As a mom of three, I’m über aware of my husband and I doing everything we can to raise confident, autonomous children. I’m particularly sensitive about this when it comes to my teenage daughter. While confidence affects everyone along the gender continuum, it’s especially dear to me how the confidence we instil in our daughters is carried throughout their teenage years and into adulthood. Needless to say, I believe that parents play a critical role in influencing their children’s levels of self-confidence, especially when there is a deliberate desire to do so.
But how do we develop our confidence long past the years of being under our parents’ roof?
As women we can change the perspectives we hold about ourselves if they’re not serving us, even when those beliefs are deeply engrained. We can change the messages we tell ourselves to up our confidence and become our own best friend.
When I work with my coaching clients, lack of confidence is most of often at the root of their fear in making that next move, following that career passion, or striving for that romantic relationship. Despite working with some of the most talented people in the corporate world, so many of them struggle with believing in their full self-worth. These people don’t lack brilliance – they lack self-belief.
In our coaching sessions we work on getting them to a life beyond their fears and into their passions by working on everything from mindset to strategic planning. But it all starts with believing they’re worth it.
I live for the moments when our work together is done and I send off a totally evolved version of the person who came in—the “new them”. These clients postures have changed, their laugh lighter, their smile wider, their energy transformed. They aren’t afraid of feedback, wear funky socks and purses that reflect their unique style. They speak more boldly and are secure in their own company. They are promoted, get raises and aim for what they previously believed was out of reach.
They become fully themselves: the beautiful parts and the hot mess. It’s all okay, and they own it.
So, what do they do to gain this self-confidence?
- They reach out to people: They connect with the people whom they trust and admire, both in their professional and personal circles and ask for honest feedback about themselves regularly.
- They evaluate that feedback and weigh it: They focus on the aspects that are remarkable about them and work on the weaknesses that are important in their work and relationships.
- They challenge their reactions when feeling judged: Judging others is part of human nature and my clients who transform really take this on board. They come to understand that the more you put yourself out there, the more you will be critiqued. But also, the more you are likely to be admired and adored. Either way, you are more of yourself, and that’s the important part.
- They work on their mindset and examine what they think about: When they catch themselves engaged in negative self-talk they routinely assess it and then reframe it to something supportive. No matter how often it happens or how silly it may feel to reposition, they keep showing up for themselves and reap the benefits in time.
- They push themselves to take chances: They know their dreams are beyond their comfort zones and begin to see fear as a sign they’re on the right track.
- They start seeing failure as an opportunity to learn: Instead of fearing failure and viewing it as the exception to avoid at all costs, they begin to truly understand failure in a new light, as being a part of regular life—especially of those who dare to take chances.
- They focus on their strengths: They accept that we all have strengths and weaknesses but choose to elevate and make even more visible the remarkable parts of themselves.
- They let go of perfectionism: Good and bad days are a part of life and they get this, allowing themselves to let go of the desire to be perfect.
- When they do wrong, they make it right again: Holding themselves accountable to their slip-ups is part of what makes them so self-assured. They know what they believe in and readily right their wrongs.
- They forgive themselves: They see path to self-love as continuous and offer themselves the compassion they deserve.
Now, I say “they” here, but I could also be describing you.
The beauty about the path to greater self-confidence is that everything you need is already available to you. The short list above is but a handful of examples of practices to take on to move in the direction you’re seeking. Nothing is based on innate qualities or circumstances, simply a willingness to make a change and the discipline to take the concrete steps to get there.
Imagine walking into a room and truly feeling savvy, smart, beautiful and ready to take on the world.
It is in you.
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Do you have any favourite practices that have helped boost your confidence?
Share them in the comments below!