My Guide to Confidence in 6 Steps

Wow…This is my first guest blog!

When I first started blogging, the thing I was most excited about was having other people read my thoughts and hear my advice. But then, when I started writing, I was like ‘woah.. this means I am totally vulnerable to criticism!’

This, I’m sure, is relatable for so many people – not just bloggers! If you’re applying for a promotion and you’re asked to present to a group, you may feel vulnerable and insecure about your ideas in the same way.

Nonetheless to strive for what we want, we absolutely must remove ourselves from our comfort zone and remind ourselves of a few very important things.

For my first ever Guest Blog post, I’d like to share with you some advice on confidence. It’s something we; lack, build, lose and encourage. But how? And why?

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Confidence is a feeling of belief or faith in someone that you can rely on. It is a mindset and ‘someone’ can be yourself or anyone else.

We are encouraged to be confident from such a young age, but the methods to attain it are often never mentioned. One seemingly timeless piece of advice is to ‘imagine everyone is naked’ when giving a speech – has this ​really ever worked for anyone?

So, since lockdown, I’ve chosen to take some time for reflection. I have reflected upon who I believe I am as a person. Some traits I am sure I can use to describe ‘me’

– such as organised and conscientious. However, when it comes to confidence, I can’t quite make my mind up.

It is so natural to be confident in certain settings over others. You may find that in the office you are comfortable chatting with lots of different people and have no trouble with being the centre of attention, thus, confident. However, when faced with your In-Laws, it may be a different story and you may feel less confident in your own abilities to hold a conversation.

 This is normal! We often find ourselves changing our persona depending on who we are surrounded by and our confidence may fluctuate depending on how comfortable we are in any given social setting.

You may be reading this and ask yourself ‘but how do I become more confident?’ You may be quite introverted and want to put yourself out there a little more.

Well, here are my tips on how to become a more confident person. Some may come across as blatantly obvious – but I feel it is important to remind yourself of these things. Others may be less obvious – I hope you make a mental note of these and remind yourself when needed.

Your goals surrounding confidence will differ, as will your reasonings. Nonetheless, I hope you find my advice useful! Here goes…

  1. ALWAYS Stay True to Yourself

It is so important and possibly my number one piece of advice for just about anything you want to achieve. In this case, you want to gain confidence. The most effective way to do this is be sure of yourself and what you stand for. You’re going to need to know what it is you want (I’ll come back to this later on) but most of all, you needtoknoww​hy.​Whydoyouneedtoportrayconfidenceinasocialsettingwith high profile members of a particular organisation? ‘​To make an impression, make yourself known and to put you in good stead for a career.’ ​Whatever the reason, you need to understand your motives and stay true to who you are and what you wish to achieve.

  1. Write Down Your Goals

A major factor in confidence is the belief that what you want to achieve can actually come to fruition. I know it sounds cliche, but you really can achieve what you set your mind to. The moment you start doubting this is the moment your confidence lacks and you begin to falter or deviate from your goals. So, by writing them down in an assertive way, you will be able to more easily envisage yourself achieving them.

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If you are creative, make your page colourful and pretty. If you are more pragmatic, organise your goals into; personal, relationships, work and exercise, etc. However you choose to write down your goals, you must articulate it in a way that sounds as though it is already your reality. For instance, ‘I will get a promotion’ or ‘I will save enough money for a house.’ This allows us to more easily visualise ourselves living our goals with confidence…

  1. Visualization

This is an age old technique but it is so effective and has certainly worked for me. To visualise your goals, you are imagining your life as though your aspirations are achieved. This makes the goal more realistic and allows you to see the good in what you want to achieve. Visualisation of your goals may motivate you to push that much harder for what you want. But not only this, it will help you grow in confidence to work towards what you want. It will leave you in no doubt about what and why you want your life to take a certain path.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid of Rejection or Failure

Part of growing in confidence is to strive for things, however, what holds a lot of people back is the idea of rejection or failure. This is totally understandable, however, it is something we must overcome to grow in confidence and achieve our goals. So, how do we do that? Although easier said than done, we must not be afraid of rejection by others or failures. To be rejected by a new employer or by failing to achieve what we wanted to, we are simply creating new learning experiences to carry forward to your next venture. For instance, you apply for a new job at a different firm.

