Struggling with your self-confidence? You’re not alone! When many of my clients come to me, they too are wondering how to feel more confident.
Increasing your confidence is SO important because it affects so many areas of your life.
One of the biggest symptoms of lacking confidence is having difficulty making decisions.
Many of my clients who struggle with confidence and decision-making end up in what I like to call the “I don’t know” zone.
You find yourself in that awful place where you’re constantly telling yourself you “don’t know”.
You tell yourself “I don’t know where to go”, “I don’t know what’s next”, “I don’t know if I should quit my job” or “I don’t know if I should stay in this relationship”. Essentially, you keep telling yourself - I don’t know what’s good for me.
Confidence is very much linked to the ability to trust yourself, and the ability to have your own back.
I want you to know - it’s 100% okay if you’re not there yet. If you’re still indecisive and doubting yourself, you can absolutely up your confidence level. And the good news is, I’m going to be sharing with you a simple strategy that is totally not scary - pinky promise (baby steps!).
One thing to note before we dive in: confidence is NOT a personality trait linked to being introverted or extroverted. So if you’ve been reading along thinking, “But Emma, I’m just a quiet person! I’m not loud and confident - I don’t command attention” - that is not what this is about. In fact, some of the most confident people I know are actually introverts. No matter your personality type, confidence can be learned.
Let’s dive in!
How To Feel More Confident With The Confidence Loop
To help you increase your self-confidence, I want to explore a concept I call the confidence loop.
There are five different stages and I'm going to talk through each one.
At the top of the loop, we start with a TINY bit of confidence, just to get the process going. I like to refer to this phase as “turning on the generator”.
Turning on the generator is when you decide you’re ready to make a change. You’ve decided it’s time to take that next step and ACTIVATE!
Make Decisions Once we’ve mustered that little bit of confidence, we’re able to make a decision! This gets you out of the “I don’t know” stage we discussed above.
Making decisions is always a 2-step process. First, you make the decision itself, but then you need to DECIDE it’s the right decision for you - this is where you actually commit to your decision.
You decide you’re going to do this thing, even if it gets tough or you’re tempted to back out! You commit to the result that this decision will help you achieve.
The next stage is a mindset shift. This is the part where you've already trusted yourself enough to commit and make the decision. But now, your mind needs to make the shift itself!
In my opinion, this is the trickiest part, because it’s often at this step we fail.
Let me give you an example.
Have you ever signed up to do something, whether that commitment was small (like going to a gym class) or big (like investing in a course or coaching program), and at the time of signup, you were 100% committed?
At the time you felt FULLY ready and excited about your decision.
But then suddenly after you sign up, it’s like you’ve lost ALL interest?
It’s almost as if you can’t seem to quite switch into that space where you’re ready to take action?
This happened to me loads of times, and if it’s happened to you too, I want you to know...it's completely normal!
The key to success is overcoming this part of your mind that wants to keep you safe in your comfort zone.
Your brain is trying to cling on to your old self, to who you were before you made the decision. Our brain is SO clever at trying to keep us safe, so you’ve got to be careful and mindful of this phenomenon.
This is where a mindset shift is necessary, and that’s one of the main things we work on together in my coaching program, The Turning 30 Coaching Program. In it, I teach you techniques on how to access your thoughts and beliefs that you have about yourself, so you can learn how to feel more confident.
And in this case, thoughts and beliefs you have about the DECISION that you've made, and about the result that you want to create.
Often I get asked, “So how do I actually MAKE this mindset shift?”
It’s not easy, but the two most important things are awareness and willpower.
Some of the best ways to cultivate awareness are through journaling, meditation, having conversations with friends and family, and getting a professional to support you.
In my case, I help my clients by helping them access their thoughts by asking the right questions, allowing them to make better decisions.
The key here is to ask yourself these important questions - that, or have someone else ask them to you.
These are a few examples of questions you can ask yourself to cultivate awareness:
What do I currently think about this goal that I want to achieve?
Does that thought serve me? Why am I choosing to think this?
