US hypnotist and author Kent Sayre was once painfully shy, but after discovering a series of tips to overcome a lack of confidence, he went on to write Unstoppable Confidence (McGraw-Hill). Here are some of his best pieces of advice
1. Study confident people
Find a role model, a person with real self-belief and study their lives. If possible, buy their books, or CDs, go to their seminars or shows, or watch them play their sport. Once you’ve done your research, close your eyes and get an image of their speech, movement and behaviour. Then step into that vision and let it take you to five different situations, such as a job interview, or staying in a hotel alone, or making an entrance at a party. Then step out of the role model’s body and take your confidence with you.
2. Rewrite the past
Rather than beat yourself up about a diet that didn’t work, or a job you didn’t get, rewrite the past and give those experiences a more positive ending. Go back to a mistake and re-run it in your mind, stopping just before you made the mistake. Then imagine what the perfect ending could have been – maybe losing 6 kilograms or going out and meeting the man you were to marry. Replace the old ending with your new one and rerun it in your mind ten times.
3. Create a circle of confidence
Think back to a time when you felt confident and on top of the world, maybe your wedding day or the day you got some great exam results. Imagine a circle on the floor, noting its size and colour. When you step into the circle imagine your most confident moment. See what you saw at the time, hear the noises around you and feel that lovely confidence again. Adjust your body language to match your confidence, then walk around outside the circle.
4. Talk to yourself
When you talk to yourself, say “you” instead of “I” so your conscious mind can tell your unconscious mind what you want and how to behave. Stand tall in front of a mirror and say: “You are supremely confident”; “You go for what you want and you get it”; and “You are completely powerful.”
5. Amaze yourself!
Think of something so far outside your comfort zone that you would be amazed if you achieved it. It may be a skydive or a public-speaking engagement or an application for your dream job. You will start to believe that if you can skydive/speak in public/get your dream job, you can do anything and other challenges won’t seem so scary. Choose a big challenge and take immediate action towards making it happen.
6. Put yourself in the movies
Picture yourself at the height of your success – you may have thrown a huge fund-raising party or collected an award for new novelists or led a board meeting. See yourself bright and close-up on a big screen, add some sound or music and turn up the volume. Just before the success is yours, stop the film in your mind’s eye and ask why it is so important to you. Then restart the movie, jump back into your on-screen body and enjoy the pleasure. While you’re on that high, write down five immediate actions that would take you closer to your dream.