I’ve been in the people helping industry for over 21 years and the biggest thing I’ve learnt – is that inner confidence has a big part to play.
There are all kinds of strategies, ways of thinking, patterns of behaviour and practical tips for improving your life and feeling better about yourself, but they’re all redundant if the foundation isn’t there. That foundation is the real you, the you that you know deep down you are. The trick is that it takes confidence to find that and to bring out who you are – here are two keys to inner confidence.
- Get to Know Your Values
Your values are buried deep down inside you, right at the very core of who you are; and they are the building blocks, the foundations, and cornerstones of who you are. A value is something in yourself, in others or in the world that is very important to you, and could include things like beliefs, progress, family, fun, nature, achievement or freedom.
Why is it that some people and situations leave you feeling angry, frustrated, demotivated, or deflated? It is because one or more of your values is being denied, suppressed, or repressed – and we experience that as a negative experience because it’s denying a fundamental piece of who you are. You know those times when you have felt alive, amazing, or buzzing? Those are the times when one or more of your values are being honoured, and you can get more of that by living according to them.
Your values are all yours, and no matter what happens, no one can ever take them away. You can have absolute confidence in them because they’re there all the time just waiting for you to notice and use them. When you get to know your values, you start to make choices and align your life around them. Your confidence will grow when you allow yourself to be who you are.
- Exercise the Muscle
Confidence is a muscle, and like any muscle you need to exercise it so that it doesn’t shrink and waste away. The problem is that unlike your biceps or glutes, which tend to stay in the same place, your confidence muscle can be harder to find. How do you develop your biceps or firm up your glutes? By doing exercises that are designed to work that muscle over a period of time until you see the results you are looking for.
It’s just the same with confidence. Let’s say that you’re the kind of person that doesn’t take many risks, the kind of person who goes through each day doing what needs to be done and doing it well, but not really stretching yourself. You might talk yourself out of doing something because it’s too scary or because you think to yourself ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘that’s not who I am’ or ‘I don’t really want it anyway.’ That kind of person lives within what they know and what keeps them safe and comfortable. The fewer risks they take, the less confident they need to be, the less confident they become and the more they believe the negative things they tell themselves.
To work your confidence muscle, you need to be prepared to take risks. You need to be willing to stretch yourself in an unfamiliar direction, to try something new or try something in a slightly different way. You need to open yourself up to the possibilities around you and push yourself to increase what you know, what you do and who you are. The more open you are to risk, opportunity, and possibility the more confident you need to be, and so the more confidence you’ll develop.
The answers to What are my values? and how am I going to live out those values? will boost your inner confidence!