How I Developed Self-Confidence – My Affirmation Story

Yes, you can change your life. I know this is a very profound statement and I say it because I have done it myself. Until I was about 30 years old, I was so shy that I hardly ever spoke, and I lived a lot of my life in my head. My only self-expression was through my physical body, as an excellent sportswoman.

I started to wonder why I could express myself naturally as a sportswoman, but not in my personal and professional life. This was a challenge to me because at that time I spent a lot of my life worrying about my past (which I could not do anything about) or thinking about the future (which had not even occurred yet).

As I observed myself in my sporting arena, what stood out the most was that I had to respond to the plays spontaneously in the moment, otherwise the opportunity was lost. That was my breakthrough! I was 100% present in the moment on and off the field as the captain coach, leading the team and holding on to the higher purpose of the game. Obviously, I had trained my level of fitness and skills to respond quickly.

My greatest challenge in my personal and professional life was living in the present moment. Once I started to practise being present, I began to hear my predominantly negative self-statements, which were obviously based on my fears of all the ‘what ifs’ (which, by the way, never happened). What a waste of energy and time in my life that was!

I decided it was time to get serious about this positive self-statement stuff! I admit I was still a little apprehensive about affirmations because I had attempted to do them a few years before, without success. Now I realise that I had always done them in a very reactive state when I either felt negative or frustrated and that I’d soon given up, wondering why affirmations never worked for me.

Once I began to do my affirmations more effectively, I decided to keep saying them, as I knew the conscious mind would only take on the thoughts and words I consistently told myself. This eventually became a natural part of who I am and how I live my life, as a new and rewarding habit.

How I developed self confidence

I will take you through the steps I took that helped me make the changes. To get the maximum from my experience, why not go through the steps with me now? I have used the true-life example of developing my self-confidence in my personal and professional life.

Step 1   I wrote down the negative head talk and became conscious of what I was automatically saying to myself, about myself and others.

E.g.        “I am not confident” . . . “I wish I looked and acted confidently like her or him” . . . “I am not very good at . . .”

Step 2   Then I changed the wording of those negative self-statements into positive present tense affirmations and wrote them on palm cards to keep in the office, car, fridge etc. as a reminder.

E.g.        I am confident

I act confidently

I am great at . . .

Step 3   I chose to say the affirmations as many times as possible during my day no matter what. I said them with feeling, emotion and belief, as though I had already achieved them.

Tip: Choose a maximum of three affirmations to say each time. If you do not feel comfortable with the affirmation, you may need to change the wording to suit you. Keep saying your chosen affirmations until you feel you own them and your life begins to show up that way.

Step 4   I asked myself, “Who do I need to become to achieve this?” Then I made a list of what confident people do, how they act, what they wear, how they walk. I started taking on all those actions, like walking tall down the street looking people in the eyes, smiling and acting confidently (yes, fake it until you make it – definitely works), speaking to people even when I felt nervous.

How I Developed Self-Confidence – My Affirmation Story

With daily commitment in practising to be confident, I built a new habit, which changed my life, and I naturally became confident. The new me went from being a shy person to becoming a public speaker, moving interstate and developing my first business, stepping out of my comfort zone and participating in adventurous events such as jumping out of a plane; skydiving, white water rafting, half marathons, travelling the world, just to mention a few.

I cannot tell you how long or short a time it took because there was no line to cross over that marked the difference between ‘shy’ and ‘confident’. I remember one day just noticing how confident I now was and it felt so natural and humbling.

We are all made up of our habits. I decided to make being confident a new habit, purely by taking on new behaviours and acting out ‘confidence’ until it became a part of who I naturally am today.

If I can do it, I know you can too. Think about what habit you would like to change and start taking on the new actions until they are a part of who you are. Does a little part of my shyness still pop up in my life every so often? Yes! Of course, it does and in that moment I remind myself that I am not committed to being that way.

Who are you committed to being in your life?

