How confident are you? What is confidence anyway, and how does it relate to self-esteem and self-image? Your self-image – the way you see yourself – is made up of three core feelings and beliefs:
- Self-worth: the value you place on yourself – how comfortable you are being you and the extent to which you feel worthy of happiness and success.
- Competence: your beliefs about your capacity to achieve, solve problems and think for yourself. This is what I mean by confidence.
- Belonging: whether you feel accepted and respected by others.
Your assessment of your self-worth and feelings of belonging make up your self-esteem.
Your aim is, of course, to make confidence such a natural part of yourself that you not only appear confident on the outside but also feel completely at ease with yourself inside. This is only achieved when all four elements of the l-T-I-A Formula© are combined. Intention and thought have a direct impact on confidence, which is basically a set of beliefs about your talents and capabilities. But they have little effect on self-worth, which is primarily emotional in nature, and as we all know, intention and thought have little influence over the emotions.
This is where imagination and action come in. Your creative imagination has a direct effect on the emotions and, providing they are pursued in the right spirit, so do your actions.
Now, to return to my original question, how’s your self-worth? Do you believe
you’re competent to cope with life and achieve? And do you feel accepted and
respected by others?
If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you will be unhappy for the rest of your life. You’ll be evading your own capabilities, your own possibilities.
Professor Abraham Maslow
How confident are you? Give yourself a mark out of ten, where ten means you feel you can achieve anything you desire (if you apply yourself), and zero, that you feel totally incapable of anything. (If you award yourself ten, give this book to a friend – you obviously don’t need it!)
Now give yourself a mark for how high you would like your confidence to be. If you give yourself less than ten, ask yourself why.
Reflect on the mark you have given yourself.
How high is your self-worth? Give yourself a mark out of ten, where ten means you feel worthy of all the good things life has to offer, and zero, you feel completely worthless and undeserving. Now give yourself a mark for how high you would like it to be. Again, if you give yourself less than ten ask yourself why and reflect on the mark you have given yourself.
Do you feel that you are well respected by others? Give yourself a mark out of ten for how well you relate to others. Now give yourself a mark for how well you would like to relate to others. Once again, if you give yourself less than ten ask yourself why and reflect on the mark you have given yourself.
Take a large piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. At the top on the left write down your first name, or the name by which you are best known (which could be a nickname). Underneath, describe how you feel about this name.
Now choose a name by which you would like to be known. Write it at the top of the right-hand column. Who is this person? Fill this side of the page with notes about him or her, who you imagine them to be.
Then compare the two columns. What does this tell you?
Award yourself marks out of ten for how satisfied you are with:
- Your physical attributes: health, fitness and appearance.
- Your emotional make-up: are you happy, a loving person, caring and considerate, calm and secure?
- Your intellect: your intelligence, skills and qualifications.
- Your social skills: how comfortable you feel in social situations and what you believe others think of you.
Reflect on why you have given yourself these marks.
Write down what your potential is. What could you achieve if you had loads of confidence?
One thing is certain – you are capable of far more than you think. Most people’s idea of their capabilities bears little relation to their actual potential.
Smile at yourself in the mirror every morning; you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make to your day.
And smile at yourself at night before retiring to bed, as this brings sweet dreams and programmes your subconscious mind to feel good about yourself.
‘One moment I was living in a leaky shoe box…’
Not long ago I was invited to take part in a radio phone-in. As I was ushered into the studio the presenter looked up from the console, ran his eyes over me, then stood up and shook my hand. ‘Welcome’, he smiled. ‘I must say, you don’t look like the sort of slink-pot who writes books on confidence.’
I knew exactly what he meant. We’ve all seen those silky-smooth characters with designer suits, perfect hair and cosmetic teeth beaming at us from the glossy covers of self-help books and magazines.
I have great respect for the work of some of these people, but many of them come across, by their actions if not by their words, as having one main interest in life – making money, and lots of it. Some are like the character in the Monty Python sketch: ‘One moment I was living in a shoe box in the gutter, then I discovered the secret, and 12 months later I owned a Villa overlooking the sea, a fleet of stretch limousines and a private plane, a holiday home on a tropical island and an ocean-going yacht. I’d met and married the perfect woman and we’re well on the way to having 2 perfect children.’
Whether or not you wish to emulate such people is, of course, a personal matter, as long as you don’t delude yourself into thinking you will automatically find happiness and peace of mind merely by accumulating wealth. This is not what confidence is about. Confident people have no need to show off, or impose themselves on others. They may have high expectations of themselves, but they also know their self-worth is independent of their achievements and that they don’t always have to be perfect…. and they don’t have to be slink pots!