• Being confident means having conviction in your own skills and abilities – and confidence can be acquired through practice

  • Leadership coach Frederique Murphy offers 9 strategies to help you boost your confidence 

  • We have coaches available to support you here


You may have found yourself stuck at the edges of your comfort zone, trying to push through, but held back by your lack of confidence… does that ring a bell? Well, this is entirely normal, and actually a great place to be, in the sense that you are exactly where you want to be as you are aiming to achieve something new in your life.

Indeed, everything you want to be, have and do but haven’t achieved yet, is just outside your comfort zone. So, when you reach that place, it’s time to get excited as you are about to push through. Since this is something new that your brain has not experienced before, fear rises up, and it is at that moment that your lack of confidence pops up and can, if not tackled, hold you back.

Confidence is the conviction you have in yourself, and your skills and abilities. It is not something we are born with or without: it is something we acquire. Confidence is a state of mind, and one we can step in by thinking, feeling and acting confidently.

Think confidently

  • Control your inner dialogue: your brain believes everything you think, which explains why your thoughts either ignite or extinguish your next action. It’s therefore vital to learn how to become an expert at controlling your mind, not the other way around.
  • Increase your awareness: knowledge gives us the confidence to move forward and change. Cognitively, you are consciously aware of 5% of your neural activity. Gaining more awareness about something makes it more tangible, thus increasing its reach and your ability to work on it. Awareness leads to change.
  • Use mental rehearsal and visualise: your brain does not know the difference between the real and the imaginary. So, imagine having already accomplished what you want to achieve: be as descriptive as possible, and you’ll fool your brain into believing you’ve done it, which will help you ease into it. It will reduce your fear, drop your stress levels and make you calmer.


Feel confident

  • Focus on your physiology: specifically pay attention to your eye contact and smile. Both of these not only activate your mirror neurons but the ones of those around you, and it is a wonderful never-ending loop. You give eye contact and smile and you receive eye contact and smile, or vice versa!
  • Have a strong and open posture: use power-posing – read this first and then, stand up and do it. It is pretty easy, really: think of Wonder Woman or Superman and imitate their power pose, hold it for two minutes and feel that confidence injection.
  • Be at ease in your body: this loops to how you think about yourself, particularly how aware you are. Ask yourself: are you at ease in your own skin? If not, you can understand where confidence or lack thereof kicks in. So, assess and do something about it if you are not happy with yourself.


Act confidently

  • Walk purposefully: place your focus on your walking; this is often how we first make an impression. Make your walk strong and with purpose. Think of someone around you, whom you admire and think of their walk: notice how tall they stand, how they look up, how they smile, and do the same.
  • Ground yourself with your breathing: a lack of confidence can often be tied up to erratic breathing; do 10/12 rounds of conscious breathing, and in three minutes, experience its benefits: box breathing – where you exhale for 4s, pause for 4s, inhale for 4s, exhale for 4s, is an ancient conscious breathing technique, which helps you regulate your nervous system.
  • Control your speech pace and tone: this is where you pay attention to your verbal delivery, and ensure yours is controlled and calm; if you feel yourself speaking too fast, slow it down, and vice versa. A confident speaker varies their speech, so do not shy away from adjusting as you go.

These nine strategies use the power of your mind to rewire your brain for success; every time you do any of these, you strengthen their strategic paths in your brain. And the beauty of neuroplasticity, is that, the more you do it, the less you’ll have to do it!

Acting through your fear is what is left for you to do to go beyond the edge of your comfort zone. It is that step that stands between where you are right now and where you want to be to reach your goal. So, apply these strategies, and push through: that first step is often the scariest.

Frederique Murphy is a leadership mindset strategist, keynote speaker and author of Lead Beyond The Edge: The Bold Path to Extraordinary Results

Further reading

The five different types of imposter syndrome

Don't let your inner critic hold you back

3 steps to challenge your limiting self-beliefs

Is it time to stop holding yourself back?

What do therapy and coaching have to do with leadership?