CONFIDENCE BOOSTER No.7: Get a Positive Charge

It’s a simple fact that the more external negativity you allow into your life the more down you feel. Now, there are sources of negativity over which you have no control and very little influence, but there will be areas where you can make a positive difference to your environment.

THE CHALLENGE: To create a more positively charged environment in which to live.

If you allow yourself to be surrounded by ‘down beat’ and depressed energy from people, places and media, you are at a disadvantage before you even get started. Is there any benefit to your confidence in permitting this to continue? If you wish to up, maintain or enhance your confidence, it will be more difficult if you are weighed down by the burden of a negative environment. Remember that negativity is contagious and it loves company, but the same is true of positivity, so….



  • Seek out the company of supportive, positive and motivated people (this means reducing exposure to pessimism, doubt and psychological lethargy)
  • Do not allow your enthusiasm and motivation to be eroded by the negativity of others – you’ll know who they are. Where possible keep a distance because they just love to spread frowns.
  • Look out for negative judges, labellers, self confessed control freaks, or those who are simply unkind. The time may come when you may be able to help them….but you first.
  • Seek out different physical environments – try something new: gym, pub, café, restaurants, clubs, sporting clubs, parties you attend etc. Taking positive action will create positive change.
  • Beware what you read, listen to and watch. The constant media flow does have an affect how you feel – it’s your call.
  • Adjust your social media friends / likes as this alters the tone of your feed. Or take a holiday (temporary or permanent) from certain social media altogether.

This may seem obvious, however, so often  we can run our lives on auto pilot which will obscure what needs changing. It is said that if you own the action you own the consequences so a number of small adjustments can have a greater impact than you can imagine. The trick is in the doing.

CONFIDENCE BOOSTER No.5: Stop Comparisons

THE CHALLENGE: To stop using unfavourable comparisons to others as a stick with which to beat yourself.

Look out for this popular trip wire if you are trying to restore some lost confidence. If you are comparing yourself unfavourably to those around you: friends, colleagues, even relations, then you are actively undermining your own position and where’s the upside to this waste of mental energy?

  • Finding inspiration in the achievement of others can be a great source for motivation, however, be careful this does not slip into negative comparison – which is very fruitful ground for weighing down your own self confidence…..completely unnecessarily.
  • You are unique and possess your own skills and abilities, but how can you properly concentrate on your own performance if you are busy getting anxious about how someone else is doing?

How many sprint races were lost when, instead of dipping for the finishing tape, a competitor decides instead to glance across at the competition? 



Improve your own game – you have already identified your skills in BOOSTER No.2 so:

  • Set out a plan to enhance the things you are already good at, and to challenge yourself in areas where you may need to improve.
  • What new element would you like to add to your skill set? Identify it and then set about getting it

Up your own game – this is where true motivation comes from….not in glancing at what others are doing….they will have different strengths and weaknesses to you. Watch out for wasted energy wishing you were like someone else – it’ll never happen so rule it out of your thought process.


CONFIDENCE BOOSTER No.4: Handling Criticism

The challenge: To take criticism the way it is intended and learn the lesson in its context.

If we offer or simply think critically of someone in a negative sense, we are not seeking to improve or to support, but are simply passing judgement. On these occasions, there is something else at work which in most circumstances has little or nothing to do with the poor soul on the receiving end. In most instances it’s about our own ‘stuff’ – our frustrations, our disappointments, our ‘what ifs’ etc. Ultimately, that judgement may have nothing to do with the target at all!

The same is true when we find negative criticism coming our way:

  • It has next to nothing to do with us.
  • The comments cannot be objective (otherwise they would not be negative).
  • This breed of criticism will not be helpful.
  • If the criticism comes from a stranger, it’s not even personal – how can it be? Remember they do not know you.

Therefore, we are merely the canvas upon which another person has chosen to sketch out their issues. Incidentally, if the negative judgment comes from a close friend, then that is a clear sign that your friend is in need of your help and support. Pitch in and find out what on earth’s the matter.

With all this clear in the mind, it is easier to take positive feedback from friends and colleagues in a constructive way and in the manner in which it had been intended – with good will.


