how to build your self-confidence and create the life you want

“I wish I had more confidence in myself.”

This is, hands down, one of the most common statements my clients make when we start working together. 

Some of them want more confidence in their ability to follow through and stick to their plans.

Some want more confidence to pursue a new project or goal they’ve set.

And some want more confidence to show up authentically as themselves each day.

And honestly, I think most of us would welcome a boost in our self-confidence.

Am I right?

Well, good news; today I’m excited to share some powerful strategies to help you make that happen.

So if you’re ready to strengthen your self-confidence, make sure you check out episode 68 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast. 

You can listen to the episode below or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here:

Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.

Listen To The Podcast Here!

In This Episode, You Will Discover… 

  • The difference between confidence and self-confidence
  • The importance of self-confidence in helping us step out of our comfort zones and reach our biggest goals
  • Two powerful strategies you can use to start increasing your self-confidence

Links From The Podcast

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Episode 68: How To Build Your Self-Confidence And Create The Life You Want

Hey, everybody. What’s happening? Thanks for tuning into another episode of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast. And for those of you who are new, welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. 

Now I am especially excited about today’s topic because it’s one that I think impacts so many of our lives. It’s a topic that I’ve done a lot of work on myself, and it’s one that I work on a lot with my clients. And it is the topic of confidence.

Confidence and Self-Confidence

More specifically, we’re going to talk about confidence, self-confidence and how they both play a role in going after your big impossible goals. And what impact they have on helping you put yourself out there even if you don’t know the exact step by step process and even if you’re feeling uncomfortable. In other words, what is the role of confidence and self-confidence in making your goals a reality?

So here’s the deal, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that I work with people who have ADHD or who have ADHD tendencies, so they struggle a lot with focus and follow through and making things happen.

And when we work together, in order to strengthen that follow through muscle, one of the things we do is set a goal and make it happen. We learn how to follow through. 

Now when I first get on a consultation with a client, and we’re exploring what’s going on for them and figuring out the obstacles they’re facing, I’d say 9 times out of 10 people tell me they wish they had more confidence in themselves. 

3 Beliefs for Low Confidence

And while they have many different reasons for why they think they’re lacking confidence or feeling a sense of imposter syndrome (meaning, who am I to be doing this thing?). Generally, I hear three main beliefs around the lack of confidence.

Never Done It Before

First of all, they don’t feel confident to go after the big idea they have or the goal they want to reach because they’ve never done anything like it before. They feel really uncertain about whether they can actually make it happen since they don’t have the experience. 

And because they don’t have the past experience, and they don’t like feeling the discomfort of diving in without certainty, they really have a hard time getting started and putting themselves out there. This is especially true with my entrepreneurial clients who are building businesses or creating products; because it’s new to them, and they haven’t done it before, they don’t feel confident, so they don’t take action.

I Failed At It Before

Another reason I often hear is that they don’t feel confident in themselves because, in the past, they’ve struggled to stick with things. So maybe they want to write a book, and because they’ve tried establishing a writing habit so many times before, and they haven’t stuck with it, they don’t believe they can do it now.

Or perhaps they want to start exercising regularly because they know it releases dopamine and helps with focus and makes them feel better, but because they’ve never been able to stick with a routine in the past. And because they haven’t stuck with it before, they don’t feel confident that they can do it now. So maybe they try, but they do it half-heartedly, basically expecting themselves to fail at some point.

What Other People Think

And then the third common reason why people explain they don’t feel confident is that they’re too worried about what other people might think or say about them if they put themselves out there and they fail. And because they think they’ll be judged by everyone else, and they imagine all of this negative feedback, they don’t feel the confidence they need to move forward.

So if you want to ask for a raise, but you’re too worried about what your boss or colleagues will think, so you don’t. Or you want to start a YouTube channel, but because you’re concerned about what other people will think about you and your videos, you don’t share.

