply acknowledging them to yourself. Noticing when things go well, helps us feel braver about future challenges.

3. Notice your negative inner voice

You may have a few names for this voice - nagging nelly, shitty committee, imposter voice, Brian (?!). Whatever you call yours, the rumination and constant negative commentary that it provides chips away at self-belief. Notice this by reflecting on your day and honing in on the messages your negative inner voice says to you. Start to pause, and see if you can replace it with a new or different perspective. It can help to step into the shoes of a friend or loved one and ask yourself 'What would they say about this situation?'. It isn't easy and takes time to change that narrative, and using the perspective of someone else can help you begin this practice.

4. Trust yourself

Confidence means to trust yourself - start to build this inner trust by checking in with yourself regularly. Before you gather others' opinions and advice, ask yourself 'what do I think here?' 'what would work best for me?' 'what needs do I have in this situation?'. The more you learn to tune in to yourself, the greater your trust will become. You are the expert on your own life!

5. Surround yourself with cheerleaders

Have you heard that quote 'You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with?' - if that is the case, are you spending time with people who cheer for you, have your back and raise you up? Find your tribe by writing a list of the people who drain your energy, and those who lift you up. Plan ways to spend more time with your energy 'radiators' rather than your energy 'drains'.

At 'empower' you will be surrounded with like-minded women who support and learn together. Imagine feeling topped up with self-belief and feeling confident in who you are. In just half a day you could have the tools and techniques to have just that.

My workshop creates a safe group setting, we will explore all things confidence to give you new insights to your relationship with self-belief at work. A combination of private reflection and group coaching will enable a deep level of learning.

And sharing with others helps to gain perspectives into your own experiences.

Developing awareness and self-acceptance is a big part of finding the confidence and self belief that you need to step forward, speak up or simply do the things we want to do. There are many tools to help you on your journey, and finding the ones that work for you is key. Empower explores multiple tools and techniques that are known for building lasting confidence. Come along and start building your confidence today.

Or if you want to delve deeper into confidence, get in touch.

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