Last week we worked on the outside and now we are working on the inside and the power contained within our mind and emotions. We sometimes need to develop from the inside, by looking at ourselves internally, what makes us ‘tick’ and how we can make our internal thoughts and feelings better and more in tune with what we want and desire.
We all have an internal voice that talks to us, sometimes giving us good positive communication and other times the negative, the self loathing and the bad. In truth, that voice is ours to command and we let it sometimes speak when it shouldn’t and certainly say things that are detrimental to our well being. So working with the inside out is about changing and controlling that voice and making it our cheerleader, champion and coach.
Gratitude and Compliments
It is strange to start talking about building self-confidence internally by discussing how we deal and interact with others, it is another one of life’s paradoxes. The way we make others feel affects how we feel about ourselves.
So let’s start with compliments. The more compliments you give the more you will receive, that is a fact. Give genuine compliments and people will feel obliged to do the same, it might not be to you but they will remember that you did compliment them on something and it instills self-worth in them. You will notice once you have started to do this on a regular basis how you start to feel. You feel good about yourself as you start to give out goodness to others. Like the smiles, mentioned beforehand, happiness is contagious by making others happy you do that to yourself and happy people are confident people.
Being thankful and grateful does two key things. Firstly, it makes us understand and appreciate what we have. We can make a list of these things from the inside and work outside to material things. Think of things like health, skills, relationships and then onto material things such as the food that you are eating. This brings into perspective how much we have, especially when compared to others. There is always someone worse off in the world.
A sense of gratitude gives us the magic of thanking ourselves. Ok, let me explain. You say ‘thank you’ for all the customer service provided to you, from the taxi to the waiter who serves you dinner. Each time you say ‘thank you’ you are spreading that little magic of gratitude and people smile and feel good that they are doing a fine job. Now, if you are grateful about the things you have and your achievements, then you are spreading that magic to yourself. Do it regularly and you will understand what I mean.
The Mirror, You and Positive Affirmations
When I learnt these skills through experimentation as a teenager, my first port of call was the mirror. Everyday I would stand in front of it for ages, looking at myself, smiling and repeating affirmations. I did this solidly for 5 years, it changed my life, my attitude to myself and certainly the attitude of others to me. I basically coerced my subconscious into self love, self assurance and a great sense of self worth. So, the mirror is your friend; it only reflects what we perceive it to see and our perceptions can be changed and re-engineered.
Firstly, come up with some positive affirmations about yourself, they have to be personal, relevant and they must resonate with you. They can be anything from ‘I am getting leaner every day” or “I am as confident, charming and smooth as George Clooney”. Whatever works for you.
Stand in front of the mirror and look into your eyes. Now comes the tough part, you need to feel like you believe the things you say. Now I am not saying that at the moment you have to actually believe it, what I am saying is that you have to feel like it’s real. Think of yourself as an actor getting ready for a role and the person in the mirror is the idealised version of you – the role you are playing. You are trying to get into ‘character’ by reciting phrases. It will feel funny at first, but you need to persist. It will become easier and easier and then something strange will happen – You will begin to actually believe them. The person in the mirror will be you and not an act anymore.
One final trick, every time you pass by a mirror flash it your best smile and, either out loud or using your inside voice, say something like “Looking good”; “Loving me today” or a similar phrase.
The Mental Diet and Optimism
Negativity, like positivity, is viral; it spreads through contact with others. If you are surrounded by negative people, news and things then this acts as virus that you absorb, which will leach into your physical and mental self. These things will then bring you down and affect your confidence and your ability to climb out the well, as you will have people holding you down and never looking for an exit.
Be careful of what you take into your mind, with whom you are friends and where you go to hang out. Surround yourself with positive people who support you and boost your confidence, and go to places that you enjoy and make you happy. These are the things that will nurture your spirit.
