Do you ever look at someone brimming with confidence and self-belief, and think, “I wish that I could be like them”? We’ve all done it. It’s natural, unfortunately. But here’s the thing. There’s literally nothing standing between you and a supreme level of confidence that allows you to do anything you want. As I often say, confidence is not something that you are either born with or without – it’s more like a skill that you have to learn. Or a muscle that you have to train. Ready to learn the recipe to build self-confidence?
Ingredient #1 – Evidence
The first ingredient to build self-confidence is evidence. Because confidence stems from evidence you can do something. That you are good enough and that you will get good results. It’s one of the reasons why we fear things like change and the unknown. Because it's hard to be comfortable and confident about something when you don’t know what the likely outcome is.
For example, if I’m going to send you to walk on-stage in front of a crowd of 10,000 people and ask you to give a speech, for the very first time you’re probably going to be scared. And there’s a whole bunch of unknowns to be scared of. If you’ve never stood on a stage before, with a microphone and all of the lights beaming down onto you, it could be a nerve-wracking experience. Not to mention all of the people watching you – 10,000 people. That’s like 20,000 pairs of eyes (give or take) staring at you, waiting to see what you say.
Then you have to worry about what you’re going to say. Are they going to like it? Will you trip over your words? Will you even remember what you were going to say? All of those things are total unknowns. You have no evidence to suggest that the whole thing might go well or that you might even excel at it.
And so, if that’s an area of your life that lacks confidence, your brain automatically switches to the negative possibilities and focuses on the fact it might not work. Because those possibilities are easier to play out in your mind, you tend to go in a negative direction. It’s easier to imagine things won't go well when you have no evidence to suggest you might succeed.
Find evidence of a positive outcome
So the first thing you need to do to build self-confidence is to start building is evidence that you are going to succeed.
Best way to do this?
Strip down the terrifying thing (so that it’s butt naked) and find a small, tiny little version of it that is still scary but not totally and utterly terrifying. Find the ‘baby steps’ version that still puts the willies up you a little, but not so much. Maybe you’re going to go and deliver a little speech to a room of 10 strangers in the local pub. Still a bit scary, but nowhere near as bad.
Maybe before that first date, you arrange a random evening out with a friend of a friend. No complications or romantic entanglement – just a social night with someone you don’t know all that well yet. Perhaps before those job interviews, you make an effort to get yourself in front of a similar group of people and have a practice run.
The goal here is to find something that gives you some evidence of a positive outcome and shows you that you won’t crumble – that you can do it.
Pull evidence from your past
The other way to do this is to pull evidence from your past experiences under similar circumstances or from other areas of your life where you know you fly.
If you think about it, a first date and a job interview are not all that different. You’re there with someone you don’t know, trying to impress them (albeit with a different desired outcome!) But ultimately there are some skills that directly translate from one to the other. If you’re good at one, you've got some evidence there that you can pull across and drop into the other.
So, the first step is to find evidence that supports the fact that you have got this!
Ingredient #2 – Reps
Everything becomes easier the more you do it. You build strength through repetition. Nobody has ever gone to the gym once, picked up a weight, hoisted it above their head, and instantly become the world’s strongest man. Instead, you need to do a circuit of reps to make sure you’re using repetition to build strength.
The same thing applies to training your mind for supreme confidence. The more you do things to build evidence, the more evidence you collect. And the more evidence you collect, the more confident you feel. So to build self-confidence, collect evidence that helps combat the negative, limiting beliefs that hold you back.
As a side note, if you want an easy exercise to identify the limiting beliefs and negative stories, you can download my FREE resource Crushing Your Limiting Beliefs here.
But what if you have a setback?
After all, this is real life. And not everything goes right every time. So sometimes you’ll face knockbacks and setbacks that chip away at your confidence. And if your evidence was flimsy to begin with that can knock you out. But if you have a big, whopping pile of evidence to support your confidence, then a little setback doesn’t affect you so much, and you have a soft cushioning blanket of evidence to land into – like a comfy beanbag.
You probably figured out that life is a bit of a numbers game. If your wins outweigh your losses, then everything is easier. So to continue your training regime, I want you to start gathering opportunities to gain that evidence that we talked about for Ingredient #1. How can you start putting yourself in front of the lions more often to further prove to yourself that you’ve got what it takes? Even if you’re doing that stripped-back version of the truly terrifying thing, you’re going to take massive steps forward by reinforcing that evidence you started to build.
Our brains respond really well to repetition, too. In my stage hypnosis show, I use a technique called ‘Suggestion & Repetition’, knowing that your subconscious mind is far more likely to absorb a suggestion that is given often. That’s where the dreary stereotype of a hypnotist repeating ‘You are getting sleepier and sleepier’ comes from. The more chances you give yourself to try something, the more you’re training your mind to feel comfortable with it.
So, we need evidence. And more is better than less.
Ingredient #3 – RESISTANCE
When you’re training a muscle, there’s a fine balance between reps and resistance. After all, I could do a million bicep curls with a Sharpie pen. But that's not going to turn me into The Rock. (That’s about the most athletic remark you’re going to get from me, I’m afraid. Don’t get carried away. I’m impressed that I even know what a bicep curl is!)
Thing is, unless we start to increase resistance, we can’t build strength past a certain point. This is exactly the same with your confidence. Once you start to build evidence and get those reps in, you start to expand your comfort zone. Suddenly something that once seemed very difficult and terrifying becomes relatively normal.
You adapt to change.
You respond to challenges.
Your mind becomes more resilient and your confidence grows.
And when that happens, it’s time to increase the resistance. It’s time to find the slightly more difficult version of your challenge – to put some new barriers in your way. We only continue to grow through challenges, so when your first evidence-gathering missions start to become easier, we need to increase the difficulty. That might mean speaking in front of a larger group of people. Or meeting new people you’ve got no connection with at all in social circumstances. Or going on a proper first date.
Of course, what you do is going to vary depending on what area of your life or mindset you’re trying to build self-confidence in. But whatever it is, it's time to step up the difficulty from beginner to intermediate. Because otherwise, you’ll just be stalling your growth and stay in ‘comfort’ mode.
The idea is to continue building that evidence but under increasingly challenging tasks. And that's how you build self-confidence that's unbreakable and will stand the test of time. After all, what is life without a challenge? So when you start to feel that rising surge of confidence, start to increase the resistance.
The recipe to build self-confidence
There we have it! The three ingredients to help you build unshakable self-confidence:
- Evidence that things can and will go well.
- Reps to prove that it’s not just beginner’s luck and you have what it takes.
- Resistance to build your confidence even stronger over time.
Armed with this recipe, you can now start to find the areas of your life where you want to build self-confidence and get down to business. Start with one, see these massive changes in your life, and then start to replicate them in other areas.
Incidentally, this even works if you want to become more confident! As you’re implementing this in various areas of your life, it becomes easier to do. And there’s a massive compound effect too because building confidence in one area of your life has an undoubted knock-on effect in other areas.
If you'd like more tips on self-improvement without the ‘woo’, check out my YouTube channel Success Unlocked, where I share practical tips, strategies, stories, and inspiration for unstoppable personal growth to help you become the perfect version of yourself.