You are successful in your written application but do not get the job after your interview. This is not a failure because you have gained invaluable application and interview experience for a job that you will get elsewhere at a later date. (Always try to receive some feedback in this instance, too!) One handy tip is to walk away from your interview and write notes and tips for your future self! Whatever form rejection may take, you need to remember that you’re still progressing towards your goals, and

 this experience will give you the confidence to do so in the near future. Don’t give up!

  1. Build Positive Relationships

I have spoken about this in my previous blogposts on’​ Protecting Your Energy,​’ however, it is so important to build positive and meaningful relationships. Why would we ever choose to be friends with people that try to knock our confidence? Please, please p​ lease s​ urround yourself with people that want to see you succeed and who help you along the way.

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This could be in the form of inviting you to coffee when the know you might be stressed about upcoming deadlines or simply dropping you a message to check in! Likewise, try to b​ e ​this friend to others. You’ll find the world to be a happier place when you build others up.

  1. Do What You Love (But Not Always)

My most ambiguous tip.. but an important one, nonetheless. Simply put, it is important to do what you love to build confidence because you are assured in what you are doing and passionate about it, too. However, you should always try to edge yourself out of your comfort zone. You never know … you might just find a new passion or fill your mind with new information, equipping yourself to achieve your goals!

Here I have only scratched the surface in what you can do to build your confidence. Simply reading this blog post will not help you, either. You need to internalise this advice and carry it with you. If you ever feel inadequate or under qualified, you need to remind yourself of these six steps. You are brilliant, you are valuable and you are confident.

Grace x

How to Start a Journaling Practice: Tips, Tricks, Rewards & Challenges

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For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to have a daily journaling practice. For some reason, this hobby has always held value to me. I’d envision myself curled up in the corner of a couch, writing in a beautiful journal, using a perfect pen that effortlessly highlighted the uniqueness of my penmanship, my thoughts would flow onto the page, over time notebooks would fill one after the other, and I would proudly display them on  a bookshelf somewhere. It’s a lovely thought, but in reality implementing a daily journaling practice is a little bit more…complicated. 

It took a long time but, finally, in 2015 I made my vision a reality: I began writing daily, and the notebooks and bullet journals did start filling up. I would like to share my journey to journaling in the hopes that it will help others cultivate their practice. So, keep reading! I’m about to share almost 20 years of tips and tricks, AND be totally honest about the rewards and challenges you’ll face along the way.

How to Start a Journaling Practice: Tips, Tricks, Rewards & Challenges

The Attempts

I attempted to become a diary keeper at least 10 times over my lifetime. The first few attempts were when I was a teenager, the majority of the attempts were when I was in my early twenties, and the last attempt (which was successful) was in my early thirties. Each attempt was met with a  brand new fancy notebook which would cost waaaay more than I am willing to admit  (I’ve had a fondness for fine stationery my entire life). 

As each day came to a close, I would write about it. I quickly realized that my day to day life wasn’t actually all that exciting. Exciting events accumulate over time, and an isolated daily page of writing doesn’t actually reveal all that much at the start.

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Remember: journaling implies handwritten. Truly getting into the details of your day using a handwritten medium is a time investment. Just filling one page, depending on the size of the notebook, can take upwards of 20-30 minutes.

The Realities of Keeping a Daily Journal

The First Reality: The Negativity Bias

Initially, starting a journaling habit is not nearly as rewarding as one would think. That is,  until you have a really bad day. Suddenly, you can’t wait to get home and write everything in your journal… to vent, to let it go, and have an audience that will always be on your side.

 On a bad day, I can remember picking up my pen and filling pages effortlessly. I’d write until my hand hurt and my letters became blurry from either exhausted penmanship or tears. 

When writing daily, there seems to be an involuntary pull to express the negative. Journaling is cathartic in this way. In my experience, I was always more likely to vent about a bad day than I was to brag about a good day. 