You mental diet is also incredibly important. What you put into your mind will have a huge impact on your internal confidence. So, for the next 30 days, don’t watch or read any negative news stories, by all means read the headlines to see what is happening in the world, but don’t go into any depth. Find uplifting stories, that are there to inspire. Read books on positive aspects of life, watch movies that make you smile and laugh and only put good knowledge into your brain with what you read. At the end of the 30 days, see how you feel and how much more confident you are in yourself.
Optimism is not blindedly looking on the positive side but the ability to see a positive outcome to work towards no matter how much muck you are standing in.
Admit and Move On
We ALL have problems, issues and insecurities. You think I am wrong? Ask any model if they are happy with the way they look and they will say they aren’t beautiful or there is something is wrong with their eyes, nose, ears, legs, etc. Do you know the difference between confident people and those who lack confidence in this regard?
The confident ones know where they have issues and they do one of two things, they either deal with them to change it or they just acknowledge it and move on. There are things that you can change and then their are things that you can’t, but those things should never affect your self-belief.
Write down those things about which you are insecure. Look at the list. Are there things that you want to change and can change? If so, make a plan to do so, one small step at a time. If not and you can’t or don’t want to change them, acknowledge them out loud, say it to the world and then rip up that piece of paper into tiny shreds, burn it and put it to bed.
You can do this exercise multiple times and the symbolic gesture is a reflection of the mental process you are going through.
Now move on, nothing to see here…
Visualisations and Role Models
Sports science has discovered the power of visualisation and how effective it is for sportsmen. Ever watched a Formula 1 driver sit in his cockpit and start to move his head from side to side and steer the wheel. He is visualising the path he is going take. You can see it when a rugby player takes a penalty kick, he will look from the ball to the posts. He is visualising the trajectory of the ball and where he will place it.
Visualising a successful expected outcome, not only increases the chance of that outcome happening, it also increases our internal confidence of it actually occurring. Indeed, our emotions and physiology react the same to the visualisation as to the actual event.
Therefore we can take this into any situation from a key business meeting to asking that special person for a date. Visualise the whole event and visualise the successful outcome. This will not only prep you for the event itself, but will instill you with the confidence to make it happen. Next time you have a situation like that, try visualisation and you might be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
The other side of visualisation is role models, those who have successfully done it, or something similar, before. People always need someone to look up to, to learn from and to aspire to be. That is true in any walk of life. As Isaac Newton said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Nearly all successful people will look to those who have gone before, for tips, success and advice and also for how they have overcome their challenges. This is the key factor for confidence. No matter how successful we may be, we all have things that we need to overcome, such as dyslexia, disability and destitution. Those who have gone before you have overcome these things and this will give you the confidence to overcome your own challenges.
You might not be able to actually get your role model to be there for you but nowadays there is fantastic access to information via the web, books, documentaries and more. So get to know your role models and then visualise asking them advice, I am sure they will give you some new found confidence to succeed.
Fake it till you make it
If you want the quickest fix of all or you are really struggling, then fake your confidence to begin with. Yes, I mean really fake it, put your confidence on like a coat! You can fake it, it is easy. Just pretend.
We can all pretend, as kids we pretend to be all sorts of characters and heroes, such as cowboys, cops and astronauts. If we have the imagination to do that then we have the imagination to be confident now. Just take a moment to imagine a truly confident you, what would it look and feel like inside? Look at yourself in the mirror and see yourself as a truly confident person. Pretend that the person you see is you and step outside the door. It will feel funny the first time and you might feel like a fraud for the first few times, but what will happen is the fake confidence will start to morph to the real kind.
Then, with that as the basis, you can use all the other elements discussed above to build true genuine confidence.
Cocky vs Confident
Confidence can be misconstrued as cockiness or sometimes confidence can grow into conceit and self-importance.
Generally, people who mistake confidence for arrogance are those who struggle with confidence themselves. If this is the case, be kind to them, understand and appreciate that you were once in the same position.
If you are too brash, or in danger of being so, next week’s lessons in humility will rein in that level of confidence that may have gone too far.
Join us next week when we talk about the power of humility.