How to FEEL confident
You’ve set yourself a goal. Perhaps you’ve agreed to speak at a friend’s wedding or give a presentation at work, and you can already feel the beads of perspiration gathering. Remember, action begets confidence – actions of confidence come first, feelings of confidence come second. So practise, practise, practise.
“If you want to become a confident public speaker, you have to practise,” says Dr Russ Harris. The idea is that eventually we achieve “flow”, when our skills align perfectly with the task at hand and we’re in the confidence zone.
But you can never banish nerves completely – it’s the natural fight-or-flight mechanism that kicks in whenever we step outside our comfort zone and take a risk. Fear can be a great source of energy and motivation – just ask any top-level athlete or performer. The trick is not to get hooked by that inner voice telling you that you’re bound to make a fool of yourself. A mindfulness trick can help you overcome your emotions in the moment. “Let negative thoughts float by,” says Dr Harris. “Think of them as leaves floating on a river. Instead, focus your full attention on the task.”
If you experience a setback, let go of criticism and move on quickly. “Old regrets need to be turned into lessons learnt; they can always be reframed in a life-affirming way,” says Dr Riaz, who recommends keeping a diary to learn from setbacks. “That way we can let go of the past and move on.”