I WANT TO SHARE MY JOURNEY TO CONFIDENCE AND SHARE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH, AS A GIRL, AS A YOUNG ADULT AND AS AN ADULT.
I’m a mum to three children and I’m a confidence coach, helping others to understand, build and grow their confidence. I also train women to become confidence coaches, because I believe the more confidence coaches out there, the better!
I’m 44 and I didn’t actually work on my confidence until I was 39. For years, I went from one confidence disaster to the next and my lack of confidence really held me back. I was a typical chameleon – one of those people who changed my personality, changed my beliefs and how I acted depending on who I was with. It felt right at the time, simply because I knew no other way to behave, but looking back, it was exhausting. If I was with a group of fun party people, I would act like them and then when I was with work colleagues, I’d change myself to behave in a way that I felt worked for them – and it kept happening.
I wasn’t really aware of it until I was much older, not until I started working on my own confidence. It’s a different story these days, I can easily talk on stage, I can record podcasts and very openly talk about confidence, I can do Facebook lives, videos and more. I don’t fear anything, anymore. I now am a confident person, I believe in myself, I have a decent level of self-esteem, I trust myself and I know myself really well – all of these traits I just didn’t have any many years ago, and I’m so glad I found them.
Since I worked on my confidence, everything has changed. I’m more content, I’m calmer, I have more clarity of mind, and with that I can help other people to work on their confidence, too.
CONFIDENCE DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN. IT TAKES SOME TIME AND COMMITMENT, BUT IT IS VERY ACHIEVABLE.
Looking back at how confidence has been in life is really important, so I’m going to take you back a bit, to the 10-year-old Lucy. I’ve actually got my 10-year-old diary up in my bedroom, because my mum brilliantly saved three of my diaries. I was a religious diary writer and every single night from 10 to 13, I wrote a full page every night.
This excerpt, from the 19th of January 1987 was written when I was 11 years old. This was the kind of days that I had post teen.
“We were at boring school today, Caroline gave me a card and a prezzie and it was very, very nice. We applied for some holiday brochures by telephone. It was answered by an answering machine, it was ever so funny. We did quite a few of them. Anyway, at school we did some environmental studies, we were given a map and a sheet. On the sheet it had a drawing of some of the places in Europe, we had to name them by using the map book. I got them all right, of course. Caz got a Barber. I came to bed at 10 o’clock, which was a bit early for me. Anyway, I’ve finished writing my diary at just 10:09 and 44 seconds. Night night”
I WAS A CONTENT AND HAPPY KID
What I love about that, and actually Caz is a very good friend of mine now, is the innocence and straight-forward thinking of an 11-year-old. When I said I got them all right of course, in my environmental studies task, it shows I was pretty self-assured and confident.
I was a content and happy kid, I have an older sister and an older brother and life at 11 was great. However, when I went to secondary school, things changed a bit. Hormones, boys, rejection, not feeling cool enough, etc. I went through those years before mobile phones, before the internet, before any kind of social media or tech, and my diary, even my 13 year old diary, was pretty innocent and drama-free. We did get into trouble and we did some silly things that we shouldn’t have done, and I’ve written about those, but nothing happened to knock my confidence.
At the age of 16, I lost a lot of my confidence. My family dynamic changed and my confidence started to dwindle – and I had no skills or no way to keep my confidence up, and in fact I just didn’t even think about confidence then, I didn’t know it was a thing. So my confidence started to fall, and it fell and stayed low until I was about 39 – that’s 23 years of trying to get on, with no confidence.
I started to walk around with a new found faux-confidence, which meant I would turn it on when it was needed. I landed decent jobs, I interviewed well, I talked the talk, but I could not maintain a decent level of confidence for more than a few weeks. To date, I’ve been through lots of jobs and despite being motivated and switched on, like I talked about in the diary excerpt at 11, I didn’t believe in myself.
MY LOW LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE MEANT I ALWAYS COMPARED TO MYSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE
I second guessed most situations and I drank too much alcohol to give me confidence. It never became a problem, but I did get drunk just so that I was a confident person, which we all know when you break that down, alcohol doesn’t actually give you confidence, it just made me feel rubbish about myself. I didn’t have that self-respectful ‘off switch’ either, which wasn’t good. I was in an ever revolving circle of low confidence, a seesaw of ups and downs, but that was all I knew. It was an uncomfortable, unbreakable habit.
Fast forward a few years to 28, when I trained as a Make-up Artist. I realised the business world and the world that I was in after university was fun, but it didn’t fulfil my creative desire. In 2004, I took a big step and signed up to a makeup course in London. I sold my car and put my heart and all my energy into training to be a Make-up Artist. I’d always loved art, but hadn’t ever known how to channel that so when I booked onto the course, I started to feel like me. Old habits die hard though and whilst I was thriving in my learning, my low confidence was bringing me down.
