“Do you find it difficult to be Confident and Assertive?” by Lisa Phillips

Do you suffer from a lack of confidence of self-esteem?  If so, you are not alone!  As a coach with over 12 years’ experience, this is one of the main issues that I help people overcome during my coaching sessions.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Company Director or stay at home mum; a lack of confidence can rear its ugly head in any area of your life and can really restrict you from moving forward and doing what you really would love to do.

Take a few minutes to think about your own lack of confidence or self-esteem. How has this held you back over the years? Has it stopped you asking for that pay rise, putting yourself forward for that great job or has it resulted in someone taking advantage of you or treating you like a doormat?

Thankfully (with a bit of work and willingness) it is something that can be easily resolved and the difference it can make in someone’s life is priceless! Interestingly, one of key obstacles people encounter when practising to be more confident or assertive is that they realise they really have a bigger fear that is holding them back - the fear of what could happen if they do start to change.

It sounds a little crazy but more than often it is the fear of what ‘may happen’ that can actually stop us taking action. These fears keep us small and comfortable and often relate to how other people will react towards us if we do begin to become a more confident and assertive person.

Some common fears which may hold us back include:running

  • Worrying what people will think if you do speak up for yourself
  • Concern that you will end up upsetting someone or letting them down
  • Thoughts about other people not liking you any more
  • Strong beliefs about always needing to be seen as a nice person!

Although staying small may feel more comfortable or the easy option, it often ends up in resentment, frustration and blaming other people for situations we find ourselves in.

Do you end up saying yes to attend functions even though you don’t really want to? Do you feel obliged to do things because you want to be seen as a nice girl or you don’t want to let anyone else down? Do you end up saying Yes when you really mean No? Ok, it may seem the easier option but at what cost to yourself? The chances are you will end up feeling resentful or blame other people (and yourself!) for asking you in the first place!

In my article today, I am going to start with sharing some of my top tips for increasing your confidence and also changing the habit of always trying to be a people pleaser. If you think you haven’t got the time or maybe you believe you are too busy, then think again! Many of these will only take a few minutes of your time or can be done when you are in the shower or perhaps brushing your teeth each morning.

Remember, surely you are worth a few minutes of your own time?

1) Write a list of things that you like about yourself and your positive qualities. These could be the fact you are helpful, creative, traits or the fact that you get things done on time. Make sure you write down at least twenty!

2) Each day affirm to yourself (at least ten times if you can!) ‘ My self-esteem is growing every day’ and ‘ I am a valuable, loveable person and I deserve the very best’

3) Quit comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself that there will always be some people who have more than you, and some people who have less. Comparing yourself to others will NOT make you feel good about yourself.

4)  The next time you feel yourself saying Yes, when you really want to say No – ask yourself who you are trying to please?  Then, decide to please yourself instead.  Don’t fear feeling uncomfortable, this is a sign that you are learning to look after your own needs!

5)  Try not to worry what people will think if you do say No or act assertive around them.  The right people will respect you and your boundaries.   If someone continues to twist your arm, just use the broken record technique.

6) Remind yourself that you are HUMAN. Quit beating yourself up for not being perfect. Vow each day to praise yourself, not criticize yourself. This takes practise but even if you stop yourself from criticising yourself just once then you are making great progress.

7) If you are surrounded by negative people or energy vampires, this will make you feel bad about yourself and will lower your self-esteem. However, if you surround yourself with positive and supportive people you will feel better about yourself and this will raise your self-esteem.

8) Each night before you go to bed, think about (or write down if you wish) five successful things you have done that day. This could be as simple as getting to work on time, helping a friend or cooking a healthy dinner.

9) Set yourself a target of saying No at least twice a week.  It will be scary at first but after a few times, you will feel empowered and fabulous.

10) Be true to yourself. Make sure you are living your own life and not the life someone else wishes you live. If you feel nervous about standing up for yourself etc, make this one of your mini goals. You won’t develop self-esteem if you sit on the sidelines and don’t push yourself to take risks and new challenges.

Remember, we are all capable of being confident and having high self-esteem. In doing the steps above, you will also start to take more risks and be less concerned with making a fool of yourself or failing. One of the additional benefits is also being less concerned about what others think of you or seeking approval from others.

Most importantly is the fact that you will feel far more comfortable in your own skin and feel at peace with the wonderful person you really are.


23 January, 2015

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Lisa Phillips