I also love giving you tools, strategies and cool stuff so that I make myself redundant as a confidence coach, and this post is one such thing.
Making myself redundant is a somewhat flawed business model, so all I ask is that if you see me dressed in a garbage bag asking for spare change at the side of the road, just next to that nice new place in town, you leave me something shiny.
In the meantime, here’s how you can become your own confidence coach.
Name what matters
It wasn’t until my breakdown in 2001 that I was forced to confront how I’d been living, and what I saw was that not only was my life empty of the things that I really valued, but that I didn’t even have a clue what those things might be.
Unless I’d seen what truly mattered to me I’d still be out there somewhere, spinning in space, wasting my time, achieving nothing that meant anything.
Confidence is being able to chose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour, something that gets riddled with doubt and second-guessing whenever your choices are based on vapour, assumptions and phantom wants.
When your choices are anchored to what matters to you most, self-trust is made all the simpler. It just is.
So look at the pivotal moments of your life, for better or worse, and name the elements that truly, wonderfully matter.
Scrape away assumption
Assumption is the enemy of common sense. They fill you up with the way things ought to be, how other people should do things and how your life should work.
Of course, it’s all bullshit.
Every assumption you make is a thought, a conclusion you’ve reached about a facet of life and your place in it. For every one of those assumptions you default to a pattern of thinking and behaviour as though it were Truth. You start living by default, your assumptions calling the shots.
Scrape away your assumptions and your natural confidence becomes free from all the silly rules you placed on yourself and you can breathe again.
So challenge those thoughts and assumptions about how life should be. Open them up, peer into them, chuck ‘em out.
Make a better cave
How’s the room you’re in right now? You might be surrounded by clutter. Or maybe everything’s in its place. Is it a little warm for you? Something in the corner of your eye that keeps nagging at you? Keep getting distracted by that thing you need to take care of?
Since our caveman days, we human beings have been pretty darn good at shaping our environment to suit our needs. To ensure we didn’t perish in the cold or get eaten by sabre-toothed tigers, warmth, shelter and safety were top of the list for a while. Now we’re more focused on Tivo, comfy pillows and wooden flooring.
I think we get a little distracted by the wrong details, but my point here is that you have an amazing ability to build an environment around you that makes it easier to live the life you need to live.
Your home, your work, your friends, your relationships, your finances, your body and your spirit are different facets of your environment, and each one has a role to play in how confident you feel and how confidently you live. Just one thing in your environment that flies in the face of what matters can crush your confidence.
Or, these elements can be nurtured, given room to flourish and brought to life by creating an environment that’s congruent with what matters rather than diminishing or contradicting what matters.
So get to work. Make a better cave.
Go over the lines
As a kid I used to love colouring books. Rainy Sundays were filled with page after page of pirates, spaceships and monsters, all coloured carefully in garish felt-tip pen to bring them to life.
I was always careful to colour only within the lines. The lines were there for a reason, presumably put there by someone who knew what they were doing, and my job was to make the ink outline they’d started look wonderful.
You’re smart, so you’ll know that life is not the same as a colouring book. Only adding colour between the lines will only ever give you something safe and predictable, something others have already defined. Keep working within the lines and there’s no requirement for you to have any confidence. Your boundaries are right there in front of you and all you need to do is stay inside them.
Natural confidence is both the quality that allows you to go into new territory and trust that you’ll be okay no matter what happens, and it’s the capability that grows as a result of that exploration.
Going over the lines will always feel uncomfortable and you don’t have to feel confident enough to do it, you just have to trust that you can.
Expect Shit Will Happen
Life will always have something up its sleeve that will throw shit against the proverbial fan. Try as you might, things will go wrong, fears will give you nightmares and discomfort will be felt.
None of that means that you’re not confident, doing anything wrong or screwing things up, it’s simply one of those truths, up there with death and taxes. Fear, doubt, discomfort and failure are part of the deal, and the only time they become a problem is when you think they’re a problem and invest them with the power to make decisions on your behalf.
Fear is wired deep in your brain, giving you your natural instincts to fight, fly or freeze. It’s natural. As is your confidence.
So don’t judge fear, doubt or bad times. Build a relationship with them that knows they’re essential to a rich life, and when they arrive simply nod your head to them, then trust that you can still make a choice and deal with whatever happens.
This is plenty
The biggest enemy of natural confidence are your deep fears about not being enough. You know what I mean. Those fears about never being good enough for other people to truly love you. Those fears about never being deserving of the kind of life you dream of. Those fears about how you’ll never be truly accepted if people knew the real you.
We all have those fears, and if you let them they’ll smother your natural confidence like a hundred blankets on a newborn. But they’re just thoughts, and as “thought events” they’re no more important than a thought about that movie you watched last weekend or a thought about what you need to pick up at the store on the way home.
It’s this sense of being enough, a sense that’s fostered through an awareness of where your thoughts are and an acknowledgment that you’re whole and deserving right now (however things are), that gift you with the unburdened ability to make choices that matter.
Natural confidence doesn’t need bells and whistles; just you and this moment are plenty.
Now it’s about practice
In essence, this is all you need to be your own confidence coach.
There’s nuance and depth to these different areas, sure, but when you practice these things consistently you will build confidence.
I guarantee it.
Pick just one of these elements to start with, whichever one seems most resonant, and let me know in the comments which one you want to start with…