Over the years, people often said: “Oh Wendy, you’re really confident” and yet it’s really only in the last couple of years that I’ve really begun to feel a sense of ‘inner confidence’. In my experience as a hypnotherapist, I’ve seen many people who on face value would appear to be confident and yet their lack of inner confidence either generally or in specific situations has caused them to develop phobias, anxieties or become stressed and has held them back from going for the next promotion or following their dreams.
So let me ask you some questions:
- How confident are YOU?
- Do you feel confident in all situations or only in some?
- Do you ever suffer from anxiety or stress either generally or maybe when you’re going into a particular situation e.g. an interview, a social gathering, flying, giving a presentation etc. ?
- Do you have any phobias?
- Do you experience panic attacks?
- Maybe you don’t feel able to ‘speak up’ with a particular person at work or at home?
- Are you ‘body confident’ or do you feel you want to hide certain parts of you away?
- Are you proud of yourself, your body, who you are and the things you do?
Generally, I am a confident person and yet many years ago, although I was definitely ‘the best person for the job’, I went for an ‘internal’ interview at work and as I opened the door of the interview room, my heart started to race, I couldn’t breathe or speak and I thought I was having a heart attack. As I sat facing the panel of 3 interviewers (who I knew…), I couldn’t answer any of their questions.. the words simply wouldn’t come out of my mouth and I can still recall the look of horror on their faces as they tried unsuccessfully to progress the interview.
Afterwards, one of the managers came to me and said: “Wendy, what happened? You always seem so confident – I couldn’t believe it was you in that room… We’re so sorry but we couldn’t score you because you couldn’t answer the questions…” Obviously I didn’t get the job!
Sadly, the same thing happened in two subsequent interviews. I’d prepared, I knew I was a strong candidate and yet as I put my hand on the interview room door, my confidence completely vanished and I was left a jabbering wreck as the ‘panic attacks’ struck again.
I’d suffered similar issues throughout my childhood. I was ‘top of my class’ throughout infant and junior school and yet I failed my 11+ exam. Nobody could believe it – the Headmaster called my mum into school to discuss what had happened… Apparently I’d written the best essay of all children across the Borough and yet I’d not answered any of the maths questions. Why? Because I’d sat in that exam and my mind had gone completely blank – I couldn’t remember anything.
Years later, whilst taking my O’levels, I remember a feeling of horror as I sat looking at the History Examination Paper and barely being able to see the words, let alone answer the questions. History was my best subject – I’d had a brilliant teacher who bought the subject to life. I was definitely expected to achieve an A (they didn’t do A* then)… I remember sitting for 40 minutes without being able to write anything and a teacher who was ‘moderating’ came up to me to ask me if I was ok… then suddenly the words flowed and I managed to answer several of the questions in the remaining time. I achieved a B and yet the disappointment that I’d not achieved the expected ‘A’ remained with me for many years…
My parents, my manager, my teacher all thought I was ‘confident’ and that I would pass my exams, be successful in my interviews and yet….. I didn’t believe it. I was ‘confident’ on the outside, but clearly not confident on the inside…
I remember feeling a sense of inferiority and being intensely worried that I’d let people down and failed to meet their expectations. I’d lost my confidence and developed fears that I wouldn’t be ‘good enough’ and hey ho… what you BELIEVE about yourself is the RESULTS you get.
The extreme nature of my panic attacks in an interview situation became my catalyst for CHANGE… I recognised that although I came across in most situations as a ‘confident’ person, I didn’t have the inner confidence and belief in myself and therefore when I was put ‘under pressure’ in situations like exams and interviews, I triggered my ‘fight or flight’ response. Although I didn’t physically run out of those rooms, that’s exactly what I wanted to do….
We aren’t born with our level of confidence. It’s something we learn, often through our childhood experiences or from particular situations that we face in our lives.
- Some people grow stronger and more confident as their life progresses and yet others will loose either their overall confidence or their confidence in particular situations.
- Even the most confident person, can be rendered a quivering wreck in certain situations, if they have developed a significant fear e.g. fear of flying, fear of spiders/snakes, fear of public speaking etc.
- Some of our more extreme ‘phobic’ responses, are developed in a single incident and yet these can plague us throughout our lives and impact massively on our confidence.
Recognising where we are with our confidence, is the first step to making a CHANGE… Yes, it is possible to boost our confidence and overcome our fears that hold us back in our lives or simply make us feel ‘bad’ about ourselves.
- Acknowledging that I had to overcome my ‘panic attacks’ in an interview situation led me to seek help from a hypnotherapist to develop new beliefs about myself and to develop new strategies to change my ‘automatic response’ which was triggered when my hand touched the interview room door.
Overcoming my fears and increasing my inner confidence, enabled me to progress to become a Senior Manager in business and I was successful in every interview I subsequently went for…
I became so fascinated with the ‘power of our minds’ that I subsequently trained as a hypnotherapist myself as some of you may have read in previous posts. I love to help people overcome their fears and develop their ‘inner confidence’ because when they do, they begin to really shine and their lives expand as a result.
A lack of confidence either generally or in specific situations, holds us back and is often as a result of an ‘inner fear’ that we’ve created and a ‘belief’ about ourselves i.e. our ‘Limiting Beliefs’. Our lack of confidence, fears and limiting beliefs are all connected and can be completely overwhelming.
If we fear flying, we may never ‘go abroad’ for our holidays or go for the ‘best job’ because it means we’d have to fly…. or maybe if we ‘fear spiders’, we don’t go to places where we think we may see them… In some more extreme cases, people become agoraphobic and won’t leave their home because of their lack of confidence or they start to ‘self harm’ and sadly as I’ve witnessed with a family member, their lack of self confidence led them to stay in mentally and physically abusive relationships… In many cases, we limit the opportunities in our lives as a result of our lack of confidence in ourselves…
Although we all have our differing levels of confidence, we can all learn new skills and strategies to boost our confidence both on the outside in terms of what others would see and more importantly, on the inside… our ‘inner confidence’.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to run a series of posts, focussed on HOW TO BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE… This can truly be life changing and no matter what your current level of confidence is, there is always room to increase it further as I’ve discovered along my journey of self discovery.
If you take some time to work through some of the weekly exercises, you’ll feel your confidence levels rise and wow – who knows where that new level of ‘inner confidence’ will take you… Definitely up to the next level of your life!
I aim to post my Confidence boosting tips and techniques over the next few weeks on a Monday so pop back for your weekly ‘confidence boost’!
I’d love to hear about your personal experiences and whether you lack confidence in any particular situation or area of your life as I may be able to include some specific tips to help you so Please LEAVE A COMMENT… if you think there is an area of your life that you lack confidence!