Multi-award winning coach and mental strength expert Annette Du Bois helps women overcome psychological blocks, enabling them to unleash their ultimate potential. Here she shares some of her breakthrough techniques for developing true self-confidence.
Pain is inevitable in life. Suffering is optional. You’ve probably heard that before. But as with all sayings, there’s always a grey area or course-altering perspective that knocks the proverb on its bottom.
Things are not as they are, they are as we think they are! Sounds a bit Double-Dutch but we don’t see things in the true unfolding dimension of reality. We filter, distort and taint things with our thought patterns, auto-reactions and behavioural conditioning. We then perceive those distortions as our reality.
Much of the world around us is trying to alter our perceptions, our thoughts and cognitive associations, steering us towards their agenda and decisions. The images and content continually spewing out on social media, the news, that accessory item you thought you needed, the holiday you’re programmed to be interested in, are all part of the illusionary dance.
This, combined with the challenges we are all faced with because of the pandemic (or Panic-demic!) confidence has been knocked. Yes, you put on the “face” for the world to see but deep-down confidence levels have been diminished.
The truth is confidence is not a static feeling or emotion. It’s a liquid element and susceptible to the ebb and flow of life. No one is 100% confident 100% of the time. It fluctuates like happiness or sadness.
We all need to create and maintain what I call the ‘Confidence State’. This goes beyond the effect your circumstances have on you but reaches deeper to the core of your being. It’s developing a deep belief in yourself that no matter what happens you can handle it.
It’s also rising above the opinion of others and embodying a powerful state of self-assurance and peripheral awareness. It’s all too easy to get caught in the social comparison and judgment trap.
I believe the true definition of confidence is this: The ability and belief in yourself to be able to handle any situation with a sense of certainty, courage and clarity.
It isn’t wasting your time dwelling on past mistakes or disappointing events. Because the best part about the past is that it’s over. Unless you keep breathing life into it with your thoughts.
So, focus on what you can control now. Take these steps:
Annette Du Bois: Develop Unwavering Self-belief
Life is a mirror reflecting what you give out. Push yourself to try new things and go beyond your comfort zone. Start stacking up belief references to get momentum. One of the best ways to develop high self-belief is to do what it is you think you couldn’t.
At first, this can appear SO scary! The what-ifs creep in and those negative niggles quickly turn into that defeatist attitude we’ve all been familiar with at times.
It’s important to understand what I call mind-tricks. The mind can get over-active and turbulent when faced with new or big things. As it becomes overwhelmed it easily distorts the reality and the catastrophising thoughts move in!
Try using what I refer to as the 10% Rule. In essence, it’s about taking a bigger task or action and breaking it down into manageable actions. You start with one small area which is doable, (you go 10% higher, 10% deeper, 10% wider rather than a million miles an hour and struggling). You achieve it, which builds your confidence and competence, then you tackle the next step and so on. Add more into your 10%, next time it could be 20% or 35% plus!
All the while you create a positive reference and belief in yourself, even though at first it felt scary or new or that you didn’t have a clue. You feel the ‘I CAN do this’ starting to gain momentum. You could even say to yourself, ‘I CAN do this 10% more!’
Say you wanted to go for a promotion or new job. BIG decision and lots to think about, maybe overwhelming the mind and creating that self-doubt trigger. First, get a blank sheet of paper and pen (avoid any devices at this stage, the brain is most creative when physically writing, not typing). Start writing in no particular order the steps you need to take, just get writing.
It could be updating your CV, looking at the job role, starting a podcast or vlog, or upskilling. Then add a number to each one in order of priority. Finally, add any date/timeframe these need to be done by. They say a goal is a dream with a deadline.
Step by step you’ve created your action plan, igniting your belief in your ability and your worthiness to finally go for it.
Fear, doubt and worry hold people back. The emotional impact of residual experiences often hits without warning and snaps our minds shut like a trap, holding us from moving forward, keeping us stuck in a state of inertia. You must feel certain you can handle the uncertainty. Trust in the process and the unfolding of the universe within. All you have to do is train your brain to see beyond the veil of fakery.
When making decisions or doing something new we often wonder if it’s going to work. And this can keep us stuck. We may say we’ll ‘try’… but that often just means we’re thinking about it (intention) and doesn’t necessarily result in positive action (actually doing it).
Let’s go through what I call the ‘UHC Process’ and together create the feeling and power of Certainty in your life.
Think about something you want to achieve but that you have put off or the self-doubts have stopped you.
Picturing yourself in a state of UNCERTAINTY, of course, you’ll feel doubtful, unsure, undecided, think ‘I can’t’, ‘It’s impossible’, etc. With uncertainty little is achieved other than being successful at being uncertain. We don’t want that though, do we?
Now, let’s shift our focus a little to being in a state of and picturing yourself feeling HOPEFUL about what you want to achieve.
You’ll start to feel more encouraged, reassured, optimistic. You use descriptive words such as ‘maybe’, ‘possibly’, ‘could try’. BUT here’s the thing: hopeful also causes us to hold back a little, releasing a sprinkling of doubt over the proceedings for the ‘just in case’ scenario. A self-protection mechanism built into our psyche!
Being hopeful is helpful but it won’t deliver the results we want.
Now let’s picture ourselves feeling absolutely CERTAIN. It’s that steadfast, positive ‘YES I CAN’ attitude, the empowering enthusiasm, the motivation-climax and the ‘I HAVE IT. It’s mine. With this sense and state of self-certainty, you become unstoppable. Doors swing wide, negativity is destroyed and is replaced with laser focus, paving the way for achievement.
You will no doubt have the niggling feeling that letting go into absolute certainty is risky and could lead to disappointment or failure because there are many variables outside of your control. But the one thing you can and must control is the self-certainty you bring to any situation in which you find yourself. Certainty will create more results than being uncertain and being hopeful ever will.
Think of a time you got something in your head that you really wanted (such as that much-coveted bag). You became so determined and focused to get it, that you did. Certainty hypnotised you to go and get it.
The same principle applies here. The more certain you are the more you’ll find a way or create a way to succeed.
Live with Courage
Practice the art of everyday bravery and a world of wonderful experiences opens up. New situations can feel scary, past pain kicks in and tries to stop us, but your courageousness becomes the snow plough for limitation. In practice, think of a situation that scares you and just go do it!
Use the 10% Rule and the UHC process to become more courageous and braver in the things (i.e. thought patterns) that previously held you back.
Stand up for your right to be imperfect, skew whiff and different. Have the courage to stand in your power and the confidence to carry it through. If your current circumstances are not what you want, then create a plan for the life you want because no one will do it for you.
Annette Du Bois is a multi-award winning expert on self-confidence, motivation and mental strength. She has worked with (coached) thousands of people worldwide with her unique breakthrough system. She’s appeared on numerous TV and Radio programs including Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’, Sky News, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and HELLO Magazine. Annette was also chosen as the Confidence ambassador for SKY Academy. Annette is the co-founder of CHAMPS Academy and a successful business owner.