Recently a client told me that I was her role model for being a confident person. This set me to wondering as to how I became a confident person, what happened and when so I created a timeline where I went back to a time when I lacked confidence and found that was when I left school, many aeons ago.

When I left school I planned to be a hairdresser and had an apprenticeship lined up. After working at the hairdressers during the holidays they told me to rethink my career because I wasn’t suited to it. I don’t know if it was because I knocked over a perm tray, spilled tint on a customers back, or wet another customer’s clothes while washing her hair. Being young, I felt totally shattered that my dream had come to an end and it was a time when I was totally lacking in confidence and I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

At that time we were going through another recession and jobs were very hard to come by (by the time you get to my age you have lived through so many recessions they don’t frighten you any more). I had been actively applying for any job for three months without any success when I was told about an office job which required applicants to pass a maths test. I was also told that 60 other people had failed this test. Funnily enough this didn’t phase me as maths was my best subject at school and all of my vocational tests told me I should work with figures.

I did the test and passed and started out working in the office at Mark Foy’s, which at that time was Sydney’s most beautiful department store. I loved my job, in fact Mum told me I talked about it so much I nearly drove my family nuts. When the manager’s secretary left I was offered her job over people much older than myself. That job enabled me to become a confident person, not because I was better than anyone else, but because I was good at something, and that made me feel good about me.

A core element of my coaching process is choosing three values which represent the character traits of the ideal person you would like to be. Clients and students who commit to acting on these values often see a dramatic improvement in their lives and this is because acting on your values makes you feel good about you.

One of the values I have chosen for myself is ‘powerful’ and it’s the one I’ve struggled with because I haven’t felt powerful for quite a long time. Every now and then I’ve tried to replace it with another value but I always come back it. Recently I decided to do my timeline exercise looking back at all the times when my life had gone off track so I could discover what I had done that turned my life around. And every time, without exception, I discovered that my life improved whenever I acted upon a choice which made me feel good about me. It was that simple.

In my book Love the Life You Live, I tell of the time when I suffered a financial setback prior to starting my life coaching business. The change began when I chose to go for a walk every time I felt angry or depressed and before long I was walking 5kms a day and I lost 20kgs. This made me feel good about myself. I then took a part-time job and I can’t say that working at a lower level for a meagre hourly rate made me feel good about me, but the choice to act upon my values and find ways to enjoy myself while I was there did.

With every choice I made that made me feel better about me my life improved. Out of the blue I was offered ghost writing work and as this was interesting and well paying work my confidence returned. I discovered the simple fact that just making everyday choices that make me feel good about me is enough to turn my life around.

With this new awareness I decided to redefine powerful to include self respect as I believe self respect is the place from which all happiness and success flows and with this new definition of being powerful its a value which now supports me.

What can you do each and every day that makes you feel good about you?

Author's Bio: 

Anne Hartley is a life coach and author of several books. She trains life coaches in her unique Heart Process via teleconferencing.