How to Increase Your Self-Belief and Understand its Power
Listen to the podcast to discover how a lack of self-belief may be affecting your ability to achieve your goals. Here Gillian shares tips on how to increase your self-belief and understand its true power.
Let's consider the power of self-belief when it comes to achieving your dreams in life, and how you can increase this power.
No doubt you will have heard many stories from people telling you of how they created a vision board and soon after all their dreams came true. They will encourage you to do the same; to create a board filled with pictures of the life you want to start living.
I have a vision board, and I encourage others to create one too. It’s a great tool to help relight your imagination and passion for bigger and brighter things in life.
However, it’s one thing creating a great vision for your future but believing that you can achieve it is another thing altogether.
You can spend ages looking through magazines and pinning pictures of your dreams on your board, but if you really don’t believe that you will achieve those dreams, the chances are you won’t.
By creating your vision board, you haven’t created a path towards achieving your dreams, you’ve just created a pretty looking board that you can look at wishfully now and again.
You have a created a reminder of the things you don’t have and attached a feeling of inadequacy to it. That’s not good! That’s not the purpose that it is supposed to have!
So why do Vision Boards work for some people, and not for others?
Is it some type of magic chant that you forgot to say to your board every day?
What is it that you are missing to make it work?
I know some dreams feel so out of reach and only accessible to the lucky few, but why is that? I mean, who chooses those lucky people over you?
How were they selected to have fun-filled adventurous lives, and you were overlooked?
Was it because you weren’t raised by a rich family? Perhaps you came from the wrong side of town? Maybe you think it has something to do with your lack of some grand education. Could it be that you are the wrong sex/age/religion/height…?
Well if it’s not because of all these things then it definitely must be because higher powers really felt that you didn’t deserve it.
Basically, all these thoughts are rubbish and a waste of your time and emotions.
These thoughts, or reasonings are actually excuses you create in order to justify to yourself why you are not succeeding where you want to in life.
You have learnt to believe these stories and you are living your life to accommodate them. You are actually creating your life to fit into what particular box you have believed that you belong to.
Sounds a bit harsh? Still believe that you are not meant for greatness?
Well, start by realising that there are so many successful people out there that have come from all different backgrounds, all different situations and all different natures. There are really highly educated successful people, and those who’ve hardly had a day’s schooling in their life! There are successful people from all walks of life and from all corners of the world. There are healthy successful people and those who fight illness and disability on a daily basis and are still successful.
So, what makes them advance more than you?
Quite simply, they believe in themselves.
No matter how big or small your dream is, you must begin to believe that you can and will achieve it. That’s why vision boards work for some people, and not for others. They believed that their goals were within their reach. You must believe the same.
Easier said than done?
Building a strong belief in your abilities can be tough.
Many of us grew up being taught to be humble and not to boast about our successes in life. It wasn’t polite or of good taste to celebrate our ‘little’ wins.
This behaviour of ‘sweeping success under the carpet’ fits well with being over-modest and this habit contributes to self-regulation of our personal confidence.
Constantly denying that your achievements weren’t really that big, and brushing them aside, leads you to actually believing that your achievements really weren’t that big a deal in the first place!
This is crazy. Clearing every hurdle on your way to achieving your goal is a big deal, and you should recognise each one and be proud of it.
An achievement in your life is anything that you put an amount of effort into in order to move towards a bigger goal.
This could be sticking to an exercise routine for so many months so that you can compete in a sponsored race.
It could be finishing an outline for a book you want to write.
It could be completing the first year of a college course.
The more you recognise just how much you already achieve in life, and have achieved in the past, then the more credit you will give yourself. You will begin to realise that you are an achiever, and that you overcame the obstacles in your way in order to achieve those results.
The action that you took to achieve those goals in the past, is the same principal action that you need to take to achieve future goals. So, you already possess the skills you need to achieve something - you now need to recognise your ability to do this, and believe in yourself.
So, here’s the first thing that you can do to help improve your self-belief.
Take some time out and write down anything that you have achieved in the past. This could be anything you feel proud of, whether you feel it’s a big deal or not. Have you got qualifications or years of work experience? Have you raised a family? Have you created an amazing piece of artwork? Can you play a musical instrument? Have you raised lots of money for charity? Have you overcome any injury or illness?
