Self- (confidence, awareness, respect, preservation…)

“Last year, selfie was named International Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries, so how about self- as Word of the Age? That’s not self on its own, but self- the prefix, as in self-portrait, self-parody, self-referential and maybe a little self-obsessed. It expresses the zeitgeist. It runs like a red thread through the words that are written, spoken and read everywhere, by everyone from self-made pop culture icons and self-appointed bloggers to the self-satisfied guardians of high culture.

Trends from Havas

“Creating a positive self-image is now recognized as a vital task for everyone, boosted by good measures of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, self-respect and self-regard. Getting those right sets off a self-reinforcing process, especially for energetic self-starters. On the other hand, people who are prone to self-doubt or self-pity might want to try a little self-compassion and self-acceptance as part of a self-directed self-improvement program. Self-conscious or self-critical people might find this all a little too self-absorbed, whereas others could find it positively self-aware.”

In continual disagreement with Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and in continual agreement with the quote above (from the Havas Worldwide white paper on the top 10 trends of 2015), I see self-confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, self-respect and self-regard as vital qualities in today’s world. OK, maybe I am biased, but I still think that the Law of Attraction has got it sorted and that whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

So what are YOU doing to self-improve? How are YOU growing your confidence? Here’s 3 ways for people with little confidence in a particular area:

1) Decide, for no better reason than you have decided, that you will be more confident today.
Just deciding to be confident gives you confidence. Confident people don’t look for reasons to be confident, they just decide they are confident. The reason why you choose to wear that particular T-shirt, pair of trousers, skirt or hat is just as valid as the reason you choose to feel confident. It is all in the mind.

2) Reduce the tension.
Fear creates tension and tension is not helpful in overcoming lack of confidence. So with that new-found confidence (from deciding to be confident today), let go of the nervousness. Take a deep breath and let the tension go. Do it several times, until the tension has gone. Now you are ready to:

3) Take a (calculated) risk.
Confidence is the memory of past successes. If you want to build your past successes, you have to take risks. When you realise that those risks paid off (that you didn’t die), you can count it as a success and add it to the bank of past successes on which to build your confidence.

So now you can go out and conquer the world. Failing that, at least conquer your fear of talking to a stranger. Or that girl/boy you have the hots for. Or your lack of self-confidence!


Bullying boxing and giving back

A girl gets bullied. As she is walking home, she notices women walking into a boxing gym and follows them in. She gets invited in and given boxing gloves to start training. Back on the street, she gets bullied again, but this time stands up to the bully. The bully walks away. Already a great message and one I mention often: a person’s reaction is vital in determining whether or not they are bullied. But this video takes it a step further and shows the -now grown- girl inviting another little girl in to learn how to fight. Yes, this could be a normal day on the street in any town. However it is the video to the song “Dynamite” by Karise Eden. Karise has an amazing voice and by adding the idea of giving back to this video has taken the message to a whole new level. Watch it here:


Confidence is…

Confidence is: Fighting our inner dragonsConfidence is courage. Confidence is doing what has to be done because it will lead to where you want to be. Confidence is feeling the resistance, but controlling it enough to push through that resistance. Confidence is fighting you inner dragons. Confidence is changing that inner voice which says you cannot, are not good enough, will never… Confidence is noticing that you are not happy and doing what it takes to become it. Confidence is taking responsibility for your life. Confidence is doing as much as you can. Confidence is realising that there are things that can be achieved more easily with help. Confidence is having the guts to say “No!”. Confidence is reaching out. Confidence is doing what it takes. Confidence means success. Confidence means fun. Confidence means love. Confidence means happiness. Confidence feels great!

What are you doing to increase your confidence?


What Confidence isn’t…

ParalysisConfidence is not implying you are the best. Confidence is not hitting someone weaker than you. Confidence is not procrastinating. Confidence is not giving in to temptation. Confidence is not doing something detrimental to yourself, your health or your mental state. Confidence is not wondering whether she would go out on a date with you, but never asking. Confidence is not accepting to be paralysed in the face of doing something. Confidence is not shying away from trying something new. Confidence is not sitting around watching TV. Confidence is not checking Facebook to ensure you still have friends. Confidence does not mean arrogance. Confidence does not mean doubt. Confidence does not mean inaction. Confidence does not mean hesitation. Confidence does not mean stagnation.

What could you achieve with more confidence?


Kinderleichte Interviews

[Why use the German word Kinderleicht? Because there is no English word for it. The closest is ‘very easy’, or ‘dead easy’, but the German word implies even a child can do it. Read on to understand why this is the perfect word to describe this blog…]

I just watched an extremely funny, yet pertinent interview. The people of Bored Shorts TV recorded kids doing an interview, then filmed adults acting it out. Brilliant! (link below)

It (quite rightly) illustrates the fact that what is said during an interview is not the most important part. The interviewer is trying to get a feel for the person, which cannot be had from a piece of paper, while the interviewee is concentrated on making the best impression possible, in the belief they can influence the outcome.

