How to Build Confidence and Peace of Mind

Eight tips to help you push through the fear and self-doubt:

There are few of us who escape feelings of fear and self-doubt as we go about our life. Not to worry! We can all learn how to create within us a wonderful sense of confidence and peace of mind as we face all situations in our lives. The book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is filled with very powerful tools to help us push through the fear and self-doubt in order to create a beautiful and satisfying life. Here is a taste of just a few of these tools…  

1. Build your sense of trust in yourself. Your first task is to build the trust that whatever happens in your life, you can handle it all. Right now, think of something about any area of your life that is bothering you and repeat to yourself ten times the important words, “Whatever happens, I’ll handle it.” I suspect you will immediately begin to feel a sense of peace within your being. These are important words to have when the “what if’s” come up. “What if I lose my job? I’ll handle it.” “What if I get sick? I’ll handle it.” “What if something happens to my marriage? I’ll handle it.” And what does “I’ll handle it” mean? It means, “I’ll learn from it. I’ll grow from it. I’ll make it a triumph!”

2. Do your very best, then let go of the outcome. To help you let go, develop the trust that “It’s all happening perfectly.” This calming affirmation is a shortened version of: “I’ve done my best, but even if things don’t go the way I want them to go, I will simply find a way to be enriched by whatever life brings me. I will learn and grow from it all. Therefore, it truly is all happening perfectly.” Repetition over and over again of this wonderful affirmation, will definitely quiet the negative chatter of the mind and help you let go of the outcome. Peace at last!

3. Stop complaining. Complaining is a big clue that you are not taking responsibility for your experience of life. Instead of seeing life’s obstacles as problems, see them as opportunities, opening the door to growth. When you can control your reactions to whatever life hands you, you have the upper hand. You now have a choice: You can create your own misery…or you can create your own sense of growth and wellbeing. That’s power! Every time you have the opportunity to stretch your capacity to handle the world around you, the more powerful and confident you will feel.

4. Yes, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Often we think, “I’ll do it when I am not so afraid.” But in reality, it works the other way round. The “doing it” comes before the fear goes away. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it. Action is the key. Once you have done something you have feared a number of times, guess what happens…the fear of that particular situation goes away. And it’s then time to further expand the comfort zone and move on to the next situation you fear. That’s what growth is all about. And as your confidence builds, it will become easier and easier to “feel the fear and do it anyway!”

5. When making decisions, adopt the “no-lose” philosophy. The “no-lose” philosophy tells us that “I can’t lose – regardless of the outcome of the decision I make. I look forward to the opportunities for learning and for growing that either choice gives me.” Remember, if you learn through your “mistakes,” there are no mistakes! In this way, the “no-lose” approach to decision-making guarantees that all your decisions will be the right decisions.

6. Know that you count. Know that your presence makes a difference. If you don’t understand this very important fact, act as if you do make a difference! Just keep asking yourself the “act-as-if” question in all areas of your life: “What would I be doing if I were really important here?” Make a list and then take action. Soon you will “live into” the realization that you really are important.

7. Commit 100% to all areas of your life. That means when you are at work or with your family and friends, or meeting new people, or volunteering in the community…or whatever…give it all you’ve got, holding nothing back. When you commit to giving 100%, your sense of focus, excitement, participation, enjoyment, fulfillment, and happiness come alive. What a glorious feeling that is!

8. Say “thank you” a lot. Saying “thank you” is a wonderful way to make important connections in all areas of your life. The words “thank you” can also help you appreciate and focus on all the good that is around you, thus helping you release any feelings of anger and resentment you may be holding. You can see why the words “thank you” are two of the most powerful words ever spoken.

If you, step by step, begin incorporating into your life these tips, your sense of confidence and peace of mind will grow and grow. Remember: there is plenty of time…but now is definitely the time to begin!

What to Do When You Feel Invisible

When you find yourself in any situation where you feel invisible, ask yourself what has happened, and what you are really feeling: left out at social gatherings like parties or family get-togethers? Not paid attention to when you speak, or having your opinions discounted? Isolated because of your age? Excluded by your married friends because you are alone? Ignored for gender reasons, particularly if you are a woman?

These are different kinds of invisibility, so try not to let them blend into each other. Only when you understand what you’re feeling, can you find a solution. Here are a few steps that may help.

Step 1: Take responsibility. It’s too easy to blame others, and that never works. Even the people who are closest to you aren’t responsible for how you feel. By taking responsibility, you can completely turn your perspective around. “My kids never call anymore” can be turned into “I’m glad my kids don’t feel burdened by me.”

