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  • Writer's pictureLee Hancock

Don’t wait for others to build your confidence…Think Home Depot and do it yourself!

Watching confident athletes, students or really any performer is just plain fun. How many times have we switched on the TV to see players like Serena Williams, Steph Curry or Lionel Messi step on to their field of choice and look as if they are ready to take on the world…and then they do.

If I asked you to describe what these people look like, could you define it?

In coaching and/or teaching education workshops I have posed this very question. Responses usually include things like, they had a swagger, a way about them, an I can do this attitude, a perseverance when things didn’t go well…basically a certain something that says I am here to be great and I know I can do it!! I say okay – and then I ask how they think those confident people got this way…that’s when and where the questions begin.

The truth is that we can’t know where exactly confident people “get” their confidence. Is it innate? Is it built? The research suggests that it is combinations of things like personality, situational comfort (basically people are confident in things they like or are good at) and, of course, that it is a result of the environment that is built around and for that person to develop – so both innate and built.

I say confidence is 100% buildable.

As a performance psychology coach I have been involved in numerous teams over the years – from Olympic to professional to college to youth – and I have seen great coaches have a major impact on the confidence of these athletes at every level.

But I also advocate and try to teach people to not wait for others to help thme build their confidence as true self confidence comes from within.

So – How can you learn to be a do-it-your-selfer and build your confidence for yourself?

How many of you know about and like places like Home Depot? Home Depot is a very popular store that sells products to homeowners, business’, contractors etc. Most people that shop at Home Depot are do-it-your-selfers that are going there for inspiration, ideas and of course product…in order to build something great with their own two hands (or their friends hands!!)

My guess is that some of you love the Home Depot because you are a do it your-selfer!!! I will be honest here I really like the home depot but it frankly scares the hell out of me because I can’t do $#$% around the house. I get frightened changing light bulbs and painting and don’t even get me started with how hard it is to do something crazy like hang a picture straight. But I will say that when I stretch out of my comfort zone, get to the Home Depot and purchase that light bulb and install it all by myself that it is satisfying empowering and frankly fairly easy

Why can’t building your own confidence be as easy as changing a light bulb. Why can’t that be the starting point for bigger and better do-it-yourself projects that help you build your own confidence?

It absolutely can.

So why think “Home Depot” when you think of building confidence?

2 things about the Home Depot that will be perfect for our discussion on you being a do-it-your-selfer

  1. Home Depot has lots of ideas, tutorials and inspiration to help people do it themselves

  2. People can absolutely do projects themselves with the right product and information

So your approach, that will be similar to the home depot, is basically

Let me, and other resources, serve as your Home Depot for ideas, tutorials, and inspiration and you can absolutely do it…Take these and start do build confidence yourself…you can be a do-it-your-selfer!

Some ideas for you to get started being a Do-It-Your-Selfer:

Confidence is a belief in one’s self or one’s abilities. This belief is very strong sometimes and weaker other times….what’s important is that it is not an all or nothing thing – meaning you don’t have to be 100% all the time.

It’s ok to have some doubt and some fluctuations, its normal. The point here is it is in there somewhere, its just waiting to come out - and more to the point its waiting for you to take control and bring it out

When I work with my athletes I talk about confidence like a confidence-o-meter with a scale of 1-10 — 1 being lowest and 10 being highest. I want people to start to think about where they might be on this scale, why they might be there and what they can do to get themselves higher on the o-meter. This gives the athlete an objective way to start to build that confidence that is sometimes very hard to measure.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started on building and managing your confidence-o-meter.

1. Go out and work hard at whatever it is you want to be good at.

Sounds simple but research suggests that when a person feels that they have mastered something or improved at something that that fact right there is the # 1 contributor to improving confidence. So my first piece of advice to athletes is if you want to feed that o-meter that you need to get out and get to work just that little bit extra EVERYDAY.

2. A close second - Compete with yourself as you are going out and working to improve.

The goal isn’t to be better than everybody else its to be better than you and to be the best you that you can be. This is hard to come to grips with as we love to compare – it is human nature. But the truth is that confidence is 100% about your feeling about you – and so, if you are working to improve make sure that you are competing with your areas of improvement vs others – this is good for a lot of reasons but one of the main ones is that it gives you control, as what if you are comparing yourself with Messi? He may be a bit much to hope for!!

3. Take notes of your progress and learn to embrace the failures!

So you are working to improve yourself – great. Take notes on this process. Where did you start, where did you get to, and where are you going. Oh you fell short – it happens!! This means you are reaching.

  • Confidence is a journey not a destination. On this journey you will fall and this is good.

  • Learning to manage these falls is part of the process. Think about how many times the great ones fail.

  • Take notes on your progress and when you fall short that’s great….use that as a learning experience as successes aren't permanent and neither are failures!!!

4. Manage your self talk

Are you aware of what you say to yourself – especially when things may not be going well? Everybody talks to themselves, but people that are great at what they do take control of that self-talk and use it for good instead of evil.

  • You should make it a point to 1) find a few phrases that you want to hear that are positive in nature or getting you where you want to be and 2) write them down and 3) say those to yourselves at least 50 times a day.

  • You should also put a plan in place for dealing with negative feelings and self talk. These are normal but must be dealt with. Allow yourself a moment or two with these feelings and then change them into what you can do vs. what you can’t do…combating negative self talk is huge! This can be anything from a stop light (red to stop, yellow to change the feeling or thought and green to go with the new phrase) or rubbing the hands together and a go-to phrase of "stop it, you got this we can do this"

5. Watch others for inspiration

I know above I said compete vs yourself – still do that but don’t forget to look up to people that are awesome. I have had the good fortune to be around some great people – coaches, players, teachers etc… – they have fantastic energy and confidence. Find those people, follow them on social media, read about them, watch documentaries on them and generally pick up as much as you can about the who they were….then try some stuff on for size.


Finally, as you work to start yourself off on this journey as a do it your-selfer keep these things in mind:

  1. People with high confidence didn’t start there – they worked and continue to work to get there

  2. Confidence is ALWAYS a work in progress…like a lot of our home projects I would assume.

  3. There are plenty of places on the internet and in books and magazines that you can take as inspiration to build your own confidence. Use them and use them often.…so confidence is a journey not a destination

Whatever you do – remember – think home depot and be a do-it-yourselfer as you seek to build your confidence!!

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