The formula for building confidence, indeed for bringing about any personal change, has five elements.
First, develop self-awareness: know yourself, acknowledge that there are aspects of yourself that you wish to change, and understand what has stopped you feeling confident so far.
Then apply the I-T-I-A Formula© (pronounced eye-tea-ah):
■ Assert your intention to be confident, and make a commitment.
■ Change your thinking. This includes changing restrictive attitudes and beliefs.
■ Use your imagination. Imagine yourself as a confident person.
■ Act as if you are already confident. The more you speak and behave confidently, the more confident you will become.
All four parts of the I-T-I-A Formula© are essential, otherwise the change is unlikely to be permanent, or worse, nothing may change at all. If this sounds a little daunting, don’t worry – this entire programme is designed around these five elements – self-awareness, intention, thinking, imagination and acting ‘as if’. You will be introduced to them in small, practical steps to make it as easy as possible for you. All I ask is that you apply what you learn, stick with it and be patient. Entrenched habits don’t change overnight.
Self-esteem isn’t everything, it’s just that there’s nothing without it
Our first step is a simple but necessary one: buy a medium sized notebook. Use it for the written exercises in this programme, also to record your experiences and monitor your progress. Date each entry you make.
Your notebook will become a good friend, teacher and confidant, so keep it near you, consult it every day and update it regularly. Commit yourself to spending some time on this programme every day. Just ten minutes a day – reading, learning, thinking, doing etc – adds up to over 60 valuable hours of confidence building activity a year from now. Twenty-five minutes a day builds up to 152 hours in a year – that’s almost a week! Can you think of a better investment for your future?
What difference would it make to your life if you knew without any doubt that you could achieve anything you set your heart on? If you like jot down a few comments in your notebook.
Think about, and if you like write down, what confidence means to you. What do confident people do that unconfident people do not? What would you do differently if you were confident?
For example, perhaps you would find it easier to speak up for yourself, show your emotions, meet new people, or take on more responsibility at work?
Write down three beliefs that you hold about yourself which could be limiting your confidence.
Now think of three beliefs you would rather have, beliefs that would empower you and bring confidence. Cross out the limiting beliefs and write these empowering beliefs in their place.
What would you have to do for these new beliefs to come true?
Make yourself very comfortable, either sitting or lying down. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax.
Allow your imagination to flow freely. What would it be like to be perfectly confident? What difference would it make to your life?
Let your mind drift for a few minutes, then open your eyes and write down everything that comes to mind. Keep this list: you have it in
your power to experience all this one day. Remember, whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.
Commit yourself to behaving more confidently, as from now, even if it feels like an act. Do what actors, musicians, politicians, sports stars and many others do the world over – pretend you’re confident, even if you’re not.
For instance, calm your breath, stand upright, look people in the eye and speak with a clear, unwavering tone: you will immediately feel more confident.
From now on make this an unshakable rule: stop putting yourself down.
Never say anything about yourself, either silently or out loud, that you don’t sincerely want to be or come true.
Decide right now to treat yourself with love and respect and accept only the best for yourself for the rest of your life.
Behind their public personae many well known people, including the most glamorous and esteemed, are desperately shy.
In a radio broadcast Terry O’Neill, the celebrity photographer whose pictures of the rich and famous have adorned glossy magazines all over the world, described the Paramount Studios’ centenary celebrations in Hollywood. A hundred top movie stars were brought together, many of whom wanted to meet Elizabeth Taylor. O’Neill spotted her cowering in a corner, close to the door.
‘I thought, no one’s going near her,’ he said, ‘so, as I’d met her before, I asked if I could assist her. I pointed out that all those people were here to meet her. She said, “I’m so frightened, Terry. I’ve never seen so many stars in one room.” She was star struck – they all were! Then she asked me to introduce her to Robert de Niro. I didn’t know him, but I took her over, and it was amazing. It was like seeing two stumbling children talking with each other.’