Step 2: Look at your situation objectively. Most of us get wrapped up in our own emotions, and when you feel resentful, alone or anxious, you are too vulnerable to do what you need to do. Try looking at your situation as if it’s not happening to you but to a friend who has asked you for advice.

Step 3: First, sit down with a pencil and paper and make a list of situations where you feel invisible. At parties? At home? With friends? At restaurants? With younger people? With couples? With your family? At work? Now make three columns. The first column will include things you really want to change. The second will include things you want to change but feel slightly less urgent about. The third is the place for things that it would be nice to change but that aren’t crucial or don’t need to be addressed right this second. Now, insert each of the situations into the proper column.

Step 4: Wait a day or two, and then return to your list to check if you still agree with the priorities you set down. It also helps, at this point, to consult a confidant. Don’t pick a friend or family member who will try to dismiss your problem and tell you that everything’s fine. (They will secretly think you are trying to guilt-trip them). Also, avoid people who are in the habit of telling others what they want to hear. The best choice is someone who has experienced the same situation that you are in and has successfully found a solution.

Step 5: Make an action plan for each of your columns. This is necessary even if column #3 doesn’t feel like a pressing issue. The point of this step is to exercise your imagination. The more ideas you can devise, the freer you can be from getting stuck. Write down as many creative solutions as you can think of. Take your time. There’s no deadline, and you can return to this step over a few days, if that’s what it takes. Feel free to brainstorm with other people, making sure that they realize your intention isn’t to lean on them, but to arrive at your own independent solution.

Here are a few examples that may help jump-start the process. For instance:

Symptom: Neglected at parties.

Solutions: Simple behavioral changes are usually what’s needed, as follows:

Come prepared with topics, such as the most recent news stories.

Keep standing: Sitting down means that you are avoiding contact. Use a tried-and-true tactic: Walk up to someone, introduce yourself and ask them what they do for a living.

Eavesdrop on conversations, and if you hear one that’s interesting, walk up and say, “What you’re talking about really interests me. Can I join you?” Move from room to room, looking around with an interested gaze. When you meet someone’s eyes, smile. If they smile back, walk up and engage. If you feel sorry for yourself as the evening goes on, leave. You have better ways to fill your time, and parties aren’t for you.

Symptom: Not paid attention to by family.

Solutions: A little analysis is needed here. This symptom is frequently a variation of familiarity breeds neglect. You have allowed yourself to be put into a box. Other family members react in one of two ways: They leave you in your box because it’s the easiest thing to do, or they leave you in your box because they assume you like being there. If you complain about feeling neglected, then complaining becomes your box.

The solution is to approach someone in your family whom you trust, tell them how left out you feel and ask how you are viewed by the family. In other words, discover which box you have been placed in. Once you have a reasonable answer, you can begin to change their perception. If you are seen, for example, as quiet, accepting, unobtrusive and useful only when others need something from you, turn the tables. Start talking, speak up for yourself and ask others to help you for a change.

Symptom: Friends no longer seem close.

Solutions: Friendships start to fray for two reasons: The first is that you and your friend are no longer in the same place. One or the other has moved on, which happens. The second is that a hidden grievance has been simmering and eventually created a rupture.

Both of these things can be corrected, but it takes both of you to do that. So you need to have a candid discussion. Choose a comfortable time and place. Don’t bring up your hurt or resentful feelings while you are having them. Once you sit down, state the problem clearly and then immediately ask for feedback: “I don’t think we’re as close as we used to be. How do you feel?” That’s an intimate question, and the other person will usually be startled. But you will be fine as long as you avoid the big turnoffs that kill an honest discussion, which are (1) making a speech right off the bat (2) blaming the other person (3) whining or acting victimized and, (4) showing that you don’t actually care about your friend’s point of view.

You must avoid these mistakes, and if your friend resorts to these discussion-killers, walk away as soon as you are able. You’ve tapped into some kind of resentment or defensiveness that is blocking a solution. But, don’t give up. Returning tactfully to the issue will often work, because your friend has had time to think.

Your aim is to establish whether the two of you are moving apart, or if there is an unresolved issue. Once this has been determined, and you both agree, that’s enough progress for one meeting. Now go home and decide if you want to get on the same page and move in a new direction together, or if the underlying issue can be worked through. I’ve only described the start of how to renew a flagging friendship, but it’s these initial steps that are the most important.

Feeling invisible is a condition you can change with time, effort and creativity. You deserve to be noticed, cared for and valued. All you need to do is to learn the tactics that make these expectations become a reality.