The Secrets to Finding (and Keeping) Your Inner Confidence
As a twenty-one year old graduate trainee my manager said to me ‘The one thing that is holding you back Marie is your confidence; and the only person who can give you that is yourself.’
Some of us lack confidence from a young age, however we can all lose confidence at any stage in our life when faced with difficulties. Unless we fully believe in ourselves it is hard for others to believe in us, which then holds us back from achieving our full potential. Having self-confidence is one of the enablers to a happy and healthy life.
Over the years my confidence has ebbed and flowed however (I am pleased to say) that it is stronger than ever and is here to stay! Here are my top tips to help you find and retain your inner confidence:
1 – Know your strengths
Identify and really appreciate your own qualities and strengths.
According to Marcus Buckingham (the author of ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths’) a ‘strength’ is something that we are good at AND that we enjoy doing. A study by Gallup and Buckingham concluded that the most successful and fulfilled people in the world had built careers based on their strengths.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”
2 – Understand your values
Understanding your values (i.e. the key things that are important to you) will provide you with your own ‘moral’ compass throughout life. By spending time with people whose values align to yours also will help you feel secure, further increasing your confidence.
To identify your values, consider when you felt at your happiest, most proud and most fulfilled? What were you doing? Where were you? Who were you with? Prioritize your top 5-10 values based on these experiences (using the attached list of values to help you).
“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.”
~ R.E. Disney
3 – Discover your purpose
Understanding what drives and motivates you, and what you are really passionate about, will help you set your goals and define the life that you want. Creating a life that aligns your passions, values and strengths will bring confidence and enable you to reach your full potential.
“There is no greater thing that you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions in a way that serves the world and you.”
~ Sir Richard Branson
4 – Establish your identity
Our ‘identity’ is who we are, and is the core foundation to our personality. Think about who you are, but most importantly think about who you WANT to be. The past is the past. Knowing who we are helps us understand where we belong in the world, and this brings inner peace and increased confidence.
“ You become what you believe” ~ Oprah
5 – Manage your self beliefs
Negative thoughts, beliefs and fears all impact our mood, how we feel about ourselves and our body language. Learning how to manage these, and reframing them into positive beliefs will have a positive effect on your confidence, and impact how you come across to others.
“Select your thoughts just the same way that you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate ”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
6 – Become inquisitive
When we lack confidence we can feel self-conscious and become internally focused on ourselves, which further fuels our insecurities. Instead become inquisitive! Focus on your environment and the people around you; demonstrate interest by making eye contact and actively listening. If you find making direct eye contact uncomfortable, glance at the triangular area between their eyes and nose. Being inquisitive brings a number of benefits; increasing your confidence, your understanding of the world and improving your relationships with others.
“We get more of what we focus on therefore be careful where you focus your attention.”
~ M. Haycocks
7 – Practice powerful body language
We constantly give out signals to other people based on how we present ourselves – our body language and facial expressions. Equally our body language impacts how we feel. Positive body language increases blood flow to our brain, improving our clarity of thought and making us feel and look more positive and confident. Practice positive and confident body language (stand up straight, shoulders back, head up and smile) and notice the effects.
The T.E.D talk by Amy Cuddy called ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’ looks at this in more detail and provides some great tips on creating powerful body language.
“Of all the things that you wear your expression is the most important.”
~ Janet Lane
8 – Get support
Asking friends and family to list your strengths is a great way of helping you build your confidence. However it is more powerful and sustainable if this comes from within you. Finding a good coach who will help you identify your strengths, values, purpose and identity will have a profound positive impact on your confidence and your life.
“I was always looking outside for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” ~ Anna Feud
Looking back, I wish that my previous boss had coached and supported me to find my inner confidence when I was in my twenties. It would have saved me a lot of angst along the way!
Wishing you a very happy and confident life.