Some people seem to be naturally confident whereas others are permanently stuck inside their own shell and maybe even afraid of their own shadow.

Other people are confident in some situations but not in others.

Confidence is very nebulous and whilst you can, to an extent, fake it until you make it there are some methods that work nicely to help build your confidence.

Remember to breathe

build confidenceYes, I know you breathe anyway.

But when our confidence drains away, we tend to become more nervous which, in turn, often leads to shallow breaths which, in turn, reduces the amount of oxygen our lungs can extract. And that then affects everything else we do.

Remember to take nice, long, deep breaths. The kind your mum probably told you to do when you needed to calm down when you were younger.

They will help relax you and that will help to increase your overall confidence levels.

If possible, practice

Obviously this doesn’t work in all situations – the unexpected can happen so you can’t rehearse for that.

But a lot of things can be practiced or rehearsed.

Weirdly, you don’t even have to physically do the rehearsal. Our minds struggle to tell the difference between a real and an imagined event (that’s why nightmares and horror movies work) and that applies to anything we put our mind to.

Imagine the future event taking place flawlessly with you being word perfect and movement perfect and anyone watching you marvelling at whatever it is you’re doing.

Go through that rehearsal multiple times until you’re as close to perfect as you’re likely to get.

Then, when the real life occurrence happens, it will be second nature to you and you’ll show your confidence without even thinking about it.

Top sportsmen do this all the time – that’s how they can get into the zone for the events they take part in.

Use affirmations

Affirmations are short, positive, statements that you can repeat to yourself when needed.

They work best when they’re written and said in the first person and they generally work better if they are phrased as though the event you’re affirming has already happened.

The already happened part can be a bit of a push for some things – if doubts creep into your mind as soon as you say the affirmation then you may need to rephrase it so that it’s happening in the not too distant future.

It’s also better if you say the affirmations out loud – there’s something about hearing a voice saying something that works a lot better than just reading or thinking the words. When you do this, either find a secluded place (your car on a commute, walking down an empty road, that kind of thing) or do your best not to worry about what other people are thinking. If it helps, wear a bluetooth headset and most other people will think you’re just talking on the phone.

Tell your inner critic where it can go

Our inner critics are often our own worst enemies.

They talk to us in words and tone of voice that we wouldn’t tolerate anywhere else in life.

The thing to remember is that you’re the only person who can hear your inner critic.

So play with it!

  • Turn the volume down or “press” mute
  • Change the words spoken
  • Change the voice it’s using – a Mickey Mouse voice is a lot more difficult to take seriously
  • Play some circus music over it in your head, maybe even drowning out the voice completely
  • Shift where the voice is coming from – rather than close to your head, move it to a fingernail or toenail as well as reducing its volume so that you struggle to hear it (and don’t then use that as an excuse to try to hear it!)
  • Catapult the voice into outer space and enjoy yourself as you hear it scream as it runs out of oxygen

Do something scary

Scary but not (too) dangerous.

You’ll know what that is.

It could be anything from answering someone back who you’d normally quiver in front of through to facing one of your fears – heights, spiders, whatever.

Start with something scary-ish and build up your confidence for the confrontations you’re doing on your own terms.

There are lots of things you can do to gradually build up your confidence – I wish you every success doing just that.