photo by: Lorenzo González
I’m in the middle of writing a YA novel about a young ballerina’s struggles in the dance world. Needless to say it’s given me the opportunity to think about what helped me to achieve success as a dancer. I’ve concluded that the ingredients for success are the same for anything: dedication, discipline, persistence and confidence. The last one, confidence, has always been a bit of an achilles heel for me and it’s only in recent years that I’ve learned some techniques to help with that.
So how do you “get” confidence? I mean, it’s an intangible thing, right? It’s not like you can hop in the car and pick up a little extra whenever you’re running low. So many of us spend time looking for approval or validation from others, thinking that this will give us the confidence we need, but in reality this is a losing proposition. Other people don’t give us confidence; we give it to ourselves. How? By changing our minds.
Oh sure, you say, if it were that easy I would have already done it. But what if it was that easy? Think about it: we all wander around with an internal dialogue playing in our minds about our lives; it’s a never-ending commentary. Every waking minute of every day we are telling ourselves a story. Have you ever stopped long enough to tune in and see what kind of story you are telling yourself? Does it match with the story of what you want for your life? For most of us, the answer is probably no… and the inner story sounds something like, “I’m not good enough” or “I could never do that” or “it will never happen because my life never works out”. But it would follow that if you are telling yourself a story all the time anyway, it may as well be a good one, right? Even better, make it the best possible story you can think of.
Words of wisdom from Louise Hay about confidence:
It’s time to write a new story. A good story. An empowering story. And once we get that story straight, guess what will follow? Yep, you guessed it. Confidence.
So, take a moment to get a clear vision about what you want before you begin to write your new story (also called an affirmation). There are only two rules to follow: your story must be written in the present tense (as if it is already happening) and must be simple, short and easy to remember (because you will end up writing and repeating it many times). Let’s say you want to be a dancer. Your new story might go something like this: “every day I am taking steps to be the best dancer I can possibly be” or “my love of dance and my love for myself moves me ahead in my career.”
Dancers on confidence:
Once you’ve re-written your story it’s time to glue it in your brain. Repetition is key. Write your story on a piece of paper ten times every day. Repeat it to yourself throughout the day while you wait in line or ride the subway (although I don’t recommend repeating out loud or people will think you are a crazy person). Sing it in the shower. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over time it will become your new story.
Confidence is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Not only is it empowering it’s also incredibly attractive. It may even be contagious.
Here’s Brazilian psychologist Chris Lenarres’ method:
More recommended reading/listening: