We’ve all met truly confident people, those individuals who have a supreme awareness of who they are in the world with a really solid sense of self worth, They exude solidness, are grounded and are happy in their own skin. They are content and not trying to be anyone else or impress anyone. I have no doubt, we’ve also met individuals who are super confident or even ‘cocky’. Upon meeting them they immediately start telling you about all their accomplishments and what an amazing person they are. They take credit for doing things that go well and blame others when things go badly. Initially, you may even admire or be entranced by what they tell you and get hooked into their story. Then when you dig a little deeper, you discover they are anxious and unsure about themselves and really are just looking for you to validate them and tell them how wonderful they are……….they lack true confidence. 
So how do you access true self confidence, particularly when you least feel it and are doubting yourself slightly? I’ve found that Individuals who have genuine self confidence pay attention to similar areas in their lives and tend to have practices which bolster their inner knowledge and sense of self. So, what do they do…………and how can we all learn from them? 
1. Inner Ambition - They have a sense of inner ambition and set achievement goals which do not rely on comparing themselves with others. Therefore, they don’t focus on ‘beating’ the competition but concentrate on improvements which make sense for their own progression. They also pay attention to gradual but nonetheless stretching goal targets. They can make a mistake during this process, but they don’t evaluate or judge themselves harshly – it’s all learning! 
2. Understanding their Strengths - They have found a way of understanding what they’re good at and documenting it, to remind themselves of progress and how far they have come. So…. get busy writing! Write down all the situations where you did really well – either professionally or personally. Where you were proud of what you did, what you said and what you inspired in yourself and others. These questions can help 
What are your strengths? 
In what situations or projects did you make the most impact and why? 
What is good in your life right now? 
In what areas are you really creative? 
3. Positive Self Talk - They understand the importance of self-talk and their internal language patterns. They concentrate on understanding how they self-sabotage, which happens to everyone from time to time. However they have the ability to use positive language within themselves ‘ I accept that I am doing the best I can with the resources I have at the moment and that is all I can ever do’ They avoid the internal language of ‘ what’s wrong with me’? They are aware of their self-worth and their own power and authority and self-determination. So ask yourself…………. 
When do you give away your personal power to others? 
What impact does it have, when you let others determine your worth? 
Who decides whether or not you are feeling secure? 
4. The Importance of Reflective Practices - When things get hectic and there is complexity and lots of choice points, they get quiet. By getting into a quiet reflective space you give the mind time to calm down and remove its power to get you to doubt yourself. Like a muddy glass of water, if you keep stirring it, you will forever have dirty water. However, once you allow it to settle you gain access to clarity. The same is true of your mind, let your thoughts settle through reflective practice (meditation or mindfulness….) and you get clarity of thought and action. 
5. Understanding False Friends - They rely on building internal self-confidence which they can access without looking for additional boosters. So, they avoid ‘false’ confidence aids like alcohol. This is a false friend in building true self confidence because it interferes with our internal chemical makeup and can stop us from having full access to our pre frontal cortex – our centre of creativity, inspiration and future solutions. You may think you are being confident but actually you are really stopping yourself having full access to choices and decisions that serve in your best interest. Reserve it for personal enjoyment. 
6. Accessing Their Wisest Friend - They talk to themselves like their wisest friend would. Imagine if you best and wisest friend talked to you they way you sometimes talk to yourself ‘ I can’t believe you did that’ ‘What were you thinking’ ‘There’s no way you can achieve that, are you mad or what?. Your wisest friend speaks to you in a supportive way, they are truthful but not denigrating and they boost you in moving on and considering other choices. They also accept you despite your foibles, because that’s what make you unique and why your friends in the first place! 
7. Rehearsing and Past Successes - The self-confident person rehearses a situation going well. They focus on themselves in a given situation and visualise it going really well………… they embody this feeling again and that gives them additional inner confidence. You can do this too – remembering a time similar to one you are about to face, where you did really well (forging a new relationship, doing a presentation, sealing a deal….) You can access this situation from your past where this actually happened. Then by internally and intentionally embodying that situation again, you can use that sense of self confidence for the situation you are about to enter. Click here for further ideas on gaining confidence from Amy Cuddy. 
8. Understanding Mastery - Finally the self confident person understands that mastery comes from practice. They understand that a few hours spent on a new skill or in a new situation does not make them immediate experts. Therefore they concentrate on building the mastery they need and cut themselves some slack! Click here for Annie Bosler talk on Ted Talks for some additional tips on confidence.  
We can all learn from truly self confident individuals and practice some of their techniques to hone our own inner awareness and how we show up in the world, even when we don’t always have it immediately to hand. 
If any of the above sounds familiar and you would like specific support in building confidence as a Leader yourself contact me at orla@orlascott.ie 
Inner Compass is a learning and development company specialising in organisational development, and transformational change for teams, leaders and individuals. To find out more about Orla Scott and Inner Compass Click Here
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