Really dig deep. Think about the challenges that you have faced in your life and how you’ve overcome them. Write it all down. This is your real-life resume.
Make sure you read it over and smile as you do. You should be so proud of every achievement that you have written down. It’s your key to future success.
Now to think of how you communicate with yourself.
Your inner conversation is extremely important.
We are all guilty of giving ourselves a hard time. We make a mistake and we are so quick to call our self stupid without thinking about it.
Well, I know I am not stupid. I have lots of certificates to say otherwise, but the more I criticise myself, that’s when I start to believe it. The certificates no longer matter. What I tell myself, is what matters, and what I ultimately believe. No amount of praise from others will convince me otherwise.
This is a slippery slope to find yourself on. It’s a hard path to put a stop to but you must stop it.
All you are doing is constantly attacking your self-confidence and belief in yourself.
It’s so terribly harsh and very damaging to the positive life you are trying to adopt. Even if you think you say it in jest, your mind still recognises the meaning of the words, and takes it on board.
You need to learn to ease off a bit from being so self-critical. You wouldn’t speak to your friend as harshly as you speak to yourself, so why do you do this?
Your journey in life doesn’t depend on perfectionism. So why not leave it at the door and move on with a little more self-respect and love for yourself.
This is a difficult habit to overcome, but you can do it.
You must really try to tune in to your inner dialogue and when you notice that you have said something negative to yourself, stop and rephrase it. Swap ‘put-downs’ with praise. If you find something challenging, don’t think of giving up, think of how far you have come and be proud that you are still pushing forwards.
It will take practice, but once you start getting used to more positive self-conversations, you will begin to notice a complete change in your outlook and even your mood. Self-confidence will come in time, but you will also notice feeling more in control of situations that develop around you and feel more at peace in yourself.
Just imagine, all this positive change happens just because you alter the way you speak to yourself!
Now, although you take this action to limit any belief-limiting self-talk, you can’t stop other people from speaking down to you.
There are always going to be others who will spout out some negative rubbish whenever they get the first opportunity. You know who they are. You can’t say or do anything without a contradictory comment telling you, in one way or another, that you are wrong, crazy, foolish, stupid, or ridiculous for even contemplating what you are putting your energy into.
These people are the nay-sayers in life. They are never happy. Yes, it’s true that sometimes they will voice their opinion because they care for you, and want to protect you from failing, but all they are doing is inadvertently planting the seed in your mind that you will, indeed, fail.
I tend to find, however, that these people are so negative, that even if you won the lottery, they would still find something down to say about it!
So, how do you deal with this type of negative input?
Well, it would be easy for me to say, just avoid it. It really is the best solution to avoid coming into contact with these dream-killers, but I know that this may be impossible, as they tend to be people in your immediate circle of family and friends!
So, my first piece of advice would be to try avoid telling them about your plans, or keep the information on a limited need-to-know basis. With less information, they can’t go on and on about it and disturb your focus to reach your goal.
My other piece of advice would be to learn to blank out the negative aspects of the conversation when it inevitably comes around.
Pretend you have a filter between your ears and your brain that only lets positive information through. Anything that has a negative vibe gets refused at the door. You can hear your internal Brain Bouncer saying, ‘If you’re not positive energy, you’re not coming in!’
As you learn to filter out the good from the rubbish, and acquire ‘selective hearing’, you must also practice your smile (which really has to look real - not fake!) and your happy responses to any negative blurb that gets directed at you.
You might wish to sit down and create a list of these responses. Think of questions you may be asked and some retorts you expect you may receive, then write your reply.
Once you are armed with responses, your inner rubbish filter and a genuine fake smile, you are ready to face the naysayer with confidence!
So, let me sum this all up.
You can’t achieve your goals in life unless you truly believe that you can achieve them.
The world and their auntie can believe in you, but the energy of self-belief must come from within you.
Although it’s not an easy task, you can build up your self-belief.
You can do this by identifying and appreciating all the achievements that you have already accomplished in your life so far.
By learning to have more friendly inner conversations with yourself and by blocking out the negative comments made by those pesky naysayers.
I know that you can do this, so start this journey towards stronger self-belief today and surprise yourself with what you can achieve!