It also illustrates the fact that whether or not you are hired is nothing you as interviewee have any control over.


So why do we bother with interviews? Or more importantly, what is the role of confidence in interviews?

Some people I speak to say that being competent is enough. Others say that interviews are (hopefully) not something you will do very often in life and therefore being good at interviews is not important (though the better you are, the less you will have – is that a Catch 22? or just Murphy’s law?). Still others say that interview confidence is something you either have, or don’t have.

I disagree with all three of these thoughts. I think you CAN increase your confidence leading up to an interview. I think it is VITAL to do so and I think confidence DOES make a difference. Not only because I am the Confidence Guy, also because when I was manager of 2 businesses in Switzerland, I had to hire people. And those who showed confidence (independently of how they felt) DID have a higher chance of being hired. I also spoke to other HR people who confirmed my experience.

But don’t take my word for, ring up a local company, ask to speak to someone at HR and ask them what difference confidence (shown by the interviewee) makes in the hiring process.

However doing that takes confidence…

Well, you’ve read what I think. What do you think? Is feeling confident during an interview important? Why?

To watch the interview I am talking about, click this link.


Moving outside the zone

Remember when you started driving?

cop pulling over kid

You felt Nervous – having to learn about road rules, how the car works, how to avoid other drivers (including cops)… I certainly remember feeling nervous, as though I would never make it. But then, you pass the test and drive a bit and suddenly, getting into a car is second nature.

That feeling of nervousness is the almost tangible edge of your comfort zone. When you do something despite that feeling of nervousness (and assuming you don’t fail miserably), you expand your comfort zone.

Then you get into a car which is automatic (or manual) and you feel nervous again. This is the edge of your new, expanded comfort zone.

Yes, moving outside your comfort zone takes courage, confidence and the will to get past it, but that is what life is about!

How often do you push the boundaries of your comfort zone?




What is Confidence?

One of the most emotional moments I have ever had, was a spoken presentation by an 18 year old who had a very bad stutter, in front of a large audience of fellow students, parents, teachers and other members of the community.

All the members of the class of this young man (whom I shall call Sam) had been studying a subject of their choosing for 6 months as part of their final year at school and were now presenting the results of their research.

Public Speaking is scary - now try it with a stutter!

Public Speaking is scary – now try it with a stutter!
– Thanks to JJ for the use of the photo

Despite Sam having a very bad stutter even when not under pressure, there he stood, alone, in front of a room full of people, some of whom knew what an amazing feat it was just for him to be standing there and some of whom had yet to learn. He took a deep breath and started speaking. At least he tried. For what seemed like an hour (but was probably closer to 30-45 secs), he stood there, trying to speak the first word of his prepared speech, without managing. Even after the audience had begun to wonder how he was going to get through the page of writing he was holding in the time he had, he continued to try and do it alone. Finally he accepted that he had would not be able to get a word out, so looked at one of his classmates (I shall call him Jack) sitting in the front row. As obviously prepared, Jack stood up and went to stand next to Sam. Jack then started slowly reading the script that Sam had prepared and as he did, Sam started joining in, bit by bit, word by word, until eventually Jack was able to stop reading and Sam was able to finish his speech alone. I shall leave you to imagine the response of the audience when he finished.

As I hope you can imagine, speaking in front of that audience was way outside of Sam’s comfort zone. But he accepted to seek the help he needed and did it anyway. That is one form of confidence. In this case, confidence is not about how competent you are and how willing you are to do something you are competent at. That is easy. Confidence is doing something you are not good at (with help if necessary – be that in the form of someone supporting you, getting education or practicing it), something outside your comfort zone, being successful at your goal (sometimes it is not all about winning, but just making it across the finishing line) and thereby increasing your ability to try out other new things.

Some people don’t have that confidence. They don’t ask for help and remain in their bubble, their comfort zone, their world of known fears, not ever daring to face the unknown fears that create the boundaries of their world.

But let’s imagine for a minute that a magic fairy could eliminate that fear. What would the world look like?

Think about how your world would look if you were able to step outside your comfort zone and try something you would really like to do, but have never had the courage to do. How would you feel? How much less stress, anxiety and pain would you feel?

If what you imagine is more attractive than what you are living today, if that world seems incredible and if you would like to be there, but you still let fear dictate what you do and do not do, take heart – there is a solution. Taking action despite fear is possible and not as hard as it seems.