“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” – Joe Namath
How many times have you heard ‘you just need to have more confidence in yourself’? I’ve lost count!
But where does this elusive quality come from and how do we acquire it?
Perhaps it would help to know what confidence is.
The Oxford dictionary defines confidence as:
- The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something
- The state of feeling certain about the truth of something
- A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities
The first two definitions imply a belief or faith that something positive will happen, as suggested by this quote from Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
“Confidence isn’t optimism or pessimism, and it’s not a character attribute. It’s the expectation of a positive outcome.”
But what if you simply do not have a faith or belief that something positive will happen?
I often give my clients the metaphor that confidence is like the Sun. I can still remember that sudden awareness, on my first ever airplane flight when we broke through the clouds, that the Sun is there all the time.
I believe that confidence is a quality that is our natural birthright. It’s there all the time. It’s simply hidden behind the clouds and can be found. We are born with the expectation of a positive outcome. As a child, we ask for something expecting to receive it.
What clouds our natural confidence?
However, from an early age we learn by being told ‘No’ and over time, even though we may be positive and energetic individuals, we adopt negative language and belief systems.
“A UCLA survey from a few years ago reported that the average one year old child hears the word, No!, more than 400 times a day! You may, at first, think this must be an exaggeration but consider this…when we tell a toddler No! we usually say, No, no, no!. That’s three times in three seconds! If that child is particularly active, perhaps it’s true…perhaps that child really does hear NO mega times a day. And, although it’s a good thing that they come to understand NO early (so that they can live to celebrate a second birthday!), the bottom line is that toddlers, from all cultures and across all time lines, learn what to do by constantly being told what not to do. Then they grow up. They go to work…and the pattern of speaking and learning is set from the earliest of days. So, by the time they hit the workforce, even if they are very positive, energetic and optimistically focused individuals, they are probably speaking with negative language throughout each and every day without even knowing it! They is us!”
How do we move through the clouds and reconnect with our natural confidence?
The first step is awareness. Once we recognise that our clouds are an incongruence between our desires and our actions and limiting beliefs and behaviours that we have adopted throughout our childhood, we can begin to move through these blocks and access our natural confidence.
How can horses help us gain this awareness?
- They help us become clear with our intention. If we don’t want to do what we are asking a horse to do, if our energy doesn’t match our actions, then the horse will not do what we are asking.
- They are not fooled by the masks that we wear, so they bring to our awareness any emotional incongruence e.g. if we are pretending to be confident when we feel vulnerable.
- They don’t judge us; they simply respond in the moment and give us instant and authentic feedback. They give us an opportunity to reconnect with our childlike and natural innocence and try something different.
Make a start and have more confidence in yourself by aligning your body, mind, emotions and spirit.
In the third definition in the Oxford dictionary above, confidence is ‘a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities’.
I believe that this is a holistic and gradual process and is one of the ways in which I enjoy supporting my clients. I have developed a 7-step process which will help you develop and appreciate your abilities and have more confidence.
- Decide on what it is that you truly want to achieve for yourself, based on what will bring you enjoyment and fun.
- Feel your true feelings, get the message from your body’s wisdom and take any necessary action.
- Become aware of your limiting thoughts, beliefs and assumptions – understand where they came from and how, until now, they might have supported you on your life’s journey, but acknowledge that right now they are holding you back. Reframe, to more authentic, supportive and empowering beliefs.
- Get the support, coaching, instruction, knowledge that you need to achieve your desire.
- Break that desire down into small, achievable steps.
- Make a start – practise – take a small step each day.
- Appreciate your achievements and allow yourself to FEEL the CONFIDENCE – have someone to share them with to support you on your journey
“Dream small dreams. If you make them too big, you get overwhelmed and you don’t do anything. If you make small goals and accomplish them, it gives you the confidence to go on to higher goals.”
John H. Johnson