The Second Reality: The Joy is in the Writing, not the Reading

One of the beauties of journaling is that as you write you truly begin to get a sense that your thoughts are flowing freely onto the page. The pen that writes is the conduit to your innermost feelings. As you free write it feels like there could never be any errors. Unfortunately, re-reading entries will prove this feeling false. Hand written pages are not magically highlighted with spelling or grammar errors. I know I have a tendency to leave out words when I handwrite. Sometimes reading my entries can sometimes feel like putting together a puzzle.
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The joy in journaling is the writing, not the reading. I don’t suggest never reading your old  journals, but I would recommend allowing a few months to pass before venturing backwards into your experiences. Here is an excerpt from my journal regarding an experience I had re-reading an entry: 

 “Looking back, it amazes me how fragmented this is! At the time, I remember feeling like I was being so in depth. It probably took me well over an hour to write this [entry] ! Writing 6 pages felt like such an accomplishment, but now all I want to do is edit!”

Giving yourself time before reading will allow you to gain perspective and hindsight about what you were experiencing and feeling as you wrote.

How To Get Started: 3 Do’s & 3 Don’ts

Lets start with the Don’ts:

  1. Don’t use an expensive notebook. Investing in something fancy will put pressure on you to have a perfect journaling practice. You will feel like you need to write neater because you want to maintain the niceness of the notebook. Censoring your handwriting censors your thoughts. Get an ordinary notebook. Don’t be afraid to be messy, cross things out and carry it around with you. The more used and tattered your notebook looks at the end, the more successful your practice!
  2. Don’t let filling notebooks be your end goal. This was a trap for me. I was too future focused. I created an all or nothing statement in my mind that if I was filling notebooks I would then be an avid journaler. Writing is meant to be an activity that connects us with the present moment, which can only be measured in progress (not success or failure). My first filled notebook took about 8 months to complete!  
  3. Don’t write about your day. All of my ‘start and stop’ attempts at writing occurred when I was only filling my pages with daily events. Using a structured style of journaling can increase your dedication to the practice. I had much more success using journaling prompts to guide me (more about that below). 

And now the Do’s:

  • Do find a pen that you love. If you are going to be writing a lot you should love the way your pen feels and writes. Personally, I prefer finer tip pens (0.7 tip is my ideal). Finer tip pens are less likely to smudge because not as much ink is expelled with each pen stroke. Thicker tip pens and gel pens are prone smearing and bleeding through the pages of your notebook. This will annoy you, trust me!
  1. Do keep your journal in sight. You may have the urge to keep your journal hidden to protect your privacy, but if it’s too well hidden you won’t be reminded to write in it. Store your journal in a place where you will encounter it. I kept my journal in a bathroom cabinet for almost a year because I would see it every time I needed to get toothpaste.
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  2. Do use specific types of journaling. As mentioned earlier, writing about your day can be a trap. There are many types of journaling and all of them do reveal insight into your life over time, despite not documenting daily occurrences. Here are a few different styles of journaling to try:
  • Line a Day: Simply write one line a day everyday. Short, sweet and to the point.
  • Morning Pages: A writing practice that takes place first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. Without happenings to dwell on, morning pages can reveal clarity about what you’d like to accomplish each day. Morning writing tends to also have a more positive tone should you choose to re-read your entries.  
  • Gratitude Journal: Write 1 to 5 things that you are grateful for everyday 
  • Journaling Prompts: Answering daily questions that may or may not have a theme to them. Pinterest is loaded with various types of journaling prompts. For 3 years I used the same monthly journaling prompts. It was fun comparing how I answered each question differently from year to year. This is my preferred method to journal.

Almost six years later, I am happy to say that I am still journaling. Sure, my practice ebbs and flows but ultimately I am committed to it. I’ve allowed my writing to evolve and I use different styles of journaling for variety. I have now filled 15 notebooks. Just as I envisioned, I display them proudly as I hope one day you will too. 

By: Cheryl Tobin

About the Author

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Cheryl is the author of the blog Spiritually Premeditated. She describes herself as a spiritual enthusiast, avid journaler and wannabe morning person. She relies heavily on coffee and oracle cards to get through the day. 

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