Many of my clients come to me struggling because they don’t feel they have the confidence to do what they want in their life or in their business. One woman, in particular, stands out in my mind. She’d had her business for years but wasn’t getting anywhere with it.
Now in her sixties, she was worried that she’d never reach the goals she’d set for herself. She wanted her business to take off but it seemed like she couldn’t do the things necessary to get that side hustle to make enough money so that she could quit her full-time job.
Fear and worry dominated just about every waking thought. She continually dissected all the possible things that could go wrong in any situation. Not surprisingly, she was always on edge, which had a huge impact on her health and that in turn affected her drive to do anything. Instead of taking steps to support her business, she spent most of her time locked away in her house because she didn’t have the energy to do more.
Confidence is not something you have, it’s something you create.
Waiting for enough confidence to do something you really want, is like waiting for the pot of gold to magically appear at the end of the rainbow. It’s never going to happen.
You have to generate confidence and that starts in your head.
Your brain responds to two things: the things you say and the images you create in your mind.
If the stories you tell yourself are all doom and gloom, confidence is going to be hard to establish. The stories we tell ourselves are usually over generalized. The dialogue tends toward extremes like always or a never, and that is rarely true.
You have to check your thoughts and call BS where it needs to be called. Find the times when the story you’re telling yourself about your life wasn’t or isn’t true. There’s a time in there somewhere when you had success in that exact area you want more confidence in. And if not that specific area, then one like it. Use that to form the basis of a new story to tell yourself instead, and one that’s founded in truth.
Confidence isn’t built in wishing, it’s built in doing.
The bottom line is, you just have to start. Take that first small step. Keep doing it. Keep practising. Your confidence builds as you take action and get better and better with skill, no matter what it is.
It’s always a little nerve-wracking at the beginning, but just like riding a bike, the only way to do it is to jump on and start going. Maybe it’s with training wheels at first, and that’s okay. You do what you have to do to gain your success. With every success you win, your confidence will build and when the training wheels come off, you’ll start flying.
Confidence comes with knowledge.
That means you have to get out there and learn something new. If there’s something you really want to do, immerse yourself in it. Learn everything you can about it. Experience it. Talk to other people who have been doing that thing for years and get the tips and tricks they’ve learned along the way.
The more you know about it, the more confident you will feel. The more you experience it and do it, the more rote it becomes in your body, until you don’t even have to think about it anymore. Just like driving a car, it becomes a natural thing for you. And when it’s natural, the confidence will be there.
Confidence is a feeling you can harness.
Think about a time when you were confident. What did it feel like? What was your posture like? Guaranteed, you weren’t slumped over, feeling small. You were standing tall, with you shoulders back. You spoke loud enough to be heard because your energy was high. All you have to do is mimic that feeling again in your body to feel confidence.
The mind and body have an amazing connection. When your body feels a certain way, your mind gives it thoughts to match. Just think about a time when you were mad about something. Inside your body, the energy was raging. As your mind checked in with your body, it sent you thought after thought to keep the momentum going. You probably even spiralled into scenarios that hadn’t even happened, just to keep that angry fire stoked. It was only when you were distracted by something else, or consciously switched what you were thinking that the connection to the emotion was broken and the feeling subsided.
You can do the same thing to build confidence. Simply think about other times when your confidence was high. Move your body into a confident posture. Do your best Superman or Wonder Woman pose. Really get into the picture in your memory of your most confident moment, you will immediately feel your body take on those feelings.
The smallest step makes a difference.
My client had practised her non-confident thought process for so long that we had to take baby steps to create some momentum for her. Really, really small.
In fact, the first steps had nothing to do with what she wanted for her business. We started by getting her to do one thing each day on the weekend to get out of the house to do something fun, even if that was just going to the coffee shop five minutes away and buying a latte then coming back home. No excuses allowed. Just doing that was a win for her. Then we built on the wins from there.
It’s important to remember we all have different tolerance levels for change. You have to work within yours in order to be successful. Go too far or take on too much and you step into overwhelm, and that will work against you. It’s better to start small because it’s a start.
Every step you take toward building greater confidence is a step in the right direction. All that matters is that you take the first step, and then the next, and then the next. Then, before you know it, you’ll be far more comfortable with it and a lot more confident too.