“How do I build my confidence whilst quietening that inner secure voice?”
Change and Transition coach Tesni Hughes emailed this question to me last Wednesday.
It’s a great question and tricky to answer.
Ask 5 successful people to explain how they built their self confidence. You’ll hear 5 different answers.
Connect the dots though, and you’ll find confidence is an inside job.
So how do you build your inner confidence?
How can you feel more certain of your abilities or value?
Here are 5 ways to start.
#1: Believe in your ability to learn
Imposter syndrome: “I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s only a matter of time until everyone finds out.”
Growth mindset: “I don’t know what I’m doing yet. It’s only a matter of time until I figure it out.”
The highest form of self-confidence is believing in your ability to learn. – Adam Grant
If you believe you can figure stuff out, that will help bring your confidence to life. You can then focus your energy on learning something new.
- What’s something you’ve been meaning to learn but weren’t sure you could do?
- Start there.
#2: Just because you haven’t done it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it
Lack of confidence is not something you’d associate with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Iconic Movie Star, Politician, 7 x Mr Olympia.
Aged 19, his confidence developed whilst taking part in a bodybuilding exhibition with his idol Reg Park in Belfast
“I had never, ever spoken to a crowd, and my English was non-existent.” He said.
“I froze. It was terrifying. But I leaned into the microphone and said. ‘I no speak English.”
The crowd clapped a little.
“Reg said, ‘Why don’t you tell them you love Ireland?”
“I love Ireland.”
Louder cheers; maybe I could pull this off.
‘Tell them you’ll come back.’ Reg advised.
“I want to come back.”
Even more cheers. I wasn’t schvitzing (sweating) as much now.
‘Tell the crowd you love them.’
“I love all of you!”
According to Arnold, each “broken sentence built my confidence more.”
The experience inspired him to speak more and chase his dreams.
“If you find yourself struggling, focus on building your confidence muscle, and everything else will start falling into place. It won’t happen overnight, but those little wins will help you evolve beyond who you are today into the person you want to be tomorrow.”
- What’s something outside your comfort zone?
- Try that and celebrate your little wins.
#3: Lean into your fears
For much of uber coach Rich Litvin’s life, the more successful he became, the more insecure he felt inside.
“When you fake confidence, success doesn’t help – your imposter syndrome simply increases. Real confidence comes from leaning into your fears.” He shared.
Litvin recounts growing in confidence despite three highly stressful experiences:
- After he got fired.
- After his marriage ended 3 years in. (Since back together again)
- Because he struggled in business but made a commitment to keep going no matter what.
His advice is stoic.
“If you want to build your confidence, take on challenges, accept hardship, face your fears, commit to the long haul.
It’s not easy. It’s often messy.
But you’ll build inner strength and unwavering self-belief and you’ll learn to tackle future challenges with courage.”
- What feels counterintuitive to you about your worst experiences?
- Looking back, how have they shaped you in becoming the person you are today?
- Journal any insights and pause for reflection.
#4: Embrace the process and all of you
Zendaya is an actress, singer, designer and producer with 184 million followers on Instagram.
She’s also Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, 2022.
Her key to being confident is in embracing all of herself and staying true to who she is.
“It’s important to find out who you are and love who you are,” she said.
“No matter what you’re dealing with, it’s so much harder and more draining and so much more exhausting to be constantly pretending to be something that you’re not.”
“Everybody has features they don’t like about themselves, but at the end of the day, it’s what makes you different and separates you from everyone else in the world.
The evolution of loving yourself and becoming confident within yourself takes time and it’s a process.” she said.
“It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to work at it. And nobody has it. Even the people that you think have it, don’t necessarily have it.”
It takes time to build.
- What neglected part of you can you embrace today?
- Acknowledge and celebrate your uniqueness
- Notice how that feels.
#5: Build your team to build your confidence
Tennis sensation Coco Gauff looked disconsolate as she struggled to come to terms with a first round loss at this year’s Wimbledon.
Fast forward 2 months, Gauff fulfilled her tennis potential by winning the US Open singles final.
She beat incoming world number one Aryna Sabalenka 2-6 6-3 6-2 to win her maiden Grand Slam title.
Following that devastating loss, she regrouped for the hard court season and won the two biggest titles of her career so far in Washington and Cincinnati.
“Putting together the title win in Washington DC was huge,” said Jarmere Jenkins, part of Gauff’s new-look coaching team.
“It let her know that she can do this, she belongs here and gave her a boost of confidence.
We’ve been able to ride that momentum since.”
“Coco has always belonged. She has always proven she is meant for the big lights.
“The tools were already there. People say things about technique but sometimes what is missing is the faith.
Jenkins candidly revealed, “It was never about the technique. It was about the belief, the confidence and the faith.”
Having a team she could trust finally gave Coco the confidence she needed to believe in herself and win her first Grand Slam.
In my experience as a coach, you have everything inside you to be successful.
I agree with coach Jenkins. What’s most important is having the self belief, confidence and faith in your ability to succeed.
Validation is important, team work is everything.
- How can you build your team to support your goals.
- Who’s your first pick?
The path to building confidence is unpredictable and uniquely yours.
Yet it offers immense rewards.
It requires self-compassion, open mindedness and not being afraid to take risks.
Get messy, get out of your comfort zone, and keep evolving with the changing times.
Above all else, surround yourself with supportive people who can help you grow and continue to challenge you.
I hope you’ll draw inspiration from 5 different answers.
- Believe in your ability to learn
- Just because you haven’t done it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it
- Lean into your fears
- Embrace the process and all of you
- Build your team to build your confidence