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The Confidence Muscle

by Lisa Phillips(more info)

listed in health and life coaching, originally published in issue 209 - October 2013

After ten years as a Life Coach, I can say hand-on-heart that one of the most common issues I assist my clients with is the lack of self-love and self-confidence. It doesn’t matter whether the external manifestation is poor relationships, a shortage of money, the imperfect career or struggling with negative emotions - confidence, or should we say the lack of it, seems to rear its ugly head. 

The confidence muscle

For me, confidence is about standing strong in who you are. It’s about releasing the need to seek happiness and approval through others and having a knowing that you are not broken, in fact, you are OK just as you are - warts and all!

So why as humans do we find this so difficult? Why do we often have this belief that everyone else seems to be far more confident than we are and that in some way we are fatally flawed, doomed to spend the rest of our life beating ourselves up for not being good enough? Why do we waste some much energy comparing ourselves to other people? Why do we find it such a chore to boost our own confidence and praise ourselves for our accomplishments?

Before I go on, let me point out that I wasn’t one of those people born with an unshakeable confidence. My own lack of confidence had dragged me through a hurtful divorce, an abusive relationship and several other painful major life experiences. However, it was due to this lack of confidence that I took the confidence bull by the horns and gave my own confidence ‘muscle’ some well-deserved attention. I can’t tell you how good it now feels to stand up for myself, put some boundaries in place and feel confident of deserving the best in life! Hurrah, bring it on!

We all know that our level of confidence may have something to do with how we were raised as children, but how can we as adults shake those old beliefs and transform into a confidence butterfly? Let’s face it, we are not kids anymore so for many of us, it is about time we took control, started to re-parent ourselves and spend some time building up our own confidence muscle.

Seeing my clients take ownership of and embrace their inner confidence is a guilty pleasure of mine. It is such a beautiful revelation when they discover that confidence is simply like a muscle, use it or lose it. It is just amazing to watch clients step into a new space of happiness, and in many cases learn to respect their own needs and desires.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, but there are a few general things that we can all do to raise our level of confidence. Stop for a minute and imagine what your life could be like if you just improved your confidence level by just 15%. How would your life be different? What challenges could you take on? What could you let go of? How would you feel about yourself?

Can you imagine the difference it would make if just 5% of the population looked in the mirror each day and affirmed ‘I am confident and loved.’

Here are a few of my top tips to build up that confidence muscle:

  1. Acknowledge the fact that everyone suffers from a lack of confidence at some time in their life. You are not fatally flawed and broken. Take responsibility for building up your own confidence today;
  2. See increasing your confidence as a step-by-step challenge. Don’t scare yourself by thinking that you have to become a confidence guru overnight. Enjoy the journey and take little steps every day;
  3. Let go of old beliefs and stories. We often cling so hard to old patterns of behaviour, such as ‘It is my parents’ fault that I am not confident’ or ‘It is too difficult for me to do that’. You are not a child anymore. Love yourself enough to feel good about yourself;
  4. Focus on how good you are going to feel with increased confidence. Write a confidence goal if you wish. Imagine how your life will be different when you have inner confidence and you feel good about yourself!
  5. Let go of worrying what other people think about you. This is one of the most damaging things to our own confidence. Seriously, don’t worry about other people; they are too busy worrying about themselves to notice;
  6. Write a list of things you need to do in order to increase your confidence. These could be anything from attending an assertiveness course, talking to someone new, practising affirmations, mirroring other confident people or learning to stand up for yourself. It could also be just a willingness to give up on old thought patterns and beliefs. Every little step you take does really make a difference.
  7. Give up the need to criticise yourself. Every critical thought knocks your confidence. Every positive thought about yourself increases your confidence. Why not start by writing down five nice things about yourself every day, or even praise yourself every time you look in the mirror?
  8. Give up the need to be perfect. You are human, so perfection is never going to happen. Learn to encourage and soothe yourself instead. Learn to laugh at yourself and don’t take life too seriously.
  9. Face a small fear. Be brave, hold the hand of fear and take it on. You will be amazed at how fabulous you will feel afterwards. Start small and build yourself up.
  10. Accept that it is OK for you to shine and feel good about yourself. When you shine, you also give other people the incentive to shine!

The New You!

In conclusion, confidence is something we all have within us. Yes, it may have been downtrodden and crushed over the years, but it is still a part of you. Don’t give away your power to situations or people who may have crushed your confidence in the past. Take responsibility for your own life. You are so worth it.


  1. Dr. Mala Gupta said..

    Lisa's ten points to boost confidence is a great idea. With my long yoga teaching experience I can say that all her advice is very practical and doable.Old beliefs and pattern are really big barriers/obstacles in the way to gain confidence. In the first place we must take a deep breath in and exhale long and complete as you are releasing worries out. Taking up some leisure activity like yoga or pilates with mindful and compassionate teacher also works as a wonder pill. Teacher's empathy and compassion is a straight bridge to feel good and gain confidence.
    With love and compassion Mala

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About Lisa Phillips

Lisa Phillips is a Life Coach based in Sydney, Australia. She is regularly featured in the media and is a popular key note speaker. She may contacted via For more information on Lisa and her popular range of ebooks see

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