How to stop doubting yourself and build self-confidence

BY Fiona Harrold

16th Apr 2024 Life

4 min read

How to stop doubting yourself and build self-confidence
Bestselling author and coach Fiona Harrold shares five expert techniques to build confidence in yourself and overcome self-doubt
We are living in the age of anxiety, according to the World Health Organisation. Seventy per cent of adults in the US say they are anxious or "extremely anxious." In the UK, the number of workers taking sick leave has hit a 10-year high, with stress as the main reason.
Whether it’s the lingering effects of lockdown and the Covid crisis or the cost-of-living crisis, people are feeling more insecure and anxious since records began.
We may not be able to control what happens outside ourselves, but we have the power to control what happens inside. We have the power to control our response and build our internal strength. The asset that we must build and nurture is our self-belief.
"Your attitude and your self-belief are your antidote to anxiety"
William James, the father of modern psychology said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude."
Your attitude and your self-belief are your antidote to anxiety. When you have faith in yourself, you are best placed to handle the challenges life presents. Strong self-belief is your greatest advantage in life, beyond the advantages of being born into an affluent or powerful family.
I have coached people from all walks of life for 25 years and I have seen first-hand that self-belief is what sets people up to be happy, prosperous and able to achieve their dreams.
So how do you build self-belief and overcome self-doubt?

1) Build your identity

When I sat down to write my first book, Be Your Own Life Coach, I was paralysed with self-doubt; I couldn’t write a word and considered backing out of my contract. I thought, "Who am I to do this?"
I remembered the words of my dad, 30 years before. He had been a hugely successful door-to-door salesman, and he used to say, "Never try and sell anything that you’re not sold on. Sell it to yourself first."
Bestselling author and coach Fiona Harrold
I sat down and made a list of all the reasons I was uniquely placed to write the book. Within 30 minutes, I was "sold", and the words flowed!
Do the same every time you are poised for growth and your confidence needs an upgrade. Take pen and paper and write out the sentence: "Reasons Why I Am Uniquely Qualified to Do X." Your mind will start searching for evidence to prove your point. Soon, you will have sold yourself to you!

2) Build your team

Choose your companions carefully. They will be feeding your self-belief or starving it. You need people who "get you", and see your true potential. When the going gets tough, you may need to lean on their belief in you and borrow it until your own has recovered and bounced back!
"We need to connect with others and feel a sense of belonging and community"
Above all, do not get isolated. The experience of lockdown showed that being isolated from other people had an immensely detrimental effect on our mental health. We need to connect with others and feel a sense of belonging and community.

3) Move!

The famous coach, Tony Robbins, says, "Show me your state and I’ll show you your future." He means that you must be able to change your internal state from feeling flat and doubtful to one of enthusiasm and self-belief.
A woman walking her dog
One of the simplest ways to do this is to move your body. It’s been shown that as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking increases your mental alertness, energy and positive mood. You can often find a solution to a problem and a fresh new perspective from getting out of your mind and into physical activity.

4) Meditate

Four hundred years ago, the philosopher Blaise Pascal said, "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."
You could argue that his words are more relevant in today’s times than then! We need a break from the 24-hour newsfeeds, social media pings and alerts from our smart phones.
"When you’ve let go of the thoughts troubling you, you can feel a peace within that melts self-doubt"
Otherwise, you could be constantly "on" and your nervous system flooded with stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol, making it hard for your system to come back to balance.
Whether you feel you’re connecting to a higher power or God, or your own higher self, give yourself time every day to come back to you and let go of everything.
Music with a frequency of 528 Hertz is known for promoting balance and inner peace. When you’ve let go of the thoughts troubling you, you can feel a peace within that melts self-doubt, and your spirit and self-belief are effortlessly uplifted.

5) Stop the criticism!

You can be a great ally or a great enemy for yourself. There is no one who can do more damage to your self-belief than—you!
  • Listen carefully to how you speak to yourself. Are you diminishing yourself or building yourself up?
  • Show compassion to your "mistakes" and perceived failings. See that no one creates success without learnings along the way.
  • Let go of what you may be blaming yourself for, either in your professional life or personal. Forgive yourself, or you may stay stuck in blame.
  • Make amends if you need to. I once had a client who was in prison and he made the decision to be of great service to others during his time there. He changed his life and today, gives talks on resilience and coaches business leaders.
Be Your Own Life Coach
Fiona Harrold is a top executive coach, business mentor, consultant and author of Be Your Own Life Coach (Hodder).
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