After graduating, I would move forwards in my new career and then I’d lose my confidence. I’d push a little bit, and then I think, you know what, everyone’s better than me, and I would shy away. I would look at the work I’d done and I think, it’s just not good enough, and give up. What I know now is that was simply not true, it was all made up negative self-talk. I’ve looked back at some the work that I did as a junior makeup artist 16-years-ago, and it was brilliant! I just didn’t have the confidence to accompany it.
That was the situation then and thankfully things are very different now, and I’m on a different path with my career. I focus on confidence, with make-up being a nice-to-have.
My up and down, round and round, all over the place 20+ years from late teens through to my late 30s were really exhausting. I went through university with an eating disorder, my confidence was so low, I was lying to people and hiding the fact that I wasn’t well. I was beating myself up mentally, a lot, and it was not pleasant. I pretended that I was fine, when really my confidence was so low that I was really damaging myself in more ways than one.
IF YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH BAD TIMES OR YOUR CONFIDENCE IS LOW, PLEASE TRY TO TALK ABOUT IT.
If you don’t know anybody that you can reach out to, then send me a message. I’d love to hear from you if your confidence is holding you back, because sharing is one of the first things that you can do. It is hard, but oh so brilliant when you do it.
It’s really interesting isn’t it? It took me to 39 years of age to I realise the very thing that was holding me back was my lack of confidence.
Prior to this realisation, I jumped from job to job, boyfriend to boyfriend – I was terrible in relationships and would always end up blaming other people for my lack of self-esteem, and it wasn’t pretty.
I want to share with you four of my top tips for confidence. Write these down and make a note of them. They will help you in your life if you need to understand and work on your confidence.
TOP TIP NUMBER ONE
Confidence isn’t arrogance. So many women believe that if they become confident, or if they have confidence, they’re going to come across as arrogant, especially in the workplace. I want to get rid of that idea because it is rubbish. Just think for a moment of somebody you admire in business, or on TV or on radio or something, somebody you admire and somebody you believe to be confident.
Think of that person – are they arrogant person? Nearly always, the people who you like and believe to be confident are cool, calm and collected and have an inner confidence that oozes of them. If you have a really stable level of confidence, you have an air about you that is just so much more relaxed, you are yourself and it is a lovely place to be.
TOP TIP NUMBER TWO
Journaling is one of the best things that you can do for confidence. I use this technique with every single client I’ve ever worked with, and will continue to use it always. I also use it for myself. I use a technique that I’ve called question journaling. Using a beautiful journal and a nice pen, write at the top of a page a question that you’ve been pondering over in your head and need an answer to. Let yourself answer it through free-writing.
Write down everything you hear in your head, on paper – everything! You will be surprised by what comes out. This does two things; it clears your head of anything that’s whizzing around in there that might keep you awake at night and it also helps you to come to an answer.
You know the answer to everything, you just need to get it out of your head.
TOP TIP NUMBER THREE
Getting to Know yourself, like yourself and trust yourself is absolutely essential for confidence. Write these three words down. Know, Like, Trust. Firstly, you must get to know yourself. Ask yourself in your journal, Who am I? And write. Let your pen flow and keep asking yourself Who Am I? The liking yourself bit comes next, because once you identify who you are as a person, you can accept yourself and understand yourself so much more.
Based on knowing yourself and liking yourself, you can then move on to the trust part – which just clicks when you have done the first two parts. Trusting yourself is massively important – it enables you to make decisions, and not just any old decisions, good decisions which really help your confidence.
TOP TIP NUMBER FOUR
Being aware of negative thoughts. Negative thoughts can really hold us back – trust me I know, I’ve been there. Unless you know exactly what you are telling yourself, you can’t move forward. Grab your journal and write all of the negative thoughts down in your head. I’ll give you an example of some of the negative thoughts I had five years ago; I hate my voice, I hate my nose, my work is rubbish. They’re always the kind of thing that you would never tell a friend and yet we tell ourselves these things all the time.
So write them all down, look at what you are telling yourself, cross them all out AND – let go of them. They’re no longer helpful to you, and you won’t move forward if you’re telling yourself awful things every day. Write some new positive statements instead – I love my voice, my nose is lovely, my work is great! Tell yourself your new statements on repeat every single day. Train yourself to think in a positive way. Your confidence will start to grow and your life will feel much more positive.
The last point for me to make is this – you can’t control what happens around you, we know this more than ever now, but you can control how you feel and react in all situations in your life. True inner confidence brings so much to life – not overreacting, not revelling in drama, not feeling like everyone is against you or that bad luck comes your way.
Confidence gives you a new way of thinking and you will feel in control of your life and the decisions that you’re making, and it’s such a good place to be.
For more confidence tips, listen to THE CONFIDENCE ROOMS podcast
It is available on all major podcast apps.