Transform your Life in 2018

Every year my husband and I have a celebration ritual next to our pool with a glass of champagne to reflect on the past year. In previous years, we found that we could not remember everything that we had accomplished, what we were grateful for, the people we met, the events that we engaged in, the projects we completed etc.

So I decided, in January 2017, to set up a large vase and placed it in the corner kitchen bench so we could see it every day as a reminder to reflect on our day. We would write on a post-it note with the date and whatever it was we were grateful for within that day. If we went to an event, we would place the tickets in the vase. Very quickly the vase was bursting with the energy of life’s gratitude.

Here is a picture of our life’s celebration vase.

Celebration vase

When it came time to go through our reflections, sipping on our chilled champagne next to the pool, we were both pleasantly surprised as to how much we had achieved, received, connected and engaged with in life.

As we reflected on our year, we both mentioned that we had so much more to be grateful for that we had not placed in the vase. Mark, my husband, also mentioned how surprised he was about how full a life we actually live without realising.

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day busy schedule, with life skipping by so fast, we forget to really connect with the life we are living each day.

Transform your Life in 2018

One of the things that became clear to both of us by doing this was the pattern of what was most important in our life. The repetitive actions we took, what we were doing with our time, how we were exerting our energy, where we were spending our money etc.

This created a clear opening as to our evolving vision, goals and next steps for this coming year knowing these were all in alignment with our true values.

Our next step is to create a vision map matching our vision, goals and values.

Are you living your inspirational vision in alignment with your true values?

Make sure 2018 is your best year yet. If you have been thinking about hiring a coach to partner you in transforming your life, then please contact me http://annettestanton.com/contact/

A little more about vision mapping (exert from The Power of Vision book) http://annettestanton.com/author/

Vision Mapping

The brain works with sensory images and associations radiating from those images. Every day, you take in images, which affect your life. Using selected images (goals) and associations (values) will support you in maintaining focus on what you do want to attract.

A vision map is a collage of pictures, photos, inspirational words etc. of your goals, values and vision. You can’t buy a vision map; it is important that you spend the time to collect pictures based on your own goals, values and vision. When you bring colour into your images (goals), this adds extra vibrancy and energy, suggesting the possibility of creative thinking in achieving your goals.

When I first started creating vision maps for myself and facilitating vision mapping in workshops, I would place all my goals and vision onto one map. This worked really well, though today I do it a little differently. I have fun every year collecting pictures and photos to make up my three separate vision maps in the areas of business, personal life and travel. All of my vision maps are hanging in my office and my home so that I can view them daily.

Vision Success Tip

Creating your Vision Map

Choose whether you would like to begin with one vision map, or separate your life into three or four areas. Get yourself a large sheet of cardboard and place a photo of you and your family in the centre. Starting in the centre allows you to express yourself freely and spread out in any direction. Now collect pictures and inspirational words from magazines or the internet and paste them on your vision map. The end result will be a colourful vision map of what you truly desire. Look at it every day and take in the colour and life of the pictures as though you have already achieved your vision.  

Transform your Life and Business to New Heights

Are you interested, or even curious, about how The Coach Approach can transform your business and personal life? Become the game changer today!

Ask about my One on One Coaching Programs, or you may prefer my Group Coaching Program for individuals, teams and organisations.

With over 35 years of coaching and mentoring experience working with executives, business owners, coaches and entrepreneurs, I will coach you to gain clarity of direction and partner you in taking action towards living your inspirational vision with confidence, presence and freedom.

Contact Annette today for an introductory coaching session email: http://annettestanton.com/contact/

Live a Stress Less Life

In your busy daily life, it is very important to make time for some form of relaxation. This can help to reduce the effects of stress on your body and your mind. If you take on the practice of daily relaxation, you will feel much more in control of your life. Relaxation involves both the body and the mind. To work on one is to work on the other. Even if you choose to take 10 deep conscious breaths every day as your form of relaxation, then that is better than doing nothing at all.

