It’s a funny thing “confidence”, isn’t it? It’s very difficult to truly identify in others. I meet many high-achieving, professional women who outwardly exude confidence. They have successful careers. They lead a large team. They can give sales presentations and speak at events. Yet, deep down, they don’t feel confident and have constant feelings of self-doubt.
Many women are plagued by a critical inner voice and don’t realise that confidence doesn’t have to be something you ‘fake’ or ‘pretend’.
Building inner confidence is such a rewarding feeling and enables you to find your true values and worth.
Let’s explore how…and start your journey to true confidence (inside and out!).
Exploring your inner voice
Many of us have an inner voice that is with us all of the time. Sometimes it is a little whisper, other days it loud enough to disrupt all of our thoughts.
Have you ever taken the time to really listen to what your inner voice says to you? Why not take five minutes now. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Relax.
Now, remember a time when your confidence was knocked. Perhaps you felt embarrassed or made a silly mistake. What did your inner voice say? Was it critical and demoralising? How does it sound? Really listen.
My advice is to now make this voice insignificant – give it a silly name; give it a ‘form’ and change it in to a cartoon character or a small insect. Make the sound of the voice quiet or funny. Put this ‘image’ outside of yourself – imagine you are disposing of it. This is all your inner voice should be in this situation – something small, insignificant and to be quickly removed from your thoughts and disposed of.
Replacing your critical inner voice with a confident state
Instead of listening to the critical inner voice that knocks your confidence and feelings of self-worth, now find a voice and image that will encourage and support you in difficult situations.
Start right now – close your eyes again and imagine a time when you have been proud of an achievement. Think of a time when you felt confident and happy, as a result of your hard work or a good decision.
When you are picturing this, think of a strong and powerful image to represent this feeling, perhaps a tall strong oak tree or a vibrant, colourful butterfly. You can also add an action – perhaps clench your fist, touch a ring or give a thumbs up. Something positive – even a big smile. Release the action and open your eyes.
Next time you don’t feel confident or your inner voice is ‘getting too loud’, bring this image to mind again and do your chosen action. Keep practising and you will make this imagery stronger and stronger.
You can also adopt a strong and confident stance. All of this positivity (in your thoughts and in your actions) releases endorphins and these will naturally assist you to feel confident within.
When we do this regularly, we will genuinely feel more confident. In turn, we find it easier to look at ‘weaknesses’ in a detached way. Importantly, we can quickly ‘crush’ that critical inner voice with an image of strength and resilience.
The next step - feel the fear and do it anyway
The techniques above can help you to re-centre yourself when feelings of self-doubt arise. However, there is a bigger step to take in order to truly achieve your goals, if confidence is something that holds you back:
Eventually, you will have to “feel the fear and do it anyway”!
I am sure there are times when you look around and see other women who seem confident and are doing things you could never imagine – like speaking out in meetings, giving speeches or attaining board level jobs. Did you know that many are just as afraid, nervous and have feelings of self-doubt, just like you? The difference is that they do not let these feelings stop them. They do not let their inner voice ‘win’. They know how to handle it. And you can too!
With practise, you really can quieten that inner voice swiftly and effectively. You can overcome those feelings of ‘being a fraud’ or ‘getting found out’ and achieve whatever you want.
“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all of time” – Anna Freud 1895 – 1982
My real life experience
When I decided to run my own business, it was really scary leaving a safe and secure job, after 30 years. What if I failed? I was filled with self-doubt.
It is part of human conditioning to put barriers in the way, but they are ‘self-made barriers’. I forced myself to keep my dream alive. I used techniques I was learning to believe in myself and, importantly, I surrounded myself with people who believed in me.
You may tell yourself that you are not talented enough or educated enough – but the fact is most jobs or life goals are not about IQ – it’s about emotional awareness, willingness to learn, and the courage to start doing things you are nervous to do, when you know they will get you closer to what you want.
Finding the confidence within – discovering your true path
I truly believe that every woman has the ability to make their dreams come true. They don’t have to be huge, world-changing dreams. They just have to make you feel happy, content and fulfilled.
The confidence techniques described above are taken from my book How to become a professional wonder woman and keep your sanity, and I will be using this guide as part of my upcoming online weekly workshop – Discover your true path.
Interested to learn more?
Then, join me.
Starting Monday 19th October (7-8.30pm), via Zoom, for seven weeks.
I’d love to have you as part of the group and to be able to share more techniques and advice.
Email Lynda@lyndacant.com to book your place.
To hear success stories from Lynda’s clients Click here