The Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” is ubiquitous for a reason – it speaks to every one of us and the belief we have in ourselves and our abilities.

Now that over a thousand people have taken the free 10-Day Confidence Challenge and around 80% have identified self-belief as the #1 factor that gets in the way of confidence, it’s time we explore the link between them.

Although confidence and self-belief overlap, they are different:

Self-belief is how we view our own inherent worth – the success we feel we deserve and how we appreciate and value ourselves.

Self-confidence focuses on having faith in our ability to succeed – our capabilities and our inner knowing that we will be ok, no matter what comes at us.

Self-belief is intrinsically linked to both our inner voice (which is often an inner critic!) and the external feedback we receive from others. Calibrating the two is important because relying too heavily on external feedback and the whim of other people’s opinions to validate ourselves is not sustainable – just as our negative self-talk holds us back from success.

Confidence is connected to a solid sense of self-belief – knowing who you are and what you are capable of – and a healthy dose of self-belief is not narcissism or boasting. It is a realistic and optimistic evaluation of your abilities coupled with a sense of trust and confidence.

When self-belief is low, it creates a self-perpetuating cycle of negative thinking. This impacts the way we behave, our performance and shows up as a lack of assertiveness, difficulty communicating what we mean and falling short in terms of fulfilling our potential.

Right sizing our reactions, and questioning the stories we tell ourselves is a great first step to ensuring that we don’t go down that negative spiral. As we always say – start small – challenge yourself to speak up, to say no or enforce a boundary and to quieten that inner critic!

Expanding your self-belief is one step in the journey to Core Confidence, and here are some tips to get there:

· Know and value yourself – identify your strengths, abilities, and achievements. Know what they mean to you and why they are important
· Recognise and challenge your inner critic – pay attention to the language you use when talking to or about yourself
· Be assertive – ask for what you want, say no to what you don’t and skip the guilt
· Reward yourself and celebrate your achievements with experiences and activities you value
· Interpret feedback the way you choose – unpack the messages you receive and compare it to what you know to be true

Your thoughts influence your actions, so reining in negative thoughts and stories, and taking time in quiet moments to remember your strengths, reinforces that you are in the driver’s seat.