Relaxation does not mean being lazy. It plays an important role in the rejuvenation of your body and quietening of the mind. Taking time out for yourself may be a challenge for you. You might feel a sense of guilt about it. This is normal, especially if you are not yet practised in doing things just for you. You might even find that the challenge is in ‘being’ with yourself, especially if you are the type of person who continually needs to be ‘doing’ things with others or for others and the thought of being alone is not inviting. It does take practice and the more you do your chosen form of relaxation, the more you will want to spend time with yourself.

The benefits of daily relaxation go beyond the obvious one of reducing stress. You will also gain clarity of mind, your creativity and intuition will unfold, you will deal with challenges with much more inner peace, you will have more energy . . . the list goes on.

Live a Stress Life

 

Simple Relaxation Techniques

After many years of practising different quick and easy forms of relaxation, I would like to share with you some of the ones that have helped me to maintain a stress less life.

Mirror Work

Look into your eyes in the mirror every day for 1-2 minutes. Connect with yourself by staying focused on your eyes. Notice how you might want to judge yourself and your facial features. Let it go and keep coming back to your eyes. Take deep breaths whilst looking into your eyes and connecting with yourself. If you hear any negative head talk during this process, write it down after your 1-2 minutes is up and create positive affirmations from your negative head talk. This is your subconscious coming to the forefront, indicating beliefs that you may need to work on.

Conscious Breathing

Sit in an upright position or lie down. Close your eyes if you wish. Concentrate on your breathing, in through your nose and releasing the breath out through your mouth. Say in your head: “I’m breathing in . . . I’m breathing out . . .” as you stay focused on your breath. This will slow down your mind and reduce feelings of anxiety. Conscious breathing is beneficial if you are lying in bed and feeling restless. This will help you to relax for a better sleep. Try it.

Nostril Breathing

Place the thumb of your right hand over your right nostril. Take a deep breath in through the left nostril. Place the right index finger over the left nostril and release the breath out of the right nostril. Repeat this 5 times using your right hand, and then repeat the same process using your left hand. Notice how quickly any anxious feelings dissipate.

Open Eye Candle Meditation

Light your favourite candle and place it on a table in front of you. Place yourself in a comfortable sitting position with your back upright. Gaze into the flame of the candle. Take slow, long deep breaths as you hold a soft gaze on the flame. Notice the calm and serene feelings that pour through your body. Stay with the gaze from 5 minutes to 20 minutes or more if you desire.

Walking in Nature

When you are enjoying your daily walk out in the beautiful sunshine, practice being 100% present to nature. Let any thoughts drift through the mind and focus on the trees, the roses in the garden, all the nature surrounding you. Every step you take, be conscious and feel your body moving. Look into the sky and feel the expansion of your chest as you take in the next breath. The miracle of nature mirrors the growth of you. Just as through nurturing, a seed grows, so through nurturing yourself, you will flourish. Say your positive affirmations while you are walking and notice how tall you feel.

If you sick and tired of continually running on empty, feeling drained in your energy levels and this is affecting your productivity and efficiency at work with no energy left for yourself at the end of the day, contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation. www.annettestanton.com/contact/

Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…

What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards creating a reserve of energy levels each day?

The Vital Link to Inspired Success

Have you gone from goal to goal, achieved success in many areas of your life; and wondering why you are still not happy? What’s missing for you?

Often this is because you are so focused on where you are going in life that you have not stopped to smell the roses along the way. It is important to be grateful for what you do have in your life today, the people who are important to you, the clients you already have, your current financial position, your family, the action steps you are taking, your health, the knowledge you have, all the life experiences you have had, and whatever else you can think of to be grateful for.

Yes, that means the everyday small things that bring you joy and energy in your life, including the small actions you are taking towards realising your vision.