So again, I hear many many reasons why people don’t feel confident, but these three are often the overarching beliefs: they’ve never done it before, they’ve never been able to stick with it before, and they’re worried about what people will think if they fail. 

Difference Between Confidence And Self-Confidence 

And perhaps you can hear yourself in one of these categories. I know I’ve fallen into all three multiple times throughout my life, and I still find myself slipping into these thoughts. BUT the difference is that I have developed my self-confidence so that even if I haven’t had experience in a particular area, or even if I haven’t been successful before, or even if I might face judgment, I am able to move forward because I have developed confidence in my self. 

So let’s first talk about the difference between confidence and self-confidence, because I think they’re often used interchangeably, but I see them as a bit different. 

Now, both of them are emotions, right? We feel confident and we feel self-confident. And as we know, our feelings come from what we think about. Our thoughts create our feelings. So when we think certain thoughts, they make us feel confident or self-confident. 

Confidence

And when I think about confidence, I see this as a belief in your ability to do something in particular. And often, we find ourselves looking to the past for evidence that we have done it before, or we’ve done something similar before, so we feel confident we can do it again. 

So, for example, if I asked you: how confident are you in your ability to tie your shoe? Chances are, you’d feel pretty confident. You’ve done it plenty of times before. You know the steps involved. And you’d say yep. I’ve got this. I know I can tie my shoe; I’ve done it tons of times in the past. No problem.

And what’s more, if you accidentally messed up tying your shoe one day, you wouldn’t make it mean you were a failure, right? 

For example, if I’m tying my running shoes in the morning and I accidentally pulled the lace all the way through instead of making a loop, I wouldn’t beat myself up over it. I wouldn’t think to myself, “oh my gosh! I’ve completely messed up. I’ve lost my ability to tie my shoes. I am no longer confident in my ability to tie my running shoes.” Of course not. I probably wouldn’t think anything about it. I’d just untie the lace and do it again—no big deal. 

And that is because I have such a strong belief in my mind that I can absolutely tie my shoes. Of course, I can tie my shoes; I have done this thousands and thousands of times before.

Past Experience

Now, this is a silly example, but it’s also a micro example of bigger areas in our lives, too. Maybe you have your signature recipe that you absolutely love. You’ve made it dozens of times, and it’s amazing. You feel absolutely confident in your ability to make that recipe because you’ve done it plenty of times before, and you know you can do it now.

Or maybe you’ve been at your job for a while, and you feel confident in your ability to show up to the meetings and contribute your two cents and follow through on the tasks that your boss expects of you. 

In other words, you have these areas in your life where you just know you are completely capable of carrying out the task. And it might be everyday stuff like tying your shoes or folding laundry. Or might be more involved projects like planning a presentation or filing reports. But because you’ve done them so often, you can easily think to yourself, “this is no problem. I know exactly what to do. I can totally get this done. No sweat.”

No Experience

BUT what do we do when we don’t have that experience to pull from? What happens when we’re doing something new. Or when we haven’t been able to stick to the goal or plan before. Or if we’re not sure whether or not we’ll quote-unquote “fail”? Then what?

Well, if we’re not aware of what’s going on, that’s when we get stuck. Maybe we distract ourselves and procrastinate with social media or Netflix, or getting a snack. Maybe we procrastiwork with busy work that feels productive but isn’t moving us forward on the thing. Or we start slipping into overwhelm and analysis paralysis, and we don’t do anything.

These are all totally normal responses when we’re telling ourselves things like, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never done this before, etc. When we’re thinking these things, of course, we aren’t going to feel confident. 

Self-Confidence

And this, my friends, is where self-confidence comes in. Because self-confidence is the confidence in yourself that you have your back no matter what, it is your ability to trust yourself. And it’s how you choose to think about yourself overall.

