Saying what you are good at builds confidence

Heather Watson has just won the Hobart International. I heard her on the radio talking about the win. She talked about being 100% confident that she would do well. Talked about being in great condition, by regular training and keeping hydrated. And how well she had played. We hear this from sports people and we accept it as absolutely fine, this businesslike assessment of their performance.And if things didn't go in their favour, they talk about the action they are going to take to fix it. They sound upbeat and enthusiastic.

For most of the rest of us, we don't do this. We more likely feel too embarrassed to talk about ourselves like, we might think it is boasting, showing off and bad manners. Instead, we tend to focus on the things we did wrong. We focus on the mistakes we made. Or the near mistakes, where we could have got into trouble, even when we used our skills (or luck) to stay out of trouble.This kind of thinking affects our feelings. If you kept criticising your friends in this way, they would soon be off.

Our inner self-talk reminds us of the aspects of our life where we are not as good as we should like to be. It reminds us of earlier times that we did things badly. We niggle away at our failings and forget about all the good things in our lives. We tend to discount those good things as not mattering half so much as all the ways in which we don't meet our own demanding standards. Or worse, the standards we think other people expect of us.

As you can imagine, all this inner nagging and quibbling makes us feel insecure. So we start to expect bad things to happen. We creep into meetings and try to hide. We sit in the corner at parties. No wonder we don't enjoy them.

We can learn from Heather Watson. Talk yourself up to yourself as well as others. People take you at your own estimation.

I couldn't find a recording of Heather Watson's fabulous interview. But here is an old one. It talks about how she got over difficult times. She says "I found my game. I want able to come back strongly from that." Straightforward, not boasting, not showing off. A great role model. (I don't care for golf but she is a great person.)

If you feel your confidence needs a boost, start saying nice things to yourself. Keep a record every day of things that go well or satisfactorily. It is good to look back when you are feeling low and see that it has been good as well. Challenge those inner critics. And if you need help, come and see me

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