When you look up how to become more confident, you won’t have to search very far before you come across the term “fake it till you make it”. There is some merit to this because confidence isn’t something that you gain from learning the theory alone, it’s something you build from taking action.
I also believe that emulating the way you see other confident people present themselves and utilising their effective communication style and body language can be a great part of your confidence tool kit.
The issue I have with the “fake it” approach is that it simply isn’t sustainable and leaves people exhausted and full of self-doubt.
I’m yet to find a better word to describe what I mean than “icky”. This is the feeling I used to get when I would impersonate the confidence of others to mask the lack of belief I had in myself. For short periods of time, it would be effective. I’d survive that meeting, or maybe even deliver a really good presentation, but it never felt good, took every ounce of energy I had, and still left me dreading every future situation that involved being vulnerable and presenting myself to others. This faking it really fed the Imposter Syndrome gremlin inside me because I always felt like I was pretending to be good enough, rather than believing it.
We’re not born lacking in confidence. Typically, something happens along the way which leads to the development of unconscious beliefs that underpin fears such as being seen, being judged or feeling unworthy and leave us feeling like an unconfident person. As long as we hold on to these limiting beliefs, no amount of faking confidence will let us feel truly at ease with ourselves.
The good news is that no matter how long we’ve had these beliefs, in most cases it is possible to become free of them. Find the root of the belief and you can reframe, re-educate or reduce the impact to free you from the fear.
Once you’re free from the weight of that old self doubt, it is time to give yourself opportunities to try out the things that used to feel uncomfortable. That’s when tools such as embodiment, acting “as if” and effective communication techniques can come into play really effectively, because they’re no longer masking underlying fears. Like I said, confidence doesn’t come from theory, it comes from taking action, and if emulating others helps you to take those bold steps forward, with the right foundations in place that can be a really powerful move. It’s just one of many tools people can use to help them feel more confident in the moment. NLP offers up a vast number of other tools to add to the confidence toolkit.
When I work with my clients, I work in three zones:
Identifying what’s unconsciously blocking your confidence and reframing it or letting it go for good.
Gaining practical tools to help you step into your authentic confidence and start experiencing positive change.
Creating a new reality for your future where you feel empowered to enjoy being you.
It’s common for someone to go to therapy and let go of negatives from their past, to then find themselves feeling at a loss because they don’t know what life is like without the predictability of that thing. So even though it’s a great thing to no longer have burdening self-doubt, it leaves them feeling uncertain.
That’s why I include the 3rd zone in my therapy work, helping my clients to create a vision of the future they want with their authentic confidence. This acts like a beacon to guide them forward and is often the most magical part of the therapeutic process, because it’s the version of their reality where they no longer need to fake it, and can simply enjoy feeling it. That’s true authentic confidence and I truly believe it’s possible for everyone to enjoy.