sunflower photo

How can I improve my self confidence? The three legged stool

sunflower photoSo now what?

I’ve realised I lack self confidence, so now what?

Clients (and strangers) ask me this. I wonder if they hope that I have a pink pill, or even a hypodermic syringe. Some magic and instant solution.

The bad news

There is no instant solution. No magic pink pill.

The good news

You will improve your self confidence when you make changes to the way you think. You will improve your self confidence when you make changes to the way you behave. Honestly.

Self confidence is not something you are born with. (Or maybe you are, maybe children are naturally confident but that’s a whole different debate) It can be knocked and doesn’t need to stay permanently damaged. You can have low self confidence and it can be improved.

I often describe it as a muscle -as you practise the habits that build self confidence you can build that muscle, no matter how weak it is now.

A three legged stool

Building self confidence is made up of 3 elements, all essential. Like a three legged stool you need all three to feel stable.

  1. Know yourself.
  2. Do something new. Move out of your comfort zones.
  3. Say “no”.

I’m going to say a little bit more about each of these.

Know yourself

Knowing who you are and what you want out of your life gives you a grounding. Take some time to recognise your strengths and weaknesses.

Some of you will come up with a blank at those two sentences. For you I’d recommend some gentle exploration. Every day, make a note of what you enjoyed most – an enjoyment diary – and notice the patterns.

Or, a more spiritual version would be to use the Examen prayer. This was devised by Catholic Jesuits and could also work with other faiths.

Click here for more information on this –

Do something new

Trying new things, improves your self confidence. This can be as small as varying the supermarket you use for your weekly shop or as large as applying for a new job. As you stretch yourself and move out of your comfort zones you are increasing the limits of what you believe you can do.

Say “no”

Explore what you want to say “yes” to and what you want to say “no” to. Say “yes” to the things that make you feel alive, more yourself, connected. Say “no” to the things that you do not want to do and God is not calling you to. Say “no” to the things that deaden you and rob you of energy. and say “no” more often. Set firm boundaries and respect yourself.

In recent months, I’ve been moving out of safe places. I’ve been talking to large groups of women, leading workshops, managing young people, succeeding, failing, learning new skills and often without the safety net of enough time to prepare. There were times when I doubted I would manage the new thing. As things start to quieten down I notice that I did cope. I threw myself into the experience and know that my capabilities are more than I realised. I can do much more than I thought I could. This gives me increased confidence to continue moving forward and continue growing.

In future posts I’ll explore each of these aspects in more depth. For now, take one of these and take a baby step forward.

Over to you

Share your thoughts here on improving self confidence. What has worked for you and not worked for you?

Pass it on

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