Everyone struggles with his or her confidence from time to time, and as a confidence coach, I know this all too well, but for some of us, self-doubt and low self-esteem are constant companions scuppering our abilities to reach our potential.
But imagine if I told you that you could learn the skills you need to grow and maintain your confidence in just one week. Would you be willing to learn and practice them? I bet you would. These are skills that you will have to keep using and returning to time and again, but once you’ve learnt them, they are yours for life.
Day One: Be Willing to Believe Something New
One of the biggest barriers to confidence is the belief that “you either have it or you don’t.” So many of my clients believe that other people were born with the confidence they lack. But the truth is that you can grow and develop it like any other skill in life, so the first step to higher self-esteem is to drop your despair and disbelief and dare to believe that confidence can be yours in time. If you’re willing to do this, you have begun the lifelong journey to self-assurance.
Tip for the Day: Write, “Confidence can be mine!” on Post-it notes, and leave them in strategic places around your home (bathroom mirror, fridge door, front door, etc.). Set this phrase as a reminder on your phone and have it pop up several times throughout the week.
Day Two: Manage The Monkey
The number one barrier to self-confidence is believing the drivel fed to you by your inner critic (the monkey in your mind). If you believe what that voice in your head tells you, “Other people are better than me,” “I’m not good enough,” “Mistakes are bad” etc., you and your confidence will suffer. My book, Flying for Beginners (£8), discusses this in depth because it’s a life-changing process when you can manage that voice and learn to listen to something wiser.
Tip for the Day: Identify the voice in your head that constantly narrates what you are doing and compares you to everyone else. Notice it’s there, and when you catch it in action ask yourself if what it’s saying is really true.
Day Three: Do Esteemable Things
How do we grow our self-esteem? By doing esteemable things. Stand up for yourself, do something good for you, speak kindly about yourself, smile at the people you meet, buy a coffee for the homeless guy on the street, hold the door open for the person behind you—the more you fill your day with positive deeds, the more positive you will feel.
Tip for the Day: When you wake up, ask the universe/god/consciousness/goodness (whatever you want to call it) for opportunities to do esteemable things for yourself and others. Then let go and see what comes your way.
Day Four: Be Present
Most of our worrying and self-doubt (aka our lack of confidence) lives in the past or the future. What do I mean by this? Well, if you think about it, you are usually concerned about how you’ll cope in the future based on what went wrong in the past, right? However, if you ground yourself in the present, you will discover that everything is okay at the moment.
Tip for the Day:
Three times daily, ask yourself:
“What can I feel?”
“What can I smell?”
“What can I see?”
“What can I taste?”
“What can I hear?”
This exercise will bring you into the present moment, which is where your confidence always lives.
Day Five: Stop Comparing
Comparing a red rose to a daffodil is crazy, right? Both are flowers, but aside from that, they are completely different. Both are gorgeous in their own way. And yet, most of us waste our lives comparing ourselves to others. But like the daffodil and the rose, we are all different.
One trap most of my clients fall into is comparing their “insides” (how they feel) to everyone else’s “outsides” (the mask they present to the world). This is confidence suicide, especially in this time of social media mania and airbrushing madness.
Tip for the Day: Write a list of everything that makes you unique, and focus on giving your talents to the world. Remember that just because you don’t have that person’s thighs/eyes/butt/career/partner/home doesn’t mean they don’t envy your hair/friendships/kindness/legs/artistic ability/etc. Give up comparing and start focussing on what makes you, you.
3 Small Tricks for Stage Fright
Every now and then, stage fright can hit, whether it’s before a big presentation at work or a speech at your best friend’s wedding. Try these tricks:
Spend two minutes counting your breath and pausing at the top of each in-breath and at the bottom of each out-breath. The pause is what the yogis call “no mind” and is where we find deep peace of mind.
Stand tall: Research suggests that standing tall and confidently sends a message of strength and power to your brain and gives you a quick confidence boost.
Remind yourself that this is not a test! Assume the support of your audience—they want you to do well and genuinely don’t want to see you struggle.