3 steps to discovering an unshakable inner confidence in who you are.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the launch of the Power Women Project in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was such a beautiful day filled with a stunning group of women, committed to making a difference, growing as women and living fuller lives.
The topic was Inner Confidence, a quality we all desire. We all want to be the woman that walks into the room and owns her space. She is someone who seems effortless in her movements, comfortable in her skin and is someone that people want to be around.
Like many people, I am not a naturally confident person and have looked into the topic many times. I’ve been in a room of people psycho-analyzing myself, wondering why I feel so inadequate; I’ve read a variety of books, watched videos and tried to find how to solve this problem. How do I feel and exude confidence?
Over time, I realized that there is no fix, magic formula or switch that would perform a Cinderella-like transformation and make me confident.
The truth is that you cannot feel truly confident until you know who you are. It is in knowing your core, deepest truths, what you stand for, what you don’t stand for and what feeds your soul that you are able to accept it all. Once you accept yourself for all you are, you begin to feel comfortable in putting yourself out there.
In other words, it’s when you know, love and accept yourself that you find your personal truth and your confidence within.
But how do we get there? I mean, it is pretty obvious that this is not an overnight/ quick fix solution. Rather, it is a consistent and life-long practice of self-discovery that yields an ever-deepening connection to self, which automatically strengthens your inner confidence.
So, while there isn’t a one-size-fits-all super-fix, below are the steps I have taken and continue to practice towards developing my connection to self and thereby, building my confidence:
Let go of expectation and comparison
Comparison and expectations are a major cause for feeling less-than, inadequate and even anxious. We look at other people who have some similarities to us and we see all of the ways that they are “ahead” of us. We think, “Oh no, she is so creative… so beautiful… she’s already done it… she’s natural at it… blah blah blah.”
What we are doing is seeing a portion of their story (mostly what we think is the whole story) and then automatically deem it superior in every way. We see her as having an advantage and ourselves at a disadvantage.
Comparisons also lead to us creating arbitrary expectations for ourselves. We define a set of criteria we should meet in order to “be successful” or to simply give ourselves permission to be who we are.
Well, allow me to burst this metaphorical bubble right here, right now! Comparing your story to some one’s else’s is a waste of time. I mean it is a completely redundant exercise.
Let me give you an example by looking at popular actresses, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone. They are both stunning actresses who bring something special to the silver screen. Each has their own story that led them to their success. They have played very different roles and learned different lessons, worked with different people and all the while, they have arrived at a very similar place to share their gifts with the world.
Comparing them is irrelevant. Their stories, personalities, and presence are unique. If they tried to be like each other, they would lose what makes them special and likely fade into the background. It is because they celebrate who they are and their own stories that they command the attention of audiences across the globe. They do not compete, rather their individual success builds the career opportunities for each other and countless other actresses.
How does this apply? I can’t look at your path for guidance as it will only show me how to be like you. I must look at my own lessons, my own victories, the things that bring me joy and get me excited to be alive. Because it is when I focus on my own path that I achieve my dreams my way, the way intended for me.
Let your heart lead the way
Being unclear about your path can cause all sorts of havoc in your life. For a long time, I bounced around between careers, searching for that perfect job that would give me purpose. It was only much later that I recognized that I was really looking for a connection that I could only find within myself.
This was a difficult time for me. I constantly felt like a fraud and like I wasn’t going anywhere. I would be terrified of telling people what I do because I thought they would judge my indecisiveness or my lack of experience or purpose.
When I started my journey towards my true self it was like opening a magic door to understanding myself and what I bring to the table. Early on, a yoga teacher of mine shared Gaia cards with us and I pulled the card entitled, “Sacred Mother Earth.” When I read the message on the card I became emotional as it was exactly what I needed to hear:
Sacred Mother Earth:
“We travel the endless corridors of our mind until one day we find a pathway that leads us to our heart.” Who we truly are has nothing to do with your personality, or your achievements, success or failures. The “you” you think you are is an actor, playing a role that your soul has chosen. The essence of you is “soul” – “light” with no beginning or end. You are an eternal spark of pure creativity, unlimited potential that yearns to be expressed and fulfilled. Your potential is your destiny, it awaits your call.
Trust your heart and apply its love and wisdom to all you do.
