Seven dynamic steps to help you become more confident

When asked what prevents aspiring actors and directors from fulfilling their ambition, film director Francis Ford Coppola simply replied, 'self-confidence', says Annie Ashdown, confidence coach. Here, she gives us the lowdown on being more confident


Seven dynamic steps to help you become more confident

I worked for years among the rich and famous and let me tell you; they experience challenges, rejections and bad days. They are also perfectly imperfect with defects, flaws and shortcomings.

But they have self-confidence, so they refuse to allow anything hold them back. Sure, not everyone wants to become a superstar or a world leader, but you do become a superstar or a leader in your own world when you have confidence.

Clients seem to believe confidence is an elusive trait that others have that they don’t. As I state in my book The Confidence Factor (Crimson Publishing, £10.99). If you were fed negativity from an early age, it’s highly likely you believe your inner critic (‘the committee’) that tells you that 'you are not important, not good enough, not smart enough’. 

You cannot be happy or feel good about yourself if you have a bad disposition. If you are negative, self-critical and full of anxiety, you are allowing ‘the committee’ to control your life. 

Try these steps to improve self-confidence:

1. Select your thoughts daily the same way you select your clothes. This is a power you have to cultivate. If you cannot master your thoughts, you will stay stuck. To live in Confidence City, you can’t move straight there from Complacency City. You have to reprogramme your thoughts daily for success.

2. Be motivated by rejection. Enthusiasm and passion are gifts – use them wisely. See rejection as universe’s protection, saying to you: ‘I have something way better; be patient, have faith, live life.’ Every time a confident person gets knocked back. they say over and over again: ‘I can and I will’.

3. Advertise your strengths, not your weaknesses. Stop telling everyone what you can’t do, what you are not good at. Don’t tell anyone you are not good enough. Stop complaining about what is wrong in your life, and what you don’t have. Here’s the thing: 50 per cent of people don’t care and 45 per cent are glad. 

4. Remove or limit time spent with toxic people. Ignore others' criticism. Negativity is spread by haters, repeated by fools and accepted by those with low confidence and no self-esteem. Confident people are not manipulated into mediocrity just so others don’t feel threatened.

5. Be kind to your mind. This will be the turning point for you. When you are about to be cruel, judgmental and negative about yourself, ditch: ‘I can’t’, dump ‘why me?’ and drop ‘if only’. Observe and listen… hear that? It’s the sound of ‘I am good enough’.

6. Stop the compare-and-despair. Put yourself on a pedestal. All that glistens is not gold. Hidden deep within you is the blueprint, the template of your authentic self. Persevere an attitude of self-acceptance. Discover and explore your distinctively human potentialities.       

7. Practice self-care. Stop punishing yourself for what you think, feel, and want. Listen to what you need. It could be exercise, more sleep, a hug, tea with a close friend, a pay rise, to change careers, to work less, to have more fun. Eliminate ‘shoulds’. Value yourself by honouring yourself. 

Change the messages you tell yourself and start giving yourself permission to be the star you are. This is not a magic formula. You have to make it happen.


More inspiration:

Real Confidence (Wiley, £9.99) is out now. 

Read Overcoming pessimism and self-limiting assumptions by David Head on LifeLabs

Read Be your own woman by Jane C Woods on LifeLabs

Photograph: iStock