In other words, self-confidence is having confidence in yourself and knowing that regardless of whether you’ve done the thing before or not, you know you can figure it out. It’s confidence in knowing that even if you haven’t stuck to a new habit or a particular goal before, it doesn’t mean anything about you or who you are as a person. And it’s knowing that you’re willing to try again, over and over, until you figure it out. 

Confident In Your Self

Self-confidence is being able to trust that you will show up and do the things you said you would do. If it’s on your calendar, you’re going to do it. If you said you’re going to take care of something or take care of yourself, you’re absolutely going to follow through. Even if you don’t feel like it. Because when you know you can count on yourself to show up, you have confidence in yourself. You have self-confidence.

Self Talk

And self-confidence is knowing – and this is an important one so if you’re multitasking – listen up. 

Self-confidence is knowing that regardless of your outcome, you are NOT going to beat yourself up. So if you do put yourself out there, and you don’t get the result you expected, self-confidence means you have your own back. You aren’t going to slip into shame and negative self-talk. You’re not going to make yourself feel terrible for actually trying. Instead, you have confidence in yourself to process the feeling of disappointment – or whatever it is you feel when the thing doesn’t go as expected – and then opening up to curiosity about what you can learn and trying again.

“Failures” Become Feedback

You don’t make a failure or a misstep mean that you’re not good enough, or not smart enough, or incapable. No. When you have built up your self-confidence, you make failures simply data. You can look at it objectively and think, “huh. That didn’t work. What should I do now?” 

It doesn’t mean anything about you or your enough-ness. It is simply information to help you try differently next time.  And again, you may still feel negative emotions if things don’t go as planned. But you’re not feeling the negative emotion about yourself. You’re feeling the negative emotion because you’re thinking something like, “bummer, I really thought that approach would work.”

Negative Emotions

Because as we talked about on the podcast last week, the worst thing that can possibly happen to you is an emotion. And it makes all the difference in the world when you know you have your own back. You know that you’re willing to feel the disappointment or you’re willing to feel frustrated if things don’t go as planned. Plus, you’re not only willing to feel them, but you also know that you won’t beat yourself up on top of that. That is absolutely crucial. 

Because if you’re willing to experience any emotion, and you truly believe that you can handle any emotion that comes your way, you will be unstoppable. You will have all the self-confidence you need to keep showing up until you reach that goal. You have the self-confidence to have your own back and keep taking action until you figure it out.

Fail Forward

Because rather than thinking to yourself, “you can never get anything right.” Or “you’re never going to figure this out.” Or “See? I knew you couldn’t do it.” You instead think to yourself: “Okay, here is what I learned this time. This is what worked, and this is what didn’t.” “Way to go for taking action even though it was hard; you’re a rockstar! What can we learn this time? What should we do next time?” 

Unstoppable Self-Confidence

I’m telling you, when you can show up willing to feel any emotion and knowing you have your back you’ll be unstoppable.

Fast Growth

When you have the self-confidence to show up as yourself and try new things and be willing to fail and learn and try again, that’s when you’ll see faster growth than you ever thought possible. 

Not Afraid to Ask For Help

Because when you’re self-confident, you’re not worried about needing to know all the answers or think you need to pretend you know everything. You’re not afraid to ask for help or admit when you don’t know something. And when you’re willing to ask for help or clarification or guidance, that’s how you learn.

Other People’s Opinions Don’t Matter

And when you’re not worried about what other people think, since YOU know that what you do or don’t do doesn’t mean anything about who you are as a person, you show up ready to set bigger goals for yourself.

You’re ready to talk to more people and put yourself out there more often. You’re willing to take more action and try more things. And what’s more, you’re going to achieve more, too. 

Because by sheer probability alone, the more often you try the more success you will have. As Dave Ramsey reminds us, “Success is just a pile of failures that you are standing on.”

Success Comes From Failures

But we tend to forget this, don’t we? We think that successful people are just naturally successful, but that’s just not true. We just don’t see that pile of failures they’re standing on because we’re focused on where they’re standing up at the top. 