In this way, all you create or do will be a true expression of your soul. It is through expressing your truth that you create things of lasting value. Be true to you.
This blew my mind and awakened me to the absolute fact that as long as I am true to my soul (my values, my integrity, my joy, my love) I can do anything. I immediately let go of the expectation to be that one thing and started writing. At first, it was just journal entries to somehow give movement to what I was feeling. Over time my musings became more structured, more focused and this blog grew out of that.
I also stopped looking for the pigeonhole career path and instead, focused on what I want my life to look like. (A very different perspective that allows you to choose your career path/ business style so that it feeds your ideal life, rather than picking a career and living for Friday.) Once I was clear on that I designed my business (offering, craft, and model) to make that a reality. I am still in transition towards that goal, but unlike my former self, I celebrate what I don’t know. I celebrate the process of discovery because I trust that as I grow closer to my truth, I am guided towards my vision.
Confidence in practice
Another beautiful soul I met recently, Caroline Hopkins, shared a profound truth about discovering confidence. We instinctively stay in our comfort zones, afraid to stretch. However, it is when we do stretch ourselves into what we don’t know that we grow our confidence in that space.
Why I love this so much is that it encourages you to try, to jump, to risk and subsequently grow. Every time you take a step out of your comfort zone, you learn about yourself. You learn what works for you, you learn about your interests, passions, and things you don’t enjoy. You gain skills and confidence in your abilities, knowledge. Ultimately, you enable yourself to grow into your vision while grooming yourself to be ready for its challenges and achievements.
In this way, you develop an unshakable confidence that is anchored in your abilities and a knowing that you can overcome any unknown challenge. You became more optimistic and willing to take risks.
So next time you want to do something, whether it’s a new career, learn a new skill, take on a project, start a family; and you feel a little fear. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, embrace the risk with a few small steps. You don’t have to jump all at once. Practice moving closer. Before you know it, the small steps will become big leaps as you realize just how strong, capable and courageous you truly are.
As you learn about your interests, where your passion lies and what you want to know more about, lean into that. Follow the spark of your joy with curiosity to learn more and delve deeper. This is where you find your calling, your purpose that will lead you towards your dreams.
Finding the opportunity for joy in every moment.
Gratitude is a feeling that most of us understand as a result of receiving a gift of some sort. We feel it instantly and automatically when we’re happily surprised, finally achieve a milestone or get given something valuable to us.
It’s a feeling that many people describe as warm and good; exciting and dear. It’s something we hope for because in that moment of sweet simple gratitude we are some form of happy.
Have you ever thought about gratitude as more than a result? Yup. Gratitude can also be a powerful driver for true intent, a motivator towards your biggest dreams and a state of calm, content bliss with which you can move through your life.
Motivating with gratitude
When you set a goal, you typically decide what you want, maybe take some action towards it and then when the initial excitement wears off, you start longing for it, worrying that it won’t work out or simply feel impatient. This starts stunting your motivation, slows progress and you feel miserable waiting for it to happen.
On the flip side, deciding what you want and maintaining gratitude for all the possibilities it holds will keep your excitement levels high and ensure your stay motivated to pursue it till the end. Actively turning on a feeling of gratitude for your goals puts you in a frame of mind that attracts love and joy closer to you as you live those sensations and take action.
Driving your true intent
Often, intent doesn’t quite match behaviour. You start off great with a positive and true intention, like wanting to grow closer to a new friend, for example. You know you should just send a text and ask to meet up, but you’re scared, “What if she ignores me?” “What if she says no?” Your insecurities take over, you don’t call, and you miss the opportunity to grow a beautiful friendship.
Your intention is to grow closer, but your behaviour pulls you further apart and you’re left feeling confused and misunderstood.
What if, instead, you could recognize the fear and insecurity for what it is: your brain simply trying to keep you safe. While that’s really sweet of your brain, I think you’re a bit stronger than it gives you credit. Imagine if you leaned into that strength and let go of the fear? When you let it go and you focus on the possibility of the call, the coffee date, and the life-long friendship, that potential of her not reciprocating, is pretty teeny-tiny in comparison.
Putting yourself out there, whether it be for a new friendship or pushing for a big goal, is scary because it stretches your experience. You are bravely going into the unknown to live the true intentions that feed your soul. I’d say that’s worth the risk.
