Updated: Oct 21, 2020
I've been coaching for about 23 years now, with formal ‘certification’ for over 12 years now, way before it became mainstream, and I’ve learned so many things. But one of the most important things I've learned - for my clients and myself - is that confidence is a critical ingredient to so much in life.
Because I’ve been around the block a few times, I’ve seen all kinds of strategies, ways of thinking, tips and tricks for feeling better about yourself, but in complete honesty… they're all redundant. People just find fancy ways to say the same things. And even if you actually did all those neat mental tricks… none of it matters if the foundation isn't there.
Foundation? Yep. Your core… what’s deep inside of you. The little voice that’s either cheering you on or talking trash about you. It’s the real you, the you that exists deep down. The trick is that it takes confidence to get to that ‘you’, and bring her out, and nurture her. Here are some things to help with that.
1. Get To Know Your "Non-Negotiables"
I call personal values your "Non-Negotiables", that line in the sand that you just won't cross, or let anybody else for that matter. and they're a big passion of mine; I often get carried away with myself when I talk about them. I make no apology for that though – they’re one of the most important things you can understand about yourself and are vital to developing genuine inner confidence. Your values are at the very core of who you are as a person. A value is something inside yourself, in others or in the world that’s most important to you and partly makes you who you are. and could include things like respect, progress, family, fun, nature, achievement or freedom.
Why is it that some people and situations leave you feeling angry, frustrated, disappointed, or hurt? It’s because one or more of your values, your is being denied, suppressed or repressed – and we experience that as a negative experience because it’s denying a fundamental piece of who you are. You know those times when you’ve felt really alive, amazing or buzzing? Those are the times when one or more of your values are being honored, and you can get more of that by living according to them.
Your values are all yours, and no matter what happens, no one can ever take them away. You can have absolute confidence in them because they’re there all the time just waiting for you to notice them and use them. When you get to know your values, you can start to make choices and align your life around them. It’s so simple and it feels amazing because all that really means is that you’re allowing who you are to live in the real world.
2. Trust 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 do the best thing and make great choices? How about trusting your own insights and using your own intuition? I’ve seen those 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.
But the fact is that we all make mistakes and we’ll all continue to make mistakes. So how would it be if you could trust yourself to get through anything and trust yourself to continue making choices that serve you well – even if sometimes you screw up? That’s the kind of trust I’m talking about, and that’s genuine inner confidence.
Start by listening to yourself and noticing what your intuition is telling you. Be aware of that little voice inside you or those gut reactions you get and pay attention to what they’re telling you. Trust yourself to make decisions, trust yourself to adapt and trust that you’re good enough to have, do or be whatever you want. True confidence will follow.
3. Exercise Your Muscles
Think of confidence as a muscle – well, in a way it is actually, and it needs exercise just like any other muscle in your body; that’s how it becomes strong. Just like you work your legs and your biceps to get strong and toned, you do the same for your confidence. But how? It’s not like you can just point to it! There’s no ‘confidence press’ machine like the ones in the gym for your legs. So just how do you exercise your confidence? By pushing yourself to do things that are designed to work that muscle until you see the results you were looking for.
You have to get into the practice of stretching yourself. It’s just the same with confidence.