Is there another thought that I can think that will make me feel more motivated to follow through on my decision?
What would future me, who has already achieved what I want to achieve, advise to present me?
I recommend getting out your journal and writing some of these down! You could even get started with my Free Turning 30 Journaling Guide.
Once we’ve started shifting our mindset, we begin to take massive action.
This is where the magic starts to happen.
At this stage, we keep taking action - it doesn't matter how many times we fail or how many times we come up against an obstacle or a difficult emotion.
The reason that we call it massive action is because we're so committed to our decision that we're going to just keep going until we reach the goal.
The fifth and final stage is where we achieve our result, we achieve our goal and we finally see a change!
For the first time, we begin to see the fruits of our labor and why we made the decision in the first place.
When we’ve put in all of this effort to reach a goal, what has actually happened?
Well, first and foremost, we've got out of our comfort zone.
And guess what?! We survived!
This part is huge because many people get SO nervous to make decisions. Once you go out, make a decision, take a step forward, and come out unscathed, it’s proof that you CAN make those shifts.
Secondly, we've proven to ourselves that we can trust ourselves to go and find a result. We now know we’re able to commit to ourselves. On a deep level, this makes your relationship with yourself that much stronger.
If you've ever set a goal and then actually achieved it, you probably know the feeling I’m talking about.
Those are the times in my life where I feel super connected to myself and truly in alignment. To me, this is what building confidence is all about.
The feedback loop is then generated from the results we see and it’s a huge part of how to feel more confident.
Because we have proof, we start again at the top of the loop with even MORE confidence.
And then we go through the entire process again, this time in regards to another decision, another new venture, another next step.
It’s almost like a snowball effect.
This is why I always recommend starting small. One big goal requires one big life decision. It may seem super daunting and overwhelming. This is why instead we're going to break it down into lots of smaller decisions, and lots of mini confidence loops. Each new loop is going to have a compound effect, building up until the final, big decision or step.
Let me share a story from my own life to illustrate the confidence loop.
When I first started my business and Instagram account, I was TERRIFIED to show up authentically and share content online.
I had so many fears - would others judge me and talk about me behind my back?
It was obviously connected to confidence. I didn't trust myself and my business enough at this point to be able to show up the way I wanted to.
But despite my anxieties around showing up, I knew it was so necessary and something I need to work on.
So, together with my business coach, we decided that my big goal was to show up authentically online.
My very first step was to begin sharing stories and personal content on my Instagram account.
I was able to shift my mindset through journaling.
I asked myself:
Why didn't I want to share?
Why was I choosing to think people would say things about me or they would judge me or talk about me?
And slowly, I started to think new thoughts.
Thoughts like “Sharing my message with potential clients I could help is more important than other people judging me”.
I asked myself, “what would the Emma who’s already running a successful business have to say about these thoughts? What would SHE do?”
Pretty soon, I started to take massive action and things began to shift. I slowly figured out how to feel more confident sharing online about my business.
While the first confidence loop was small, posting pictures of myself and sharing stories online, it slowly grew. In the next ‘loop’, I started sharing Instagram video stories, and pretty soon I began posting IGTVs, live streams, and even starting my Podcast.
You really can build your confidence one step at a time.
It's not that I wasn't a confident person before. Like I said, confidence is a skill, but I specifically wasn't confident to show up online, and I managed to build that over time.
Now I show up every day, and it feels so natural for me, but building that confidence took work!
I encourage you to think of a decision you want to make, or a goal you want to achieve, and how you can use this process to help you.
A great way to take massive action is to invest in coaching.
I find that nine times out of ten, once a client has decided to invest in themselves and join my coaching program, it gives them such a huge boost of confidence that the loop goes into overdrive! It's as if the generators are going at full throttle.
Because all of a sudden, the trust is there. The decision is there to make a change - and then results happen quicker than they anticipated.
This is exactly what happened to my client Sarah. Listen to her story here.
Ready to build your confidence? Getting awareness surrounding your thoughts is so key.