Confidence is not something you're born with, nor are many of us raised with the conditions that allow confidence to naturally flourish. You can probably relate to having an inner critic with a loud voice that can often drown out the voice of confidence within. When we feel stressed and our nervous system is in flight or fight mode and we get too busy at work our negative self talk gets ramped up and out of control. Even imposter syndrome which is a universal feeling of discomfort and second guessing one's success can chip away at your confidence. Without confidence we might not take those special opportunities that help us grow into new things.
The good news is confidence can be developed over time and being unsure does not necessarily need to be called a lack of confidence. Confidence is different to competence but can sometimes be seen by others as the same thing. Lastly you can practice the habits that lead to knowledge, skill and confidence and lean into building the kind of confidence that breaks through social barriers, gives you opportunities to shine and leads to professional growth and success.
11 life coaching strategies to help you increase confidence in your life, leadership and career.
1. Practice facing into what your lack of confidence in an area; you can only improve with practice and the practice leads to knowledge and confidence.
2. Feel the fear; orient toward feelings of fear so they are not perpetuated and you don't waste valuable energy trying to avoid or resist the fear of the unknown.
3. Notice where the edge in your performance exists; this will require some self-awareness but as you navigate through learning new things you will find a sweet spot just before fear increases to the point the performance drop offs, this means you have gone too far! Find your peak performance edge.
4. Take small pauses with the breath and make short spaces to back off from the edge to renew energy and reset.
5. Use your breath and move the body to let the mind know there is no need to panic. Smiling, movement, and slower breaths reduce the panic reflex and are great for public speaking. I used to be a Toastmaster!
6. Open up your body language as it produces hormones that have traditionally been associated with dominance and confidence over your environment.
7. Have an affirmation in mind that is positive and encouraging, "I've got this", "I can do it."
8. Be playful and don't entertain negative thoughts and the inner critic, notice when it is there and try not to resist it but don't invite it into the drivers seat either. Allowing fear into your passenger seat lets your mind and body know you're aware but you're in control and can be more equanimous.
9. Reframe any negative thoughts into positive narratives that provide a sense of curiosity over the challenge being faced. For example, "I know this worries me but I am also curious and excited to see what is on the other side."
10. Always be yourself and allow yourself the time and space to navigate the learning environment authentically, try to release others expectations.
11. Take up a growth mindset of "not yet" when you notice you have made mistakes or failed. These are opportunities to learn, they are not permanent if you keep going and when you're on the pathway of growth it is inevitable that it will happen.
Putting these life coaching tips into practice will increase your energy and create a positive upward spiral and before long you will notice the difference in your life and relationships. Often those who exude confidence are just more skilled at facing into their difficulties and not letting it limit their potential. A healthy confidence can be developed and coaching can help you discover how. As a leading Australian professional coach and mindfulness teacher I recommend you try one or two of these strategies per week and have little reminders on your calendar at the start of the day to motivate you.