So, make the call with a grateful heart, lean into the joy and comradery you could share. If she can’t make it, that’s okay. You’ve lost nothing. You’re learning to take action from your true intent and you are overcoming your insecurities with every step. It’s a win either way.
With this in mind, there is no need to dwell on an embarrassing faux pas or rejection. Remember, everyone is going through the same stuff and if they’re not ready to receive, that’s on them, not on you.
It’s all for you
You are more than one moment in time. Whether that moment is sad, embarrassing, rejection, happy, hilarious or love, you are more. You are infinite, living a continuous experience. I invite you to see this continuous experience with a grateful heart. Every twist and turn of your past has brought you to this moment, to the person you are now. It has been preparing you all along, just as your present experience will continue to teach and guide you through the lessons to come. So please my dear, there is no need for worry or feel guilty. You’re learning and growing with every moment that passes.
Choose to see your life as a beautiful experiment. Every delay is a little extra time and every set back is an opportunity to reflect and regroup. If you choose to see it, you will recognize these moments as opportunities for clarity and perspective. They are gifts that allow you to be better, go faster and live stronger.
You are exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go.
Embrace your past, present, and future with love and gratitude. Trust it will lead you to your dream. Open your heart to feeling passionate gratitude for every circumstance, every moment of joy and every lesson you learn. It’s all wonderful and all part of you.
How to stop being busy and start getting stuff done: Simplify your to-do list to stop feeling overwhelmed and start moving towards your goals. 💃🤩💃🤩
It is easy to get overwhelmed with long to do lists, huge workloads, looking fabulous, posting something cool/ meaningful/ funny once in a while, spending quality time with family and friends, traveling, did I mention work? You get the idea; our lives are filled to the brim and often we get to the end of a crazy-busy week only to find that a couple of the most important tasks had been left behind.
This is not the best feeling. You feel defeated and as if you’re not moving forward. I know just how demotivating this can be. In fact, on a few occasions last year I became so overwhelmed that I felt paralyzed to do anything and I would spend entire afternoons watching TV while thinking about, wait for it…. my to-do list 🤦♀️.
I couldn’t snap out of it. Towards the end of that year, I realized why (and it wasn’t because I was lazy.) I was so stuck in the details that I was unable to pull myself out long enough to see the big picture. Once I did, I could prioritize, make clear decisions and my days started feeling far less hectic.
The weird thing about overwhelm is that you don’t need to be working 5 jobs to feel this way. It can creep in whether you have 3 or 500 tasks on your plate. Its less about the list, your management tools, and your work ethic and it’s all about mindset. So, no matter where you are, if you are feeling too busy and struggling to get through your tasks, try these steps to clear up space in your mind and your calendar:
Simplify, eliminate, align
Stop being busy for busy’s sake:
How many of your daily tasks actually move you forward? Really? How many are really just there to fill up the day? Don’t answer too quickly. When you have a minute, go and look at your lists from the last few days and check for the following:
- Which items actually made a difference to the next day?
- Which items took you a step closer to your big goal?
- Which items are left undone?
If you are feeling like you’re not getting through your day, you probably noticed that it’s the big important tasks (the ones that move your forward) that get left behind. Now, review your lists one more time and ask the following:
- Which items took a lot of time and felt frustrating?
- Which items were completed but had little impact?
Chance are there are a few overlaps here. These time-consuming-and-low-impact tasks are the ones you need to question. Are they worth it? Or can you drop them and never add them to another to do list ever again? If you do drop them, how much time will that give you and will that time be enough to get through the big important tasks that have been waiting for your attention?
Outsource whatever you can:
There will always be a selection of tasks that do move you forward but take too much of your time. Make a plan and align financial goals to outsourcing these tasks. When you hit a certain revenue mark, you will outsource your social media scheduling or administration. Whatever doesn’t feed your joy but must be done, must be outsourced. While it may feel scary to hand over part of our list to someone else, it will free you up to reach your goals faster and spend more time doing what you love.
Set goals – where are you going?
Another common reason for feeling overwhelmed or like you’re not getting anywhere is that you don’t have anything to measure and so it all feels like “failure.” Not ideal. Instead, think about where you want to be in 3, 6 or 12 months from now. Set one or two goals for this and then make sure that every week contains a smaller action step that moves you towards those goals.
