You can have Unshakeable Confidence

When it comes to confidence we often hold ourselves back. Have you ever caught with self-talk such as “I will be happy with myself when I own a successful business”?  Or I will be confident in myself when X happens”?


The issue is that we are tying our inner state of confidence to external circumstances. When we achieve the goal we were striving for, it starts to build our confidence and we may even become proud of ourselves. However, the second we set a new big goal, or are facing a very challenging time over something, those glimpses of confidence disappear, and we are back to the place we started from.


Not only is this emotionally draining, but it also implies that no big achievement is good enough to give you lasting confidence because, just like any other human being, you will always come up with new and bigger goals.


If anybody knows what it feels like to lack confidence, it’s me. I was a shy and awkward child and everyone around me would be amazed to discover that I am now a communication skills trainer, and an entrepreneur.  Yet, that’s exactly who I’ve become.


This article is based on lessons I have learnt through my personal experience. In it, I’ll share with you four actionable ways to build your Unshakeable Confidence and use this in the areas of work and life that are most important to you.


Let’s start with the important first step:


In which areas are you already confident?

What are you already good at? The first and most important step towards building confidence is to be aware of what you have already been successfully doing in your life.


The answers may range from being a talented designer to being a dependable friend or a good parent. Note down anything that comes to your mind because everything you are good at is valid.


What this will reveal to you is that confidence is not absolute, because no person on this planet is fully confident about everything in their lives. All of us feel confident about particular aspects we know we are good at. Equally, each and every one of us struggles with a specific area that needs improvement. And yet, when we face our pain points, instead of offering constructive solutions, our minds may find that there is something wrong with our whole being. This is a trap and a pure lie because each of us is a completely whole being with numerous qualities.


For example, I used to be extremely poor at public speaking. Indeed, during my first business presentation, I ended up totally forgetting my words. I felt so terrible, that my hands started to shake, which made my job even harder; not only did I forget what to say but I could not even read it from my script due to all the shaking! As you can imagine, this experience absolutely shattered my confidence. But after a couple of days, instead of focusing on how bad I was overall, I chose to focus only on how poor my skill of speaking in front of the public was. Separating myself from my skill was crucial because it gave me clarity on what I could do about it. The next thing I did was to join one of Toastmasters’ public speaking clubs where I received the help and support I needed to become a confident presenter.


In essence, once you start working on developing a new skill, your confidence will grow with it.


Using positive statements that lead to change 

Any habit you currently have were formed by training and repetition. Creating a new positive approach towards your area of struggle may sound strange but it is going to be a life-changing act for you.


A great way to start reprogramming your mind is to repeat encouraging affirmations or statements before facing challenging situations. To find what particular affirmation will work best for you, go with the opposite of your negative thought. For example, if you think “I’m terrified of being called out to share my opinion on a work Zoom call”, you can replace that statement with “I’m so excited to share my opinion on the call!”.


Do not expect yourself to believe in what you are saying after making your affirmations only a couple of times, because you may have been trained to think negative thoughts for years. Give yourself time to practise your affirmations properly so that they sink in.


The affirmation that worked magic for me when I was learning to speak in front of a crowd, was; “I’m excited to be called out onto the stage”.


This is all very personal though and if a certain affirmation doesn’t work for you or if you feel extremely uncomfortable with reversing your negative thoughts into extremely positive affirmations, you may prefer using slightly softer opening statements. Instead of saying “I’m great at sharing my opinion”, you can be more inclined to affirm “I can be very good at sharing useful ideas”, “I love the idea of contributing to the conversation” or “It’s totally possible for anyone, including myself, to present well on a Zoom call”. What is most important here is to create and repeat affirmations which make you feel better about yourself. So, feel free to improvise and try a couple!


As Paul McGee, author of S.U.M.O. (Shut Up, Move On) says ‘The most important person you will ever talk to is yourself.’


Use questioning to understand

By asking yourself the following questions, you will find out the fears that are hidden behind your lack of confidence and learn how to transform your destructive thought patterns into constructive ones.


Write down, record, or simply answer:

  1. How can I describe the exact negative thoughts on this particular subject in only one sentence?
  2. Is this thought 100% true? Is it a fact or is it my assumption?
  3. What proves that this negative thought is completely or partially false?
  4. If the event that what I most fear were to happen, how would it truly affect my life? What would I do (realistically and without exaggeration)?
  5. If my best friend had this exact thought, what would I tell them?


I found these questions incredibly helpful in difficult times, such as the financial uncertainties during the pandemic. I hope they will be of use to you too.


Look ahead and celebrate along the way

Sometimes, when we take on difficult projects we’ve never done in the past, they don’t go according to plan. In such situations, it’s easy to forget that one unsuccessful event means little, and that true success is achieved by taking small but consistent steps towards the goal. So, if you’ve just failed at something, remember; the key to becoming better at anything is to shift your focus onto your progress over longer periods rather than holding on to the setbacks along the way.


Why is this so important to do? Because by following this approach you are attaching a number of small successful experiences to your journey, and this enables you to notice your improvements. As a result, you are building a new neural pathway responsible for the positive events in the struggle area and transforming it into a normal area or even a power area. This is a part of habit formation process that Charles Duhigg talks about in his book The Power of Habit.


In other words, regardless of what happens along your journey, your job is to always interpret your attempts as steps towards your success. They might be small ones, but they’re still there. Keep on doing the same thing over and over until your brain is convinced that when you perform that stressful activity something good happens. And it surely will, especially if you’re serious about getting better!



Diana Robertson is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs:

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