Based on the book, “Visualize Confidence: How To Use Guided Imagery to Overcome Self-Doubt”
Perhaps you’ve heard the old phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Have you ever remodeled a room? Planned a vacation? Have you ever applied for a new job, asked the boss for a raise, prepared to make a speech in public, 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.
This picture or image, projected onto the movie screen of your mind conveys a wealth of information. It sums up all your beliefs, feelings, attitudes and ideas about how you will act in any given situation. The movie in your mind tells a story, complete with a cast of characters that has a beginning, middle and an end. The pictures or images in your mind influence your very attitudes and behavior. If you believe you don’t have confidence or that you can’t think outside the box, the chances of you being successful become slim.
To achieve, you have to believe. It’s that simple. If you can picture yourself doing something difficult or challenging, you’ll have a much better chance of making it happen, because you’ll have confidence in your ability to success.
Whether it’s auditioning for American Idol, asking the boss for a raise, or going for a new job interview, following these easy top ten steps to being confident, you too can live the life you’ve always imagined. It’s as easy as focusing the pictures in your head.
To begin to strengthen your confidence, use these ten simple steps to project your creative imagination for success, confidence and happiness.
1. Imagine, in as much detail as you can, the outcome you’re seeking. Use your imagination to hear the roar of applause, the taste of the champagne, the pat on your back, or someone saying “job well done.” Be clear and specific; every day imagine yourself with the feelings, sensations and attitudes that go along with your desired outcome as if you have already achieved that goal. Using powerful brain scanning technology, scientists have recorded the activity that takes place in the brain when we’re using visualization and guided imagery. What this means is that the body and the mind don’t know the difference between imagined events and real events. When you use visualization and imagery in this way for inner awareness, your confidence will communicate to you through inner pictures, words, thoughts, sensations or feelings.
2. Learn to quiet the Inner Critic. Yes, you know that voice very well – that nagging voice that tells you you’re not enough or you can’t. Using guided imagery, or simple forms of mediation, exercise, or anything that helps you get out of your head and put the inner critic in its place allows you to take a break from the constant negativity that runs around in your head unchecked.
3. Don’t dismiss the first thoughts that come to your mind as silly or impossible. After all, as Oprah Winfrey says, “Even the wildest dreams have to start someplace. Allow yourself the time and space to let your mind wander and your imagination fly…. You must be a believer before you can be an achiever.” Learn to nurture the tiny seedlings of new thoughts that come to you; protect them and let them grow strong so with time they too can bear fruit.
4. Believe you can. Act as if you already reached your desired goal. Your mental imagery will help you stay on course and prepare you for arriving at your destination. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else. Thomas Jefferson wrote “Noting can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong attitude.” Develop a can-do attitude. You can do it!
5. Whatever you focus on becomes magnified. Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can or can't, you're probably right.” Focus on what you can do, what you do have, and what you do want. Not on what you can’t do, what you don’t have, or what you don’t want. Focus your mind on the positive outcomes that are associated with your confidence goal.
6. Be optimistic. See the glass as half full. Frederick Langbridge wrote, “Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other sees stars.” When you look at your life, how do you view it? Are you focusing on the mud, or do you see the stars? Focus on the stars.
7. Let your imagination soar. Be willing to stretch, to try, to explore and not let any pre-conceived notions trip you up. Take incremental baby steps and chart your progress. Clean out old closets, get rid of torn, outdated or ill-fitting clothes, clean out the garage, and make room for the new to enter your life. Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
8. Surround yourself with really great people and cheerleaders. Develop your own Board of Directors. Mark Twain said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people can do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Believe in your own greatness. If you don’t, who will?
9. Quiet your mind and body every day. A quiet mind and body will be the fertile ground to plant new thoughts, beliefs and behaviors.
10. Go for it. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. As Babe Ruth said, “When it’s your turn at bat … go for a grand slam.” After all, what have you got to lose?
You are the producer, director, screenwriter and actor of your own life. Allow your creative imagination to soar and live the life you’ve imagined. See the big picture. How does this fit into the grand scheme of my life. Find you own confidence style; the unique way that you do things. – perhaps your confidence is quiet and resourful. It doesn’t have to be loud ….
Kirwan Rockefeller, Ph.D. is a member of the American and California Psychological Assocations.