Assign time for everything – macro and daily level
This particular perspective-shift saved me. I was constantly running, chasing the clock and believing there simply wasn’t enough time. When I stopped and took a step back, I could see time as pockets that I can fill however I want. I have larger pockets for months or weeks and smaller pockets for daily tasks. Each night I fill my time pockets for the next day. If anything is left over once the time pockets are filled, I need to make some choices about what is getting left behind.
If you have a lot of goals for the year, this is an ideal way of approaching time. You don’t need to do everything in the first month. You can assign space and time for every goal at a certain point throughout the year. This practice has made me 100% more productive with fewer items on my lists.
Simplify your tools:
When it comes to time/ project management tools, there are about 100 000 available but don’t get sucked in. Keep it simple. There is no point in spending half an hour trying to manage your time management tool. I understand if you are part of a team and everyone needs to be on the same page but keep that tool top-level. Work with people who are responsible and then choose to trust them to get the tasks done. For your daily management, use a simpler tool to track your tasks. I use the Reminders tool on Mac OS. I have a list for each project I am working on. This is where I store the full list of items associated with the project. Then I have a Today list. Here I drag ONLY what needs to happen today. Nothing else. As its done, I mark it complete and I never see it again. At the end of the day, I run through my projects and fill the Today list for tomorrow. It’s not groundbreaking and that’s why it works.
Make conscious choices:
Consider for a moment that whatever you are doing at any given moment is using time. If its something that adds value to your life, then its time well spent. If not, what could you be doing instead? Spend your time surrounding yourself with work, activities, people and social situations that bring joy and add value to your world.
Now, I realize I’ve just gone and added a bunch of organizing tasks to your already overflowing cup. Don’t worry, no need to get it all done today. Your next right move is to take 15minutes today to simplify and re-prioritize your week. (Just this one, that you’re in right now.) As part of this week’s list, assign 1 hour to do the same for the next 3 months.
Simple right? Haha 😜! Even with all of these tools, sometimes we lose control, all the balls drop, and we start to spiral. When that does happen, and you start to feel yourself losing grip, STOP. Right there, where you are, just stop. Take a few deep breaths and then ask yourself: Is this helping or hurting me? Chances aren’t great it’s helping, right? From that place of clarity and space, ask yourself: What’s the next right move? Every time you practice this quick tip, you condition your brain, training it to notice these feelings sooner next time. Soon, you’ll be able to notice those familiar feelings very early on. This means you can stop earlier, recover faster, and get on with living your fab life without skipping a beat. 💃💃💃 No need to get to the breakdown.
Finding the right balance is not one size fits all. Your priorities are different from mine and from your friends. Finding balance is about knowing who you are, what you want and what you are willing to do to get there. When you get that ratio right, work won’t feel like work, it will feel like purpose and quality time won’t feel like you’re cheating on your business, but much required rest. There is time for everything you want to do, you simply need to be bold enough to make conscious choices for what you really want to include in your life.
Author, Annie Dillard said, ‘How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.’ With that in mind, how are you spending today?
Post a comment here or tag me on Instagram @bloomhabits with your new and improved to-do lists. Let me when you’ve cleared all your tasks for the day and you’re going for a manicure to spoil yourself. I want to celebrate with you!! 🤩👑🙌
Live happy, be happy. Live a life you love. 💜💜💜
Simply chasing your dreams or only priming ourselves to receive isn’t enough. We must work on both, growing ourselves while, simultaneously, taking action on the steps that bring us closer to our goals.
Why is this push and pull so vital? Well, it’s tricky chasing something you’re not really ready for. This is where “living as if” comes in. “Living as if” is a mindset that says: “As you grow, you grow closer to your goals and, as you grow, you become ready to receive them.”
“Living as if,” however, is not simply buying material things outside of your means. Rather, the principal asks how you can get more of that feeling now with the resources you have available today. How can you move, even an inch, closer to your dream, using the tools, savvy and creativity you already have?
So please don’t go out and buy an expensive handbag you can’t afford or max out your credit card on social events because glamour is “your truth” and you want to show how ready you are to live that lux life. That’s not it at all.
What the heck is it about then? Well, how about asking yourself why you want those things. What will it give you to have these things? What value will the bring to your life?
