10 ways to increase self-belief and confidence
Whenever I’ve had to make a major decision in my life, I’ve gone to other people for their opinion. Yet deep down I already knew the answer. So why, when faced with a major decision do we often feel the need to seek help from others, gather their opinions and run the risk of feeling even more confused than we were in the first place?
This can be due to a lack of self-belief and confidence in our own decisions. We crave validation from others when we already know the answer ourselves. We’re like the leaves of the tree swaying in the wind, being blown in different directions by the opinions of others instead of standing strong and unswaying like the trunk of the tree.
Lack of confidence and self-belief is very common and even the most outwardly-appearing confident people can experience it at certain points in their lives. So what can we do to re-claim our inner strength and self-belief?
1. Trust your instinct
Know that your ‘gut instinct’ is often right. Our guts aren’t just for digesting, they are also our immune system and our second brain and a hub for our unconscious thoughts! From my NLP training I have learned the power of the unconscious mind and that it always serves to protect us. Which is why our instincts are so often right, even when we choose to ignore them. Reflect back to previous times when you know your gut instinct was right even when you didn’t follow it at the time. Ask yourself how often has it been right? When you remember how many times that your instinct was right in the past, you will be more inclined to trust it in the future.
2. Give yourself time to think
Don’t make a decision in a hurry, buy yourself some time especially if you are being pressured. If it’s a important decision, other people will understand. Then take some time to tune into your feelings about the decision. Look at your options and consider the pros and cons of each. Writing down your thoughts can help to gain more clarity. However, still tune into your instinct.
I don’t mean sit cross-legged on the floor, just clear your mind for a few minutes and focus on your breathing either before you start to think through your decision or afterwards. Clearing your mind even for just a few minutes can really help to calm the nervous system and help you to make a decision from a clearer perspective.
4. Let go of your fear of failure
Failure doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. Failure is nothing more than a learning process. None of us know everything about everything and at points in our lives we’ll make a bad decision or a mistake. The trick is to not beat ourselves up about it but to ask ourselves what we can learn from it. Because it truly isn’t a reflection of us or our capabilities. We are each unique and amazing people with a lot to offer the world. Reflect back on the time you learned to walk as a child. When you fell over, did you give up and tell yourself you were a failure? Of course not, you got back up and tried again until there came a point when you could walk without falling. However, in adulthood we are much harder on ourselves, we berate ourselves and start with the negative self-talk. Much of this is due to social conditioning. We are taught at school, college and work to not make mistakes, to strive for academic or work success and we are often on the receiving end of criticism when we fail to live up to other peoples’ expectations. Yet the most successful entrepreneurs have made LOTS of mistakes in their careers, learned from them and moved on. So let go of your fear of failure and embrace it as a learning experience where you can rise up even stronger than you were before.
5. Challenge your negative thought patterns
One of THE things that can really hold us back from seizing opportunities and pushing past our fears is our negative thinking. It’s good practice to challenge our negative thoughts though it takes a lot of practice. Some great tips I’ve learned are whenever you notice your negative mind-chatter telling you things like ‘You can’t do that, you’re not good / clever / attractive enough’ to ask yourself ‘Who says?’ ‘Where’s the evidence?’ ‘According to whom?’. If you’re saying to yourself ‘X is a better person’ ask yourself ‘Better than whom? Better at what? Compared to whom, what?’. When you’re telling yourself ‘I should / shouldn’t x,y,z’ challenge with ‘What would happen if I didn’t / did?’ or ask yourself ‘Or what?’. You get the idea.
6. Celebrate your past achievements
Reflect on everything you’ve achieved in your life. When you really think about it you’ll be amazed at how much you really have achieved. Journal it if you like so that you can refer to it whenever you need to.
7. Set yourself achievable goals regularly
Build your confidence by setting yourself goals and breaking them down in to smaller milestones. Give yourself a huge pat on the back and celebrate whenever you successfully complete each milestone. This will really help to build your inner confidence and self-esteem.
8. Surround yourself with supportive people
People who don’t believe in you will not give you the best advice which is another reason to believe in yourself. People will give you advice based on their own insecurities, fears and limiting beliefs which is not something you want to take on board. Since becoming a coach, I have noticed that the people I come into contact with through my work – my peers and my own coach are all very supportive and encouraging people who believe in me and what I’m doing. That said, I still go by my own decisions and my gut instincts. Having that positive support around you can really boost your confidence.
9. Stop comparing yourself to others
We are all unique and no-one is better than anyone else. We are just different and we are at different points in our journeys and therefore have different levels of expertise. No-one is good at everything and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. So tune into your strengths – we all have something unique and valuable to offer. Identify what’s unique about you and focus on how you can use this to help others. One of my favourite quotes is ‘The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday’.
10. Practice positive self-talk, affirmations and gratitude
Instead of Why can’t I xxx or I’m not good enough etc, write down a list of things you like about yourself that make you feel good such as I am considerate, I’m a really good person, I’m brilliant at xxxx. Make sure you have between 5 and 10 things on your list and repeat it to yourself every day. This will really help to boost your confidence and self-belief.
Being thankful for what we DO have rather than focusing on what we don’t have is extremely powerful. Write a list of all the things you are thankful for – even things as simple as having electricity or an internet connection, which people in some parts of the world don’t have. Practising gratitude can really change your perception of the world and help you to attract more good things into it, which will in turn help you to instinctively make the right decision.
If you’re still struggling with confidence or self-belief and feel you need additional help, working with a certified NLP Life Coach can be very beneficial. For a FREE no-obligation Discovery Call, you can contact me at http://www.karenweldencoaching.com/contact/
Here’s to loving your work, loving your life, living your dreams.