A few years ago, I wrote a book about confidence and how to achieve it. ‘Oh great,’ a pal scoffed when I told him about it. ‘You’re writing a training manual for annoying people.’
The actual word he used to describe the sort of people he thought my book was aimed at was rather stronger. But you get his point, and so did I.
It’s easy to think that those who are constantly in your face, banging on about how great they are and interested in talking only about themselves are supremely confident beings.
In fact, they’re not particularly confident at all — they’re simply trying very hard at appearing to be so, which is what makes them so annoying to be around.
Truly confident people come across as being much more relaxed about life. They possess a quiet self-belief that makes it somehow effortless to be in their company.
Paul McKenna: Truly confident people come across as being much more relaxed about life. They possess a quiet self-belief that makes it somehow effortless to be in their company
They are the opposite of the annoying type my friend described. So, how do they achieve this state of ease with themselves, various life situations and with those around them?
The golden rule when it comes to confidence is: ‘What you practise, you become’.
Picture yourself as a successful you
This exercise should form part of your daily confidence workout. Read through all the steps before you do it for the first time…
- Imagine you are watching a movie about a future, more successful you. Notice every detail of how that future you appears — the expression on your face, the way you hold your body, the light in your eyes.
- When you’re ready, I’d like you to float out of your seat and into that successful you. See through their eyes, hear through their ears and feel the feelings of your successful self. Make the colours brighter, the sounds louder and the feelings stronger.
- Notice where that feeling of success is strongest in your body and give it a colour. Now move that colour up to the top of your head and down to the tip of your toes, doubling the brightness and doubling it again.
- Float back into your present-moment self, being sure to keep as much of the feeling of natural confidence and success as feels truly wonderful.
And with that in mind, there are four key things you need to practise in order to become that naturally confident person so many of us aspire to be: talk to yourself in a confident way; make big, bold positive pictures of your positive self in your mind; use your body as if you were already confident; and take at least one risk every single day.
The more you practise doing these four things, the more naturally confident you will become. Soon, you will find yourself automatically responding to new situations with confidence instead of fear, with self-belief instead of self-doubt. And it’s easy enough to do.
In fact, you can start today by becoming familiar with the following exercise. This is important because it forms part of a simple daily confidence programme that boasts truly transformative powers.
I have developed this quick daily confidence workout to assist you in easily developing the confidence habit.
All you need is a bit of paper to write on, a mirror and five of the 1,440 minutes we are given to play with each and every day.
Minute one: Your ‘successful you’ movie
Take a minute to run through the ‘successful you’ movie as described in the box, right, thinking about any success you have experienced in the past or looking forward to such an experience in the future. Remember to juice up your memories by using bright colours and big, bold, moving images!
Minute two: The mirror
1. Stand in front of a mirror and close your eyes.
2. Now, think about someone who loves you and imagine viewing yourself through their eyes.
3. When you are ready, open your eyes and look into the mirror. Allow yourself to really see yourself through the eyes of someone who truly loves you.
Minute three: Compliment yourself
Still looking in the mirror, use your confident internal voice to compliment yourself over and over again for a full minute. If you find this difficult, then it is even more important for you to persevere with it. Remember, you are changing your energy so that you will attract more of what you want into your life — what you practise is what you become.
Feeling low? Imagine you’re a film star …and other techniques for boosting confidence
Minute four: Push the confidence switch
1. Remember a time when you felt really, really confident. Fully return to that time now — see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel how good you felt. If you can’t remember a time when you did feel this good, imagine your life if you had all the power, strength and self-belief that you could ever need!
2. As you keep going through this memory, make the colours brighter and richer, the sounds louder, and the feelings stronger.
3. As you feel the good feelings, squeeze your thumb and middle finger of either hand together.
4. Still holding your thumb and finger together, think about a situation coming up in the next 24 hours during which you want to feel more confident. Imagine things going perfectly. See what you’ll see, hear what you’ll hear and feel how good it feels!
Minute five: Confidence in action
1. Take a minute to write down any inspired actions that came up as you tried the workout.
2. Choose at least one of them that feels like a little bit of a risk to try in the next 24 hours.
Each time you complete this five-minute daily confidence workout, your self-belief and sense of inner comfort will increase.
Unlike working out at a gym, there is no recovery time needed between workouts. The more you do each exercise, the faster your confidence will grow.
For information on Paul’s books, including Control Stress, I Can Make You Happy, Instant Confidence and I Can Make You Sleep, visit: paulmckennabooks.co.uk