Confidence & assertiveness

We're never taught 'how to be confident' at school which often means we struggle throughout life to find what gives us confidence and to appropriate assert ourselves. This often translates to confused messages about assertiveness and anger, with a knock-on impact regarding a 'fear of conflict'.

We can help you here. Usually, but not always, we might take a bit of solution-focused coaching and cognitive behavioural therapy to offer a way forward. But first we need to find your blocks. There may be powerful road-blocks which are inhibiting and paralysing you. Identity and deal with these and we're on the road...

The following brief coaching tips come from The Crisis Book, reproduced with thanks and permission;

Confidence is a very personal affair with oneself and often influenced by how we feel others think of us. But most people are far too preoccupied with themselves to have the time or inclination to think about us!

Negative opinions about ourselves often come from the past: a critical parent, ineffective teacher, judgmental friend or dominant partner. These people, and others, can cloud the reality of how we regard ourselves. Confidence is about developing a positive self-worth, appreciating the uniqueness, individuality and the value we bring to our world. It’s believing in our abilities and having an assurance or trust in ourselves.

Know thyself. Who are you? Know your thoughts and feelings. What are your beliefs, passions and values? What’s important to you and why?

Be positive. Self-defeating thoughts feed insecurity and self-doubt. Think positively by taking action with an optimistic intent and a determination that things can improve.

Passion. What you believe in gives you energy and commitment. Develop passions for things that give you meaning, value and purpose.

Preparedness. If confidence comes from doing a task well, then plan what is required to do the task well. Prepare the groundwork to give yourself the tools you need.

Learn. Having knowledge, skills and competencies gives you the skills and ability to act confidently.

Action. Indecision and uncertainty emerges from not prioritizing what you need to do; improve your time management and organization.

Posture. You can actually feel confident by how you hold yourself. Pay attention to “walking tall” and holding your posture, rather than slouching, and feel the difference this makes. Try this exercise: stand and imagine you are an oak tree with roots coming out from your feet into the ground – this gives a sense of strength, groundedness and confidence.

Strengths. Play to your strengths rather than being preoccupied by your weaknesses.

Articulate. People will listen to you better if you speak with considered pace, clarity and assertiveness. Pause for effect.

Applause. Give yourself a pat on the back and the credit you deserve for the things you do well.

Forgiveness. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and forgive yourself for errors.

Worry. If concerns and anxieties are sapping your self-confidence, identity the causes and do something to eradicate them or learn how to manage them better. Seeing a therapist might help.

Dress. How you dress can affect your self-confidence. What effect do different colors have on your image and how you feel?

Smile. What makes you smile? Do more of it. The more you smile (and that’s smiling naturally!), the more you make other people feel better and you raise your own-self-esteem.