In the past, my life always felt as though it was dangling like a carrot on a string out in front of me to chase; I was always going for the next goal, the next award, the next level and still not happy. Yes, I had heard people talk about ‘being grateful for what I had in my life now’ and ‘reflecting on what I had already achieved’. I always let these suggestions slide off me with an, ‘it’s not enough yet’, attitude.

What I was really saying was ‘I wasn’t enough yet’. This also meant that everything I had achieved in my life was not enough.  I took so much for granted. When I realised that, I decided to make a list of everything I had achieved in my life as far back as I could remember.

The list started really slowly as I reflected on my life. The more I started to write, the more I remembered, from little things like getting up early one morning to watch the sun come up, acknowledging a colleague, helping a family member; to the bigger things like being a national sporting representative, starting my own business, publishing my book and speaking overseas.

As I looked back at the list I had a powerful feeling of accomplishment within myself. This helped diminish the limiting beliefs I had of ‘it’s not enough yet’ and ‘I wasn’t enough’; when in actual fact I was ‘more than enough’ and had ‘more than enough’ in my life.

When you are in a state of ‘it’s not enough yet’, you will continually feel that way – and life will also show up that way.

Did you know that when you live your life with the ‘it’s not enough’ theme constantly being played, you are actually affirming to yourself that ‘you are not enough’?

I learnt this lesson myself when I first hired my master coach. I remember telling my coach that I had to learn more about certain topics before I could move forward in my business.

Sure, education is important, but I actually had a lot of knowledge, which I was not using. My coach gave me two challenges. The first challenge was to write the affirmation ‘I am enough’ and place it in my office so that I could see it every day. I resisted this at first because I truly believed I had to look for more answers outside of myself.

The second challenge was to trust and take the next step I knew I wanted to take, based on the knowledge I already had. You see I was always one of those people who loved to learn by reading books and attending seminars, but did I action what I had learnt? Not to its fullest capacity.

When I started trusting, I realised that I undervalued the amount of knowledge I did have and kept looking outside myself for more knowledge. It became a habit because I loved learning things, but what good was my knowledge if I did not put it into practice?

Due to this new way of thinking, I was able to identify my values-based vision and goals from the inside out – not just going for a vision outside of myself. Life and business transformed and evolved naturally because I stopped chasing after the elusive vision. The truth is, your vision will always naturally expand, although if you continue to live like it is something outside of yourself, then that is where it will stay. The chase will be forever with those feelings of ‘it’s not enough yet’.

Once I realised this, I had to consciously practice catching myself whenever I looked outside for more, to then come back inside to honour my values-based vision.

Are you living your values-based vision? Notice whether you are getting swept along with other people’s vision and values, as this is not sustainable to your inspired success.

Notice in what areas you may be looking outside yourself for more knowledge, information, wisdom, opportunities etc. that you already have. You are already enough in many areas of your life. You only need to bring it to your awareness and then acknowledge yourself and the actions you are already taking.

Coaching Tip

One of the practices that may support you (as it did me) is to write five things you are grateful for each day. So if you feel as though your wheels are spinning and life is moving fast, stop to smell the roses by taking on this daily practice. This can be done even in your thoughts just before you turn the light out at night.

When you are grateful for everything in your life, as it is today, you will feel an immediate expansion of your energy and start to attract more of the good things in life that you truly desire. Why not start a gratitude journal on a daily basis and notice how quickly your life will change?

Strengthen your Strengths

“Your natural strengths are the gift you have to offer the world.”

Most people do not acknowledge their own strengths, abilities and natural talents. Your strengths are the qualities or skills that you are generally good at, are drawn to and enjoy doing. When you clearly identify and acknowledge your own strengths, you will re-ignite a glow inside of you that will automatically strengthen your strengths.

You will miss out on a lot of life’s exciting opportunities that you know you would love to experience if you do not bring your strengths to the forefront. For example, you could miss out on applying for a new management position, asking someone you admire out for dinner or starting your own business. Your strengths will become weaknesses and lie dormant if you are not conscious of what they are – and especially if you do not utilise them in your life.