The answer can be anything. It will resonate with you on a deep level. If we continue with the above example, you might find that what you are really seeking is glamour, social or professional status, comfort or even credibility.
The next step is to ask how you can get more of those feelings today? What can make you feel more glamorous, comfortable or credible today? Using the resources available to you, and without stretching yourself too far, what can you do right now, today, this week?
Do you see how it’s not at all about the THINGS, nor about being Instagram-perfect It’s about activating a feeling of glamour (or whatever you are seeking) and welcoming it in.
Kind of like when you’re first learning a new skill or concept. Days, maybe weeks or months go by and you just don’t understand it. You keep trying, learning more, practicing and then one day you suddenly get it. This new level of understanding opens doors and clears pathways and widens your perspective.
The only difference here is that you are practicing a feeling. If you want to feel more glamorous, do things that make you feel that way. Paint your nails and always look polished when you walk out the door. Take pride in your outfits, they don’t have to be designer to look fabulous. What else? How would you carry yourself, talk to others and move through your life as a slightly more glamorous version of who you already are?
There are a ton of things you can do today that facilitate the feeling you’re after. It is by practicing these feelings that they become easier, more accessible and you become ready for more. So, draw a mind map and list as many as you can. I bet you’ll find more than you expected.
Before you know it, you will be stepping into your dream life as your next-level self. You will be ready to own that space because you will have been preparing for it all along.
Many of us are compulsive goal setters. We set targets and furiously chase them down until we lose steam and casually let them fall away. Just think about every new year’s resolution that didn’t make it past January.
But why do we fall short? Why don’t we reach the goals we set? Is it that we’re weak or simply unmotivated? Nope, that’s not it at all. Most of the time, we fail to reach the goals we set because they lack connection and reason. In other words, it’s not about the goal at all and all about why you want to achieve it.
A goal or dream is something you have not obtained yet. It lives just outside your grasp and current emotional means. The way you think, operate and see the world might not be aligned with what is required for you to achieve the goal.
In order to bridge this gap, you need a powerful driving force for this goal. You need a reason to persevere and overcome all the obstacles that lie in your path.
You need a WHY
I am not alone in this thinking. Many other coaches, speakers, and highly successful business minds say the same thing. The concept is that when you understand why you are doing something and that “why” is meaningful and aligned with your values, you will move heaven and earth to get make it happen.
If not, the goal will feature with low importance in your brain and inevitably fizzle away. #anothernewyearsresolution
Is this really for me?
Another reason to develop a “Why” is to clarify whether you truly want something in the first place.
You know that feeling when your best friend gets something new and shiny and suddenly you crave it as if this is clearly the thing that has been missing from your life all along. It can be that she is pregnant or has a new baby. Perhaps you’re the one at home with the kids and she gets a promotion or decides to go on an impromptu trip. Whatever it is, you see something you don’t have, and you want it. This is an excellent moment to ask yourself, “Why?”
Why do you want a baby right now? Why do you want to go to Thailand? Why do you wish you had a big career? Consider what your life would look like if you achieved this goal: do you like this picture? What will you be giving up by achieving this goal? Do you still want it?
Often, you will find that you don’t want it at all, or you’ll see that right now is just not the right time. If you’re here, congratulations! You’ve just achieved massive clarity and now, have an immense opportunity to stop searching for answers around you and start looking inward to find the dream you are really after.
Finding your true dream
There are a number of exercises and meditations which I will be sharing over the next few weeks, but it is important to understand that it’s not something you do just once. It takes practice to let go of your comparative goals and embrace what you truly want for your life.
A couple of years ago, I was very unhappy. I was looking around at my friends, people I went to school with and anyone else I met and viewed some part of their world as better than mine. I felt stuck, as if my life was going nowhere and I was blaming my husband, expecting him to make all my dreams come true. I went on a quest to “find myself” and discovered that I had no idea what I wanted or who I was. This was a huge moment for me. It gave me crystal clear clarity about my life and how I had been moving through on auto-pilot. I decided to become active in my life.
I started by defining my vision. What was it that I truly wanted? My first vision meditation gave me a blurry but honest picture. There were a few things I wasn’t sure about, but I kept going back and slowly but surely the picture became clearer and brighter
So, what do you truly want for your career, your family, fun, romance and every other area of your life? Write it down. Look at this vision and, no matter how blurry it might be at first, ask yourself, “Why do I want that?” Be honest and clear. What will this goal this give you and what will it cost you? These questions will clarify your vision and reveal your true goals.
If your goals are aligned with your path, you will find synergy and almost no reasons not to follow them. In addition, you will discover a driving force that propels you towards your dream every day. Defining your “Why” when setting new goals shifts your perspective as you are no longer chasing something out of your reach. Instead, you are consciously living in a way that leads you towards your biggest dreams.
How to step into the shoes of the woman you want to be.
A lot of our lives are spent chasing goals. We chase a dream that will launch us into the life we were meant to live. Almost as often, we fall short and wonder why we can’t reach that new level.
The truth is that a next-level goal requires a next-level you. While the “you” of today is equipped to overcome the challenges you currently face, you will need a new version of the magic you already are to reach higher and grab the bigger reward.
This isn’t a revolutionary idea. Even as children, each year of your schooling is partly designed to prepare you for the next. Without learning the skills and opening your mind to a wider way of thinking, you would not be able to understand the concepts and develop the skills of the year to follow.
Similarly, I invite you to take a minute and look to the future. Think about the life you envision for yourself – the life you dream of. Where are you? In your office on top of a skyscraper? With your family, sailing across the seas? What do you see around you? A team of people; perhaps you notice a heightened sense of luxury?
Look at yourself. Notice what you’re wearing, your hairstyle, your demeanor and how you interact with those around you. Do you see a familiar you or do you see the woman you want to become?
My guess is that almost every part of you is a little more “next-level.” Everything about you is slightly nicer or liberated. The people around you are captivated, and in this vision, you are where you most want to be.
The common belief is that when we achieve our goals, this person will emerge from the cocoon of our former selves. That if we work hard and keep going we will become this next-level woman. This, however, is not quite the case. In fact, the opposite is true: It is when we embrace our next-level self and live as if we are already there, that our dreams move closer to us.
I am not saying that you should go buy a Ferrari before you can afford it. It is not about portraying a false sense of achievement. It is about cultivating a feeling of success, determination and everything else that embodies your next-level self.
Here are 4 questions to help you get closer to your next-level self:
What can you let go of?
What would this next-level you no longer tolerate? Do an audit of your life. Look at the physical and emotional space and do your best to let go of the things, people, activities, obligations, and expectations that no longer serve you. Clear through it all, only keeping the things that will be joining you on this next-level journey.
How can you get more of that feeling?
When you look at your next-level self in your vision, notice how she feels, how she conducts herself. What are these traits and attitudes and how can you bring more of that into your world? You might notice a sense of confidence you don’t have right now. While it can be scary at first, I invite you to practice expressing this confidence in your everyday life. No need to jump in head first, start in the smallest, safest way and grow from there. ** So, you don’t need to buy a Ferrari, but if its available to you, go for a test drive and feel it.**
Are you living your next-level life right now?:
Setting reminders that help you stay in the mode of your next-level self can be very powerful. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of it all and simply being reminded that you are a badass bitch just after lunch, can jumpstart your afternoon. So place a memento on your desk, create a vision board, set affirmation reminders and deck out computer and phone wallpapers with anything that gives you a boost and feels true to your next-level self.
What are you feeding your mind?
Develop a practice of gaining knowledge and inspiration from women that your next-level self would see as mentors (or even as peers). Expand your reading list, follow groups and maybe subscribe to a podcast.
Become unapologetic about becoming your next-level self:
This is not an easy exercise. It will take determination to break through to your next level. You will need to do things differently, respond differently to situations and maybe even cut certain people and activities from your life. Become fearless and unapologetic in taking charge of your life.
Define your next-level self and develop practices to live as if. Allow yourself to practice being the best version of yourself and before you know it, you will fully step into the woman you know you can be.
Moving through life as your next-level self (with her attitude, perspective, and poise) will reframe your life. Everyday situations, will present new opportunities and previously mundane tasks are now outsourced or completely removed as you make space for the items that matter and move you forward.
You are living as if you have your dream life. Operating now as you must when you achieve your vision. It is by being consistent in this practice that you will become and achieve your next level.