26.06.2017

Finding your form; how to build self-confidence

It’s not unusual to start thinking about how to build self-confidence. That said, when it comes to actually doing it, things can get a bit daunting. Sadly, there’s no magic tonic or broad-brush panacea that’ll instantly boost your poise. But if you’re willing to graft, there are some very practical tips that certainly work. We spoke to confidence consultant Nick Notas to weigh up how you can help your confidence flourish.

How to build confidence; getting started

The first thing to wake up to when you’re wondering how to build self-confidence is to realise that there are no shortcuts or quick-fixes. Indeed, most good things in life take a bit of elbow grease and determination. The good news is that becoming a more confident person isn’t like playing the lottery; it’s something that everyone can achieve if the desire is there.

Someone who shares that outlook is Nick Notas, a US-based dating consultant with over 10 years experience helping his clients foster their self-confidence. Before he established his internationally renowned service, a series of unfortunate events dented Notas’ confidence. 

A combination of family illness, relationship breakdowns and friends moving away for university left him forlorn. “It happened all at once,” he admits, “I lost my social circle, my first long-term girlfriend, and had to become man of the household and stop what I thought was going to be my career path.” 

From this nadir Notas saw that fundamental changes had to be made. “It really challenged my self confidence, I went into spiral of self-hate for about six months and eventually realised I had to do something about it,” he says. Notas went about remedying the situation, both by reading up on confidence and by “learning how to talk to new people and working on my social skills”. 

Through this generative experience, Notas realised he could channel his own familiarity into coaching others and helping “people express the best version of themselves, and build the healthiest connections from that”.  And although Notas solely works with male clientele, he reasons that the fundamentals of learning how to build self-confidence are unisex.

But before we go any further, what constitutes self-confidence for Notas? And how does it feed into other areas of a person’s life, particularly someone’s self-esteem? “I think they’re pretty intertwined, but they’re not absolute, self confidence and self esteem tend to be two different things.” he says, “self confidence tends to be the belief in your own abilities, whereas self esteem tends to be the belief in your own worth.”

Notas explains how becoming more self-confident has a trickledown effect on self-esteem: “When you learn to be self confident in a lot of situations, you tend to see results. When you have better experiences and forge better connections with people, that in turn starts to change the inner monologue that says ‘I can be valuable and people will like me, I do have what it takes’.”

The building blocks

So you’ve made the leap, but what’s the nitty-gritty of building up your confidence, and how does Notas suggest going about it? Are there any key concepts we can follow, or is it contingent on someone’s personality? According to Notas, both are at play. “There are key concepts, but you always have to tailor them to the individual,” he says. Here are three steps the Bostonian advocates. 

Realisation

Notas says that a little bit of introspection is necessary. “A big part of self-confidence is understanding what you like to get out of your life, what makes you happy, what you like to accomplish, and what you want to be more skilled at,” he says. This may sound a touch nebulous, though it pays dividends to stop and think about these things. Neglecting the things that give you a sense of satisfaction not only damages your self-esteem, it restricts you from honing a more confident you. 

Setting goals

Once you’ve spent some time focusing on what gratifies your inner self, it’s time to start taking action. Notas recommends that the best way to accomplish this is by setting realistic goals. “Asking ‘what are some of the ways that I can achieve this goal and how can I break that down into something more manageable’,” he says. Notas suggests that establishing five smaller steps towards attaining an individual goal is wise as it’ll “give you the experience and the skill set, but at a more progressive pace”. 

“This way you start at square one, you’re pushing your comfort zone a little, learning a small piece of the pie, you start internalising the experience,” he says, before adding “it’s doable”. Making measured gains is much more sensible than shooting for one enormous (and potentially unrealistic) objective. “It’s not unmanageable to the point you try and undertake this huge goal all at once and you become de-motivated,” he says, “then it becomes stressful and you fail, which makes you feel unconfident.”

Accountability

The final aspect when contemplating how to build self-confidence ties up Notas’ preceding points. For the process to work, it’s fundamental to instil a sense of accountability. Notas explains this by referring back to his clients. “Tying in accountability is a big aspect,” he says, “as is teaching my clients ways to keep on track and stay motivated.” 

This then builds a positive, self-reinforcing cycle: “It’s a combination of ‘great, I have this small goal, I’m going to hold myself accountable to reach it because it’s not outside of my realm, I’m going to start practicing it, it’s working and I’m improving and developing a piece of the puzzle, and feeling good about it’. This then motivates you to go onto the next step.”

In Notas’ eyes, if you follow these simple stepping stones, you’ll “progressively build your way up” to a more confident attitude. He also suggest that you should also incorporate some “inner work” too, grappling with “self compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, learning how to change your inner monologue and reframing your way of thinking”. 

So there you have it, three manageable and realistic steps that hopefully help you wrangle with how to build self-confidence into your life. If you think we’ve missed anything, feel free to leave a comment below, or ask one of our dating experts a personalised question by following the tab to the right of your screen (below if you’re reading from a smartphone/tablet). Good luck!

For more tips on how to up your dating game, head on over to Nick Notas' site where you'll find a host of useful articles!

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