Confidence is a tricky thing. One moment you feel on top of the world, able to accomplish all your hopes and dreams, and the next minute you feel your knees buckle – you become tongue-tied and are unable to even say hello. How can confidence be so strong one moment and then so fleeting and elusive the next? What magic ingredients do superconfident people possess that make them appear unflappable? And, most importantly, you ask, ďHow can I become more confident and self-assured in life?Ē
Real Confidence: What It Is and What It Isnít
Like a strong tree that bends in hurricane-force winds, real confidence is rooted in what your inherent abilities are, and firmly grounded in the core belief that you do have the skills to act with certainty and assurance. Often times marked by a feeling of relaxed coolness, real confidence gives you freedom from embarrassment, and the conviction that ďI can do it!Ē As faith in yourself, real confidence stems from faith in yourself. It is without haughtiness or conceit; it is the recognition that you are adequate, capable, competent and have the resources to accomplish the tasks at hand.
Real confidence isnít something on the outside that you need to acquire, a specific quality of life in the far-off distant future, or the expectation of reaching an unrealistic goal without applying yourself. Itís important to know that real confidence isnít arrogant, aggressive, or stubborn. It doesnít require brute willpower, or sheer force of personality. Neither is real confidence manipulative, controlling of others, or demanding. And, most certainly, real self-confidence isnít about making others yield to your demands or making them feel inferior while they cower beneath your supremacy.
Yours to Reclaim
When nurtured from childhood, real confidence gives you a solid foundation for independence. When your parents or caretakers instill self-reliance in you, even when you make mistakes, you grow up knowing you can trust yourself.
But many of us have to find this out ourselves and struggle to reclaim confidence as our natural birthright. Even if you were vulnerable in childhood when your basic beliefs were formed, with each passing day you have the opportunity to reclaim your confidence and banish deceptive feelings of helplessness. Your feelings of helplessness can be replaced with the conviction that you have what it takes, you can feel better about yourself, and that you can create positive growth in your life.
Real confidence is within you at all times. Itís always been there; itís just been misplaced, forgotten, or trampled upon. Real confidence is your natural birthright. What makes this book unique is that you can use guided imagery and the power of your own imagination to feel confident.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Have you ever remodeled a room? Planned a vacation? Gotten dressed in the morning? Have you ever applied for a new job, prepared to make a speech, or worried about a difficult conversation in the future? Any activity that requires you to look ahead into the future, or plan ahead all begins with a picture in your mind, or an image.
Beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and ideas are represented and deeply rooted in imagery. Imagery can be thought of initially as pictures in your mind; yet imagery is so much more than pictures in your mind. It is a full sensory experience; itís made of thoughts that you can see, feel, hear, taste, and smell. Imagery can be about events that have happened in the past or have yet to happen. Rich in symbols, imagery tells us how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we plan for the future. Imagery is a window into your inner world – the world of dreams, daydreams, fantasies, and your creative imagination. Imagery is also a reflection of your outer world, the world of self-image and confidence. My new book, ‘Visualize Confidence: How To Use Guided Imagery to Overcome Self-Doubt‘ (2007) will help you focus the power of your creative imagination, by using your natural ability to image, and to gain new levels of confidence.
Many of the images we hold in our minds, such as pleasant memories, a beautiful sunset, a prayer or meditation, an upcoming summer vacation, are positive and life affirming. However, most of the time the images we play over and over in our minds are fearful, worrisome, and full of self-doubt. These are the images that undermine our confidence.
Letís say youíve been asked to give a new marketing strategy presentation to senior management at work. As you begin preparing for this event, you automatically remember presenting your sixth-grade book report. Your body starts to tense up, your heart begins to race, your palms begin to sweat, your muscles tighten – and now, instead of feeling confident, youíre anxious and afraid. The negative imagery has put you in a bad mood and you begin to project all the things that could go wrong. You start to ruminate on a variety of negative thoughts and images: ďWill the boss be pleased? Will I embarrass myself in front of all my colleagues? What if I stutter? What if I sweat? I canít handle this!Ē Your confidence flies out the window as a cascade of activity begins in your brain, clouding your mind and making your body a hodgepodge of muscle tension, aches and pains. And your confidence tanks.
Not a positive picture, is it?
Now, letís imagine youíve spent years dreaming about going to Italy. Youíve watched all the travel and history shows on television about Rome and the Renaissance, and your favorite food is spaghetti. In your mindís eye, you can see yourself cruising along the Mediterranean or floating down Veniceís Grand Canal in a gondola, your fingers gently skimming the cool water. You daydream about standing in the Sistine Chapel imagining Michelangelo maneuvering the heights on scaffolding. Youíre tasting wine in Tuscany and smelling the delicious aroma of food being prepared in a little out-of-the-way neighborhood restaurant. You picture yourself flying across the ocean and landing in another world, thinking, ďHey, Iím finally here; this is a dream come true!Ē Youíre confident your trip will be great.
Now, this is a positive picture!
The Mind Is a Powerful Ally
Your mind responds equally to both negative and positive images. It doesnít matter what youíre imagining because your mind and body donít know the difference. This process of responding equally to both negative and positive imagery is the basis of your creative imagination empowerment. Itís this very basic process that youíll learn to harness by reading this book.
In todayís Western world, the power of the imagination isnít always valued, except in specific artistic endeavors. Our culture often tends to downplay it as insignificant or frivolous and not having much to do with day-to-day life. Many people dismiss imagination with an ďitís all in your headĒ attitude, as if this were a bad thing. Weíve forgotten or misplaced the awareness that creative imagination opens our souls and minds to new possibilities and opportunities not available to the cognitive, rational mind.
When you learn to focus your creative imagination, youíll have at your disposal a powerful ally. Your creative imagination is a partner available to you anytime and anyplace to help you turn your dreams into reality and gain confidence. With focus and learning to utilize this power, youíll be able to live free from self-doubt and become the person youíve always wanted to be.
In his bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (2004), Stephen Covey suggests that when you use the power of your creative imagination you align with your deepest values in life, because the creative imagination is personal, positive, visual, and emotional. And donít you deserve to live the best life possible, free from self-doubt? Of course you do! Thereís no need to let self-doubt stop you cold, time and time again.
Excerpted from Visualize Confidence, copyright (c) 2007 by Kirwan Rockefeller. Used with permission of the publisher, New Harbinger Publications. For more information visit: Kirwan Rockefeller’s website
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Visualize Confidence: How to Use Guided Imagery to Overcome Self-doubt
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