Our thoughts affect our feelings, and our feelings affect our physiology which in turn affect our behaviour and our confidence.

How to master your confidence

Mastery isn’t about being the best swimmer or the best mum. The resonance of mastery is the process and progress. It is about work and the learning to develop an appetite for challenge. Mastery is about encountering obstacles; you will not always overcome them, but you won’t let them stop you from trying. You may never become an Olympic swimmer, but you will learn to swim across the lake. And the unexpected by-product of all that hard work you put into mastering things is you get confident at it.

The confidence you get from mastery is contagious. It spreads. It doesn’t matter what you master: it can be as simple as a child learning to tie their shoelaces. What matters is that mastering one thing, the look of achievement and satisfaction on that child’s face gives them the confidence to try something else.

Confidence is a sense you can master something; it’s an attitude, a way you approach the world. It’s how sure you are having the skills needed to succeed in doing a particular thing and not fearing failure. And viewing failure as a temporary setback to achieving your outcome.

You never, don’t have confidence; you may lack confidence in an area of your life. For example; you could be confident public speaking, but not a confident cook. Think of your confidence as a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.

Firstly, think and self-talk positively.

Think about the words you use daily, and how they influence your confidence?

Confidence starts with your thoughts. What you think about you become. For example, remember when you tried something for the first time, did you tell yourself “This is going to be fun!” or did you say to your-self something like “I can’t do this”, “I’m going to fail?”, or “What’s the point in trying – it never works out?” It did for me.

So, it’s a good idea to have positive thoughts and to use positive self-talk, for example, “I can do this, it’s going to be fun” or “This is going to work”. The words we use set us up for the task we want to achieve; they can help build your confidence or knock it down.

However, far too often, we use the power of our self-talk to limit us by talking to our-self out of doing something before we have even tried it. For example, notice how you feel and behave by saying to your-self “I can’t do this?”  Most people are continually giving there-self suggestions for negative feelings, inaction, and a lack of confidence, and then wonder why they feel so bad.

Negative words; can’t, fail, hard, impossible, lose, not, quit, terrifying, unlucky.

Positive words; action, confident, dream, excitement, excellent, fun, inspiring, motivating, possibility, powerful, start, successful.

Notice; how reading these negative and positive words made you feel? Which group left you feeling better about your-self and your confidence?

If the voice living in your head is not supporting you, it is time to replace it with one that does. Because like it or not, the results you are getting in your life are directly related to the voice, words and the script you keep telling your-self.Paul McKenna

Make a list

Make a list of anything on your mind in the area you want to increase your confidence. Don’t make it sensible or structured, the object of this exercise is to get things off your mind and onto paper. Put these three names at the top of the page and draw lines down to form three columns ‘Good’, ‘Bad’ ‘Ugly’, in them put the positive uplifting words and thoughts (good) fears, worries etc (bad) the nasty low-down rant (ugly).

The list might look quite daunting, but the power of writing things down and seeing it in black and white raises our awareness of how powerful the words and thoughts we use keep us from getting what we want and ultimately affects our confidence both positively and negatively.


Be aware of your self-talk. Over the course of a week, having made your list of the good, bad and ugly observe how this impacts your-self talk. Catching yourself saying something positive (good) negative (bad and ugly). When you positively speak to your-self, you will get more positive results.

When you ask your-self a better quality question, you get a better quality answer.

Secondly, your physiology affects your behaviour.

Have you ever noticed how someone who is depressed stands? Head and shoulders bent over; no eye contact may be a quiet voice. Alternatively, if you met your superhero how would he/she be standing, what would they be saying I bet there would be eye contact and a strong voice?

I want you to stand in front of a mirror. Think about the people who have the confidence you admire, how do they behave, what do they say, how do they say it, how are they dressed? You are your shop window on the world. Everything you be, say and do is sending a message of who you are and what you stand for.

Imagine stepping into a more confident you. See-through their eyes, hear through their ears and feel the feelings of your more confident self. Notice how confident you are right now. Remember, your physiology affects your behaviour. Can you imagine “Capt. America taking on the stance of Mr Bean?”

Thirdly, taking action leads to change.

We change our thoughts by doing things rather than change what we do by thinking about things.

If your house was on fire and you were watching ‘Netflix’ would you think about getting out of the house or would you get into ACTION and leave?

Without action, a thought is just a thought. “I’m thinking about going for a run?” as opposed to “I’m just going for a run to clear my head”.

Energy and self-confidence go hand in hand. The higher your energy level, the more quickly you will increase in confidence.

There is a direct link between confidence and energy levels. As a quick measure of your confidence at any time, consider how energetic you feel as you contemplate taking action.

Make an action plan to create small, manageable steps.

Example: You want to change your job but lack the confidence to take action, “It all looks so daunting” you say to yourself “And besides I’m not qualified enough?”

Remember, the object is to accomplish one manageable step that moves you towards building your confidence then take the next and the next etc.

Check out job agencies

Write up your cv

Speak to a friend who has recently changed their job

Practice interviews techniques

Additional courses to improve your qualifications

Re-evaluate your career

When you focus on the things you are good at you, develop your confidence

What you practise you become

Your actions start with that first small step towards building your confidence goal; you don’t suddenly decide to run a marathon, you start with maybe just running around the block where you live, then running a mile, then two, five then a half marathon and then a marathon. We get into the habit of taking those small incremental steps building one on top of the other, gaining momentum towards building our confidence. And those steps make our habits then our habits make us.

What we see and hear is what we think about. What we think about is what we feel. What we feel influences our reactions. Reactions become habits, and it is our habits that determine our destiny. Bob Gass

Finally, take at least one risk every single day towards your goal.

We achieve our best work and rewarded when we play outside the box by taking a risk. Everything you have ever achieved required taking a risk, your first step learning to walk, the first time the stabiliser came off your bike, learning to drive, and let’s not forget the first step you took applying for that new job, the one you thought was way above your ability and getting it. How did it make you feel? More confident, I suspect.  

When we risk and experience trying something new or unexpected, our brains release dopamine (your “motivation chemical”) then, when you achieve your goal, your brain rewards you by releasing serotonin (your brains “happy chemical”). This, in turn, increases your motivation to stretch yourself to do more new things and builds your confidence.


The more you practise doing these four things, the more your confidence muscle will grow, and you will become more naturally confident – do you think about getting in the car and driving, or do you just get in and drive? – Soon, you will find yourself automatically reacting and responding to new situations with states of confidence instead of fear, with new self-belief instead of doubt, ultimately living a more rewarding and fulfilling life.

Take the confidence challenge here


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