In our society, we talk about confidence like it’s a personality trait.
Ever thought, “I wish I had her confidence”, or read the headline, “9 Little Known Habits of Confident People”, or wondered “how does confidence come so naturally to her”?
Let me set the record straight: human beings are not born with confidence.
Another myth we often believe is that confidence comes as a result of being good at or achieving something. We think…
- “I’ll feel confident once I lose the weight”
- “I don’t feel confident because I’m new to this.”
The truth is that these limiting beliefs perpetuate the idea that confidence isn’t available to us now and that’s simply not true.
What is Confidence?
Confidence is an emotion.
I love how Google’s dictionary defines confidence:
“Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”
Notice the feeling of self-assurance comes from the act of appreciating rather than the act of achieving.
Ladies, this is good news!
We don’t have to do more, be more or have more in order to access the feeling of confidence. That means right now you can inhale confidence and exhale doubt.
How to Access Confidence Now
If you’re not currently feeling self-assured, you may be wondering how this is possible, so let me explain one universal concept that can rock your entire world:
Any emotion you’re currently feeling comes from a thought you think in your mind.
You’ve been asked to give a speech to a sold-out auditorium of 10,000 people. What’s the first way you’d respond?
If you’re terrified of public speaking, you might think:
- “I can’t do this.”
- “I’m not good enough.”
- “Everyone will judge me.”
Whereas, if you felt confident you might think:
- “I’ve got this.”
- “I’m capable.”
- “Who cares what anyone thinks.”
I want you to notice your default response to that question and then I want you to consider that all of these thoughts are optional.
You get to choose which thought to believe.
So if you want to ditch your doubt and step into confidence you need to shift your thinking.
Listen, I know the advice “just change your thoughts” can sound a little ridiculous at first, but stick with me.
I’ve been doing a lot of “thought-work” in my own life using Brooke Castillo’s Self Coaching Model and to really understand the power your thoughts have on your emotional life, it’s best if you have a basic understanding of the model too.
The Self-Coaching Model says that your circumstances create a thought, your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions and your actions create your results.
Circumstances = facts that can be proven in a court of law, other people’s actions or the past.
Thoughts = your considerations and opinions.
Feelings = emotions you experience.
Actions = what you do, don’t do or react to.
Results = the consequences or outcomes of your actions or inactions.
To apply the model, you would answer the following five questions for any situation in your life:
- What are the facts about your current situation?
- What are your thoughts about your current situation?
- How are you feeling in this current situation with these current thoughts?
- How do you act and behave in this situation when you feel this way?
- What is the result of your acting and behaving this way?
When I first heard this concept and started applying it to my life, it was an absolute game-changer for me.
Now, I use the model as a tool to help me dismantle any upset or negative feeling quickly. I can also use it to discover a limiting belief system that I’m not consciously aware of based on an undesirable result in my life.
How to Shift Your Thinking
Now that you understand that your thinking is responsible for everything working and not working in your life right now (including your feelings of doubt or confidence) I want to give you a few pointers about how to shift your thinking.
Before I do though, I want you to remember that half of your life is made up with negative emotions and that’s ok. There’s nothing “wrong with you” if you find yourself thinking negative thoughts.
When you notice a negative thought, all there is to do is decide if you want to keep thinking that thought or shift your thinking to a new or different thought.
Step 1 – Start with Awareness
Before changing any thought pattern, it’s best to bring awareness to what you’re thinking.
As you begin to see your patterns of negative thinking, you may want to change your thoughts immediately or have a tendency to beat yourself up. But in the awareness stage, you just want to notice your thoughts with “curiosity and compassion” as Brooke always says.
I personally started a “Thought Download” notebook. Nearly every day I write down any and all of my thoughts in this notebook with the purpose of understanding my thinking better.
To me, this was very different than journaling or writing “dear diary” because it had a very different and distinct purpose. This can be a great place to start for you too. Grab a blank notebook and start writing.
Step 2 – Make It Believable
When you are ready to change a thought, remember that if you repeat a thought that you don’t believe, nothing will change.
Sometimes you may need to go from a negative thought to a neutral thought if a positive one doesn’t seem believable.
For example, if you believe, “I hate my fat ugly body”, you may have a hard time believing “I love my beautiful body” right now. Instead, you may need to try on a neutral thought like “I have a body”, “my body is capable” or “my body is tough” before moving into a positive thought.
Step 3 – Practice
Old habits (and thoughts) die hard. It may take repetition as you “try on” your new thought. Thought work is a lot like exercising, it takes repetition.
Your negative emotions, like self-doubt, can show up in the form of a variety of thoughts, thanks to years of old habits and beliefs. So give yourself grace and avoid beating yourself up when they show up.
Keep replacing any thought that doesn’t serve you with a new or different thought that does.
Inhale Confidence, Exhale Doubt
- Remember, you’re not born with confidence and it doesn’t require any achievement.
- Any doubt you may be feeling stems from a thought that you’re thinking about some circumstance in your life.
- You can choose to keep thinking the thought that’s bringing forth the feeling of doubt or you can choose to think a new thought that will bring forth the feeling confident.
- You can experience confidence now.
Let me know what you think about this concept in the comments.