By Mary Jaksch
Confidence doesn’t happen. We create it. Even though in the past other people may have knocked our confidence, we can change how we feel right now. Here are some trick and tips to show you how to make that change happen.
We can expand our circle of confidence.
Your circle of confidence is what you think you can do. For some people, this circle is very tight and there are only a few aspects of life where they feel confident. For others, the circle of confidence is large and contains many different skills.
Be that as it may, everyone can benefit from enlarging one’s circle of confidence.
A few days ago a friend of mine, Dr. Yashu Wheeler, who is an experienced NLP trainer led me through an interesting exercise to show me what happens when we let go of limiting thoughts. Here is the exercise, step by step:
- Stand and hold your arms out horizontal
- Turn to the right as far as you can go
- Check the farthest point on the wall you can see to the right
- Come back to centre, release your arms and close your eyes
- Keep eyes closed and visualize being able to turn further with ease and looking at a point 60cm further than before.
- Now open your eyes and repeat the initial exercise
How far are you able to turn this time?
When I repeated the exercise after the visualization, I was amazed to see that I could now see a spot on the wall that was really 60cm further on. And I could turn with ease. My body was suddenly much more flexible.
Just imagine if we applied this method to every aspect of our life!
What holds us back the most are our own critical judgments. All of us have a cutting little voice that tends to whisper nasty things into our ear. Things like, “You’re hopeless!” or, “You’re stupid!”.
Say ‘no’ to your gremlin
Next time you hear your own judgmental thoughts telling you that you’re no good, imagine a little gremlin sitting on your left shoulder. What does it look like? What color is it? Maybe you can imagine it in some way that makes you smile.
Whenever you notice negative self-talk, imagine the gremlin sitting there and say to it firmly, “Not now!” Then carefully wipe it off your shoulder. (To others it’ll look as if you’re brushing lint off your clothes.)
In the following there are some ways to help you to expand your circle of confidence:
- Find role models
- Use affirmations
- Choose baby steps
- Eliminate negative self-talk
- Get up when you fall
We all fall down at times. In fact, failure is a built-in factor of success. Getting up after a fall is crucial. Here’s a story about falling and getting up:
- A monk looking for some guidance and encouragement goes to Abba Sisoius and asks:
“What am I to do since I have fallen?”
The Abba replies: “Get up.”
“I did get up, but I fell again.”
“Get up again.”
“I did, but I must admit that I fell once again. So what should I do?”
“Do not fall down without getting back up.”
- Celebrate achievements
- Associate with positive people
The way human beings develop and grow is through following role models. It’s useful to find a role model you want to follow. Keep in mind that if someone is successful in one particular area, it doesn’t make them a saint! Read what they have to say. Your main focus need to be: “He/she did it, and I can do it too!” Remember that all successful people were unknown and unimportant at some point in their life.
Affirmations are great tools to change the way we see ourselves. Put stickers on your mirror and in unexpected places, saying “I am getting stronger every day!” Make sure that what you say is believable. “I am the greatest!” may have worked for Cassius Clay, but it may not work for you. Personally, I prefer affirmations that honor growth, like “I am becoming more … every day!”
If you have a grand goal it may seem overwhelming. But every grand goal can be chunked down into small segments. It doesn’t matter how small your steps are, all that matters is that you put one foot in front of the other.
Everyone of us has a lot more negative self-talk going on then we think we have. Here’s an experiment to prove my point. Get yourself wide a rubber band that fits comfortably around your wrist. Now change that rubber band to the other wrist every time you notice negative self-talk. I was surprised – in the first hour of wearing the wristband, it flew from side to side! And I thought I’m a pretty positive person… You try and see how you go.
When we widen our circle of confidence, we tend to stumble and fall along the way. Just think back to when you learned to ride a bike. Maybe you were a genius at riding a bike. I wasn’t. But I was determined to learn – mainly to get even with my older brother!
Have you ever been successful? I don’t mean the kind of big successes that others applaud. I mean simple successes. Like, have you ever made a tasty meal? Or have you ever been able to mend something that was broken? Was there a time that you achieved something that seemed impossible to you?
Did you find it difficult to come up with your successes? I’m sure that if I had asked you about your failures, you would been able to reel them off easily. It’s quite strange how we tend to store memories of failures so well, and tend to forget about successes.
My suggestion is to make a conscious effort to call to mind times when things went well for you. The more you remember what went well, the better you will do in the future.
Confidence is infectious! If you hang out with people who are positive and can see your potential, it helps you to see your own potential.
The interesting thing is that when our confidence grows in one area, it also infects other areas. It’s like a confidence virus!
Let me give you an example: one of my areas of growing confidence is the technical aspect of blogging (I’m trying to say as positively as possible that I suck at techie stuff). What is really helping me there is – wait for it – cooking. My son Sebastian gave me Jamie Oliver’s cookbook ‘Jamie’s Ministry’ and I’m slowly working my way through it. The recipe’s are easy and I often invite friends to be try my meals.
The success I have whenever I try one of Jamie’s recipes seems to rub off on my technical ability. Whenever I struggle with a particular technical challenge, I remind myself of my new cooking skills, and I suddenly feel more confident.
Yes, confidence is infectious.
Let’s create a goodlife pandemic: let’s all infect each other with confidence!
You can use the comment section to release the virus 🙂
Photo by mahalie