Is Confidence something you are just born with or is it a skill you can develop ?
Lots of people come to see me because they say they are not confident. The truth is they are not confident in a specific area of their life only.
You may feel quite confident cooking a meal for your family but not so confident asking for a raise at work. Or you may feel confident programming software but not so much asking someone out. Why is that ?
This is because confidence is context dependant.
What is confidence ?
Confidence is a state of mind, a vibrational energy you give off that is associated with being calm, grounded, and present, and having a belief that you can master the skills necessary to accomplish a task.
You are confident as a result of two factors:
- the positive experiences you have in that area
- the mental control over your mindset
People who are ‘naturally’ confident at something most probably got validated at an early age by others as having the skills necessary to master an area of their life or accomplish a specific task. This positively informed their self image in a way that helped them build positive experiences around that area which in turn solidified the belief in their innate ability to master it.
For example if you got told that you were very academically intelligent at a young age you most likely applied yourself at school and consequentially did well at tests which in turn built your confidence in your own intelligence.
But- I hear you say – what about those people that are highly skilled in something – say a guitarist who has spent many hours on their instrument – but still isn’t a confident player?
If that guitarist is anxious his/ her negative mindset would interfere with his/her confidence even if he/she was brilliant at her instrument because he/she would most likely spend a lot of time visualising negative outcomes such as making mistakes and making a fool of herself and getting embarrassed in front of others.
So how do you improve your confidence ? Here are the two essential ways:
IN VITRO – by building your positive mindset – using the virtual reality of your imagination by visualising positive outcomes , also known as positive mental rehearsal (this is best done under hypnosis) or through meditation, journaling, presence and energetic work and getting coached.
IN VIVO – by taking action and committing yourself to a path of mastery – by getting out there and practicing those skills you need to develop, learning from your mistakes and persevering no matter what.
While the second is essential the Mindset should come first, especially as an adult, as you will find it much harder to find the courage to put yourself out there if you have a negative self image and mindset.