This reminds me of one of my clients, Sally, who was naturally very creative. She would paint, draw and design cards in her spare time. I said to her in one of our group coaching sessions that it was easy to see that her natural strength was being creative. Sally said that she could not see how that could be a strength because that was what she had always done in her spare time.

“How could it be strength when that was just how she was?”

I then asked her if she knew anyone else in her group of friends who did the same things in their spare time, to which she answered No. I explained that it is easy to not see our own strengths because they have become a part of who we naturally are. When Sally started to own her strength of creativity she started to share her artwork with others and even began to frame some of her work to hang in her new home.

Many people are busy putting themselves down and focusing on what they are not good at instead of focusing on what they are good at doing. When you focus on your strengths and utilise them to their fullest capacity you will be surprised at what you can do.

Let’s not forget your so-called ‘weaknesses’, as it’s important to be aware of these and to acknowledge them also. I do not consider weaknesses as a weakness. The thing about a weakness that most people do not realise is that it is only a part of you that you have not practised enough for it to become strength.

Notice how your strengths are strengths because you enjoy utilising them and they then come easily to you. Your weaknesses may be areas that you do not enjoy as much, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you choose not to have them become a strength. If a particular weakness is something that you would like to become strength, all you need to do is to learn and practice it until it becomes a part of your strengths.

Look for Strengths in your Whole Life

I was coaching Julie, who shared with me that when she was writing out her strengths, she noticed that they mainly related to her working career and experiences. This challenged Julie because while work was a major part of her life, she wanted to balance this more and look at strengths in other areas of her life.

So we explored this by looking at the balance wheel. Julie went to the gym regularly, so one of her strengths was looking after her well-being and fitness. Another obvious strength to me was that Julie was very well organised in having a routine that she was committed to maintaining. Another area we looked into was family and friends and the way Julie kept in contact with them on a regular basis even if they lived in another state or country. The strength, in this case, was staying connected with loved ones by keeping in touch over the phone, no matter where she lived in the world.

As Julie started to explore her strengths, I observed a glow in her eyes and a huge, engaging smile on her face. I acknowledged her for having a great smile. This was also a strength Julie had – and she was not even aware of it.

So you see your strengths are not just about your qualifications and work experiences. In fact, you need to have a look at all areas of your life. You may be a great father/mother, or easily connect with people, you may be a person who excels at routine and being organised, or you could be a great ideas person. Dare to expand yourself in becoming aware of your own strengths. Take a look at the list below giving some examples of strengths.

List of Strengths

  • Well organised person
  • Great smile
  • Committed person
  • Connect with people easily
  • Great communication skills
  • Open and honest
  • High standards
  • Great father/mother
  • Healthy and fit
  • Enthusiastic
  • Honest work ethics
  • Positive nature
  • High energised person
  • Loving wife/husband
  • Great systems in life/business/career
  • Put people before results
  • Very creative
  • Love life
  • Acknowledge self and others
  • Visionary
  • Balanced life
  • Genuine interest in others
  • Team player
  • Leader
  • Great manager

Coaching Tip

You have natural strengths, talents and abilities that you use every day. When you own who you are and what you do well, this will give you greater clarity of vision and confidence because you will know exactly why you do what you do.

Make a list of your top 10 strengths. Be really generous with yourself and write whatever comes to mind. Be mindful about where in our life you are expressing your strengths.

I encourage you to give yourself a boost of certainty and confidence by taking on the challenge of making a list of your top 30 strengths and let me know how you go.

By strengthening your strengths with conscious awareness and mindful action, you will gain clarity with natural confidence knowing Who you truly are and Why you do what you do.

There is no competition when you know Who you really are, What unique strengths you have developed and in What way you naturally express your strengths. This way of living will ultimately give you your purposeful Why each day.