Being confident and having enough confidence is a central theme for many of my clients and students on NLP training too. But this ‘thing’ called confidence can be a bit trixy don’t you think? People talk about it like it’s a willo-the-wisp that we can’t quite catch, something that’s somewhere over there, just out of reach.

‘If I just had more confidence I would…’

‘I just need to get a bit more confident then I can…’

‘I’m not confident enough to…’

Do any of those sound familiar? In reality, confidence is more within our grasp that we think or  choose to believe.

There are a variety of views on what confidence is. Some people believe we’re born with it, some think it’s developed over time and others think it’s a combination of both. There are people who believe you can fake confidence and others disagree. It’s no wonder people get confused about what confidence is and even how you get it!

Then there are those that say that confidence doesn’t exist. And it doesn’t, not as one all encompassing ‘thing’ that’s frozen in time, which you either have or you don’t.

Confidence is something that’s fluid, not fixed.

To help us understand what it is better, let’s go back to the root. The word ‘confidence’ comes from the Latin ‘confidentem’, which means ‘firmly trusting and bold’. I like that, don’t you? To me it means having trust in ourselves, trusting our abilities and believing we’re capable of doing new things and taking risks.

So there’s confidence in doing something and there’s self-confidence – the internal feeling that comes from trust and self-belief. Having the one doesn’t automatically mean you have the other though!


Let’s look at confidence in the doing of something

Naturally you have more confidence in things you’ve done a lot – like reading, driving, cooking or a particular sport and you will have less in things that are unfamiliar or new.

So confidence comes from doing something repeatedly. The more you do it, the more confident you become at doing it. Makes sense no?

As a child, I grew confident at drawing by drawing. I didn’t think..’I need confidence before I can draw’. It was the same for climbing trees, rollerskating and spelling too. Each time I came to something new, the only way to get confident was to do it. The more things I learned and practiced, the more confident I got and the more confidence I had to try new things.

It was a domino effect. This is why it’s sooo important for children to have a varied environment and be allowed to take risks, it builds self trust and self belief.  Your belief about your own level of confidence has a tremendous effect on the decisions you make in life and what you will or will not try or do.

It’s common to feel more confident in some areas of life than others. It’s also natural for confidence levels to fluctuate in different periods of life and times of the month or days of the week too.

Your confidence levels can be affected by your mood, which in turn is affected by the environment and other people. I’m sure some of you know that the weather affects your mood and some people are very sensitive to a changes in energy, but I digress.


What about self confidence?

Self confidence is something that comes from inside. It’s an inner knowing; a state of mind; a trust in your abilities. I like to think of it as self assurance having faith in ourselves.

Our life experiences also affect our self confidence. Things like bullying and abuse can destroy it and it takes time and support, sometimes by a therapist or coach to rebuild it once again.

Having self confidence doesn’t mean you never get nervous and scared. Six years ago I was a confident trainer, but I felt really nervous at the thought of teaching NLP because I’d just certified. Now I’ve delivered the training, I feel confident. It’s normal to feel nervous or fearful when we’re in unfamiliar territory or learning something new. In fact it’s a good thing because it shows you care about it.

Then there’s a fear of being seen as too confident, which can lead to us hiding our skills, abilities and accomplishments. The line between self confidence and arrogance is a fine one and sometimes it’s unfairly applied by those who feel threatened by someone’s capabilities and success.

Someone with self confidence isn’t loud, dominating or brash. Instead, they go about their business with self assurance, not needing to prove who they are or what they can do. They don’t need to be seen as the best and can be humble, happily enabling others to shine.

Pathways to confidence

If you want to become more confident you’re going to have to do things that involve stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown.   This can feel scary especially if your confidence has been bashed by trauma and/or abuse or if you’re a young person because you have less life experience. But building or re-building confidence is vital or you end up missing out on opportunities in life. 


7 ways to increase your self confidence

1. Connect to values – What’s important to you? What’s the value of doing the thing you’re not confident about? What benefits will it bring? 

2. Acknowledge your skills – No matter what’s happened in the past, you will be confident at doing something in your life. Give some time to reflect on those things you do without a thought. Zone in on how you feel when doing them and embody the confidence. Remind yourself of your strengths and skills to help rebuild your sense of value in who you are.

3. Draw from experience – Recall a difficult experience you got through or a time you achieved something really challenging. Think of the qualities and abilities that showed and how you felt later on. You did it then, so you have the ability to rise to a challenge now but with more knowledge.

4. Mind your words – Talk to yourself as you would a good friend. What would you say to them if they had to be bold and show up to a situation. Congratulate yourself for your efforts.

5. Take one step at a time – Break a challenge down into steps. Decide on one small step you can take right now and do it. Then take the next one and the next and so on. 

6. Act as if – Who do you admire? Ask yourself what would they do and act as if you were them.

7. Channel your inner child – Be like a child who is learning to walk. They walk a few steps, fall down, get up and try again until they can walk. Then they learn to run and skip and jump.

Lastly, remember to congratulate yourself as you go.

Remember, confidence is something you create within you though trusting and believing who you are.

Therapy or coaching with NLP, Time Line Therapy® or Hypnosis is hugely effective for building or re-building solid self-confidence and accelerating learning too. If you’re interested in finding out more get in touch. I always love a good chat!

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You might also like this free download 7 Ways to Dissolve Self Doubt