Confidence

How not to get discouraged when trying to foster more confidence

In today’s world where results are expected to be instant – this attitude fueled by both technology and the media – it is often forgotten that most things worthwhile take time. It is true that you can have breakthroughs and instant results (especially when Tony Robbins is your personal coach) but a little patience is usually required when developing a new habit, trait or skill. If you want to speed up this process try thinking of your reason why every time you feel discouraged to motivate you and picture yourself achieving the goal.

 

Often when we work towards something like fostering more confidence we can overly berate ourselves for stumbles along the way and fail to praise ourselves enough for the small wins. So every time you catch your inner critic saying something like ‘you got that wrong’ or ‘look, you did it again’ just roll your eyes and take no notice! For a more in depth look at silencing our inner critic please read my self-compassion article titled ‘How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend’.

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Are people ever born naturally confident?

I was shocked to discover that recent studies have seemed to suggest that genes account for 50% of how confident we are in adulthood (Steve Suomi of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)). However this isn’t to say that we can’t cultivate more confidence and nurture ourselves in such a way as to promote a healthy level of internal confidence – I believe if anything this preliminary finding means that actively fostering more confidence is even more important for those of us that lack in this area.

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Why confidence can increase with age (and how to speed up the process)

The one thing I’ve found is that in many ways confidence increases with age. I’m not referring to the youthful type of confidence which verges on arrogance and is rife with insecurity; I’m speaking of the type of confidence that is calmly self-assured, the type that whispers rather than shouts.

 

The type which tells you that you are exactly who you were always meant to be and makes you comfortable in your own skin, making no excuses or apologies for who you are and realizing that if anyone objects it is of no consequence to you, it being more of a reflection upon them than you. This is internal confidence at its best.

 

For those in their twenties who do not share this type of internal confidence this may be reassuring however you needn’t just sit and wait for internal confidence to naturally develop as there are definite steps you can take to speed up this process.

 

Try this quick little exercise and you may well be on your way!

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How to begin enjoying being the center of attention on occasion

For those of us less confident being the center of attention can be hard, especially on big occasions like birthdays or even big events like weddings. The temptation is to avoid such gatherings but what you resist, persists, actually getting worse through the very act of avoidance.

 

In light of this today I wanted to challenge you to commit to organizing yourself a birthday party this year. It can be something as simple as a meal out or even drinks but the more people you invite the better to add a sense of occasion to the celebration and have you be the center of attention. If you could do this every year it would be amazing practice for other big events, like your graduation or even when you tie the knot!

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Party Talk: What to do when intimidated by a group of confident extroverts

We’ve all been there, surrounded by confident extroverts at a party, not quite knowing how to match their confidence but feeling as though you need to. Fear not, the answer is alarmingly simple! Ask questions and let them talk. Smile and ask some more. Before you know it they will be asking you questions in turn and hey presto, you are holding your own in conversation. If someone interjects, let them.

 

Don’t be afraid to voice your own opinion, even if it is different to theirs and give reasons for your perspective in a confident way whilst also allowing others room for their own differing opinions. Remember there is no wrong or right when it comes to opinions – just different perspectives – so remain true to who you are without any fear others may think you are wrong.

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How to stop comparing yourself to your more confident counterparts

It’s natural to start comparing yourself to others when you see them with a quality you desire. Soon feelings of inadequacy or resentment may build up with statements running around your head like ‘it’s so easy for them, they don’t even need to try’ or ‘why can’t I be more like that?’

 

As cliché as it may sound no one’s life is perfect and you very well may have strengths they lack  – indeed they may be facing difficulty in other areas that you know nothing about. That doesn’t make you better or worse, just simply different, so before you compare yourself a better question to ask is perhaps, could I learn something from them?

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Why Internal Confidence is the Most Important Form of Confidence

In this series I frequently talk about both internal and external confidence. Whilst developing external confidence is liberating, the ultimate aim of fostering external confidence is to have it positively impact your internal confidence.

 

When most people talk of confidence they are referring to internal confidence as only when confidence is experienced internally is it lasting and seen to be genuine. The aim therefore is to work on our internal confidence first and foremost whilst also developing our external confidence for situations whereby we may be more shy or lacking in confidence. The idea is that the more we practice external confidence, the more internal confidence we will develop.

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Taking Acting Classes

Ok so you may not have any desire to be the next Kate Winslet but if you suffer from insecurities, shyness or a general lack of confidence acting classes may be just the thing for you! I know that for many who are shy or lack confidence acting classes may be a daunting prospect but they will be worth the investment I promise. Think of it like ripping off a plaster, you can either do it slowly (being shy or lacking confidence long term whereby it could inhibit your quality of life) or rip it off which may initially be sore however in the long run will hurt much less (i.e. acting classes).

 

Acting classes will encourage you to lose your inhibitions, talk to larger than life characters and also teach you how to act confident even when you might not feel confident.

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How shyness can inhibit and how confidence can set you free to be you

 

True confidence comes from within and can liberate you to vocalize and present your authentic self to the world. Whilst shyness is sometimes perfectly natural, if it is chronic and indiscriminate it can inhibit us whereby we fall short of being our true selves.

 

Throughout the series we will be looking at ways we can develop lasting confidence, but here are a few tips if you often feel shy around others:

 

  • Don’t admit you’re shy
  • Don’t label yourself as shy, thereby limiting your self-identity
  • Tell your inner critic it’s not needed anymore
  • Ask questions and let others do the legwork in conversation
  • Consider taking acting classes

 

It’s worth remembering though that shyness isn’t a flaw in any way – it is simply an inhibited state and is neither good nor bad. I would encourage you to only work on your shyness and becoming more confident if you feel it is limiting the quality of your social interactions or personal emotional state.

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Myth busters: Confident People Are Always Confident, No Matter What

Even usually confident people can enter a situation which makes them nervous – an interview for a dream job, meeting the parents of your partner for the first time, even public speaking can inspire otherwise confident people to become nervous. The old myth that confident people are confident 100% of the time is simply not true. So the next time you’re nervous, remember, you’re in good company!

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