The question, “how can I become confident” comes up frequently in my coaching sessions and workshops. My technique for dealing with this issue is simple:
- I ask, “do you always lack confidence?” The answer is inevitably, “no, to ‘always’, but there are many situations where my confidence seems to desert me.” Common situations where people’s confidence evaporates are: a) when they are imagining presenting to large groups, b) when their boss gets angry, c) when you want to start a dialogue with someone you really fancy. In this example we will work on a), public speaking.
- Note the use of the word “situations”. Confidence tends to be situational. There will be many situations were you feel perfectly confident. You don’t bother to pay much attention to such situations. It is the few situations where your confidence evaporates that grab your attention. But, the secret of remaining confident in all situations is to build on the situations where you feel confident.
- Next you need to find situations in which you feel very confident. Perhaps when you are enjoying yourself in the company of friends, or when you are at a concert or a party, or when you are running meetings at work. Get in touch with the feeling you have in such situations. Notice also any physical behaviours that you display at such events when you are feeling confident. For the sake of this explanation, let’s just imagine that you smile a great deal with you feel particularly confident. Hang on to the thought that you smile a lot when you feel confident.
- Make up your mind that you want to feel confident all of the time.
- Start imagining that you are an exceptional public speaker. See yourself in front of the audience, speaking eruditely, persuasively; the audience applauds. Practice in your mind. Role play in your mind when you are riding on a train, or a bus, or when you’re out for a walk in the park. Do this constantly until it starts to feel real to you.
- Next imagine that you are only speaking to a few people, not a large audience, and imagine that they are all friends of yours, people who really like you and want you to do well.
- Practice when you are in meetings or anywhere where you speak in front of other people. Make it a habit to always be presenting to an audience.
I feel sure that you appreciate that this is a short example. I do not expect that this short article will change any of the situations in which you lose confidence. However, I hope that you will see from this article that there is hope that you can become confident. That there is a way that you can overcome your anxieties.
To find your confidence you need to work with other people, and you need to practice being self-confident. The best way to do this is to work with a coach either on a Achievement Coaching programme or at a Achievement Coaching workshop.