But I promise you. If you ask any successful person in your life they will – without a doubt – tell you about the obstacles, the challenges, and the failures – both big and small – that they endured getting where they are today.

Self-Confidence Is A Practice

Now here is another critical piece of the confidence puzzle. You’re not just born with it. It’s not one of those things where you either have it or you don’t.

It’s not like, “I was born with hazel eyes, brown hair, and low self-confidence.” No! Self-confidence is a practice. And it is a consistent practice that you have to return to often. 

Now you do this by changing your beliefs about yourself, and that begins by intentionally practicing thoughts that generate that feeling of self-confidence. 

You start exploring the possibility that you can figure things out. You start exploring the possibility that you will keep going until you find the answer. And what’s more, you’re willing to feel the fear. You’re willing to feel disappointed. You’re willing to feel uncomfortable because you know you can handle it. You know you have your own back. 

How To Develop Self-Confidence

So how can we do this? I have two simple exercises for you to try this week. 

First of all, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on the accomplishments you have had in your life. Get a piece of paper and write down all of your achievements both big and small. Maybe you graduated high school. Maybe you won the spelling bee in 2nd grade. Or maybe you got a new job. Maybe you finally learned how to knit. Maybe you raised children or started a blog or launched a business or perfected your chocolate chip cookie recipe or took your family on a vacation. Seriously, write down every accomplishment you can think of from as far back as you can remember to today. Fill up an entire piece of paper. 

Recognize Your Accomplishments

And then, I invite you to pause and truly notice those accomplishments. Reflect on them. Recognize everything that you have created in your life. Remind your brain that you do follow through. You have made incredible things happen in your life. You do reach goals.

This is a really important step, and especially if your brain is so well-practiced in the thoughts, “I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never done it before. I don’t know what to do.” 

Because the reality is that you made it happen regardless of your past experiences. You’d never graduated before, right? But you figured out how to do it. You’d never been able to knit before. And what’s more, every time you tried in the past, the scarf you tried to make ended up like a lumpy, uneven potholder. But then you did figure it out because you didn’t give up. You hadn’t raised children before your first child, but you figured it out and made it happen, right?

So when your brain starts telling you, “I don’t know what to do. I’ve never done this before. I’m just totally stuck.” Let that be a sign that it’s time to start drawing on your self-confidence. 

Self-Confident Beliefs

And then the second suggestion I have for you around strengthening your self-confidence focuses on shifting your beliefs with new thoughts. So I am going to share some of my favorite go-to thoughts that always help me generate self-confidence. And then I want to talk with you about how to start truly believing them if they just don’t feel believable to you as is.

So some of my favorite self-confidence thoughts are simple and straight forward, but they’re also incredibly powerful. And some of those thoughts are:

I’ve got this. I know I can figure this out. It’s no problem. I was made for this. Who better than me to do this? The worst thing that can happen is a feeling, and I am willing to feel any emotion to reach this goal. My failures create my success. I am winning or I am learning. Watch me make this happen.

And if any of these beliefs don’t feel available to you, I invite you to find the proof in each one. 

If the thought “I know I can figure this out” doesn’t feel true, challenge that. How could it be true? Have you figured out other problems or challenges in your life? Spoiler alert, you have! So there’s no reason you can’t figure this one out, too.

If you don’t believe the thought “I was made for this,” challenge that. How could that be true? How could everything you’ve experienced in your past prepare you for this exact moment and this exact opportunity? I bet you can find proof.

And then my friends, you take action. You do the thing. You take the step. And you show your brain that you can indeed put yourself out there. And what’s more, you prove to yourself you’re not going to die in the process, which is what your brain is always trying to protect you from. 

With each time you take action, you increase your self-confidence a little more. You gain a little more experience. And it becomes easier and easier to believe the thoughts, “of course, I can do this. I always reach my goals. I know I’ll make this happen. And I was born for this. Who better than me to make this idea a reality?”

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