  • Identify the source of the criticism/feedback and ask yourself, “What is their intention?” – Is it well intentioned or not? Is it to your benefit or not? Write it down.
  • Note an instance (more than one if you really want to drill down on this issue), of when you feel you have been criticised either recently or in the recent past… write it down.
  • What was your reaction? Keep writing!
  • Then conclude – on serious and accurate reflection, is the criticism really something that should be taken to heart?

As in all personal development, this is an ongoing process and the more you practice doing this, the more it will become a good habit. Over time, this will replace the feelings of being under siege when you are criticised and will remove the reaction of self-defence – be it internal or external.

CONFIDENCE BOOSTER No.3 : The Damage of Comparisons

Another unnecessary pressure we heap on to ourselves in an already pressured environment is when we compare who we are, how we look and what we have achieved, to others – & such comparisons are rarely favourable.


  • It’s time to measure up to your own standards and not those set by peer pressure and the desire to be like someone else – these have a detrimental effect on self esteem in a very profound way.
  • If you compare yourselves to others you are not going to have the full picture necessarily: the sacrifices they made to get there; how happy they are with the outcome; the effects on other aspects of their lives i.e. home & family. You do not see the full picture so you cannot know how successful someone REALLY is beyond the superficial.
  • While you are busy measuring up to others you can miss your own opportunities where your particular strengths & talent can shine – effectively you stifle your own talents.



  • Identify your skills and abilities (as in No.2), and match these to goals you would like to achieve. This way you play to your strengths…..why would you want to do anything else?

By all means, seek inspiration in others, in their achievements and the examples they set – but in doing so give full credit to your own abilities. In aiming for your goal, ensure you do it your way and for your reasons. The keys word here is AUTHENTICITY, which will check negative comparisons at every turn.

CONFIDENCE BOOSTER No.2: Is Failure an Option?


The fact of the matter is that if you are reading this and are a member of the human race you will make mistakes, maybe even the odd howler, I guarantee it. The secret is to accept this fact and cut yourself some slack – but I am not asking for any more or less than you would a good friend or work colleague.



If you suffer with issues of self confidence (and most of us do at different times), and if you are prone to working yourself over for making mistakes, you can set yourself a whole set of unnecessary challenges:

  • Reluctance to take risks
  • Stifling your abilities
  • Ignoring your achievements while highlighting your failures



  • Write a memo to yourself listing your abilities, which will be a matter of public record and fact – so that not even you can dispute them. Don’t roll your eyes….do it.
  • Note down your past successes – as you may well have buried them beyond normal daily recall. Get them out, dust them off and put them on display (this is for your benefit, not ours, as it will be you that cannot see them).
  • Check out what some of the most successful people in history have said about failure – in particular our greatest scientists, who reached the heights of achievement through trial & ERROR – get it?

There’s nothing wrong with striving for perfection and having to make do with mere excellence. The trick is not avoiding making mistakes or failing – it is in doing so and using that stumble as a lesson & not as a source of corporal punishment!

CONFIDENCE BOOSTER No.1: Maintain Proportion



We have all heard the adage that this life is not a rehearsal. What that says to me is “please do not waste a day” and that is what I try to instil in my clients who suffer with low self confidence and low self esteem. True, we cannot always succeed but it is a good reminder to have in the background to nudge us from time to time: avoid dwelling on an issue that we may have perhaps built up beyond its importance – also known as, wasting time.


Pick an age you wouldn’t mind reaching 80, 85, 90, message from the Queen? It’s up to you. Then convert the years from the present until that date into days. Seeing your life quoted in days can cause a moment of pause and bring home just how precious is each day. You’re not always going to be able to have good days, in fact some may be down right hard work, but the idea is to become more determined as how you view your valuable time and your priceless life.

The benefit is that getting into this habit will help to put issues and problems into context. It will not make them disappear, but in the grand scheme of your life, they may well take on more realistic dimensions, and appear in their correct proportions – and not seem to be monumental obstacles.

Try it and see….

MAKE IT STICK! How to set goals & stop back sliding.


MAKING IT STICK: understanding how to set goals & not backslide

The workshop was conducted together with Adam Strong of In these excerpts, I concentrate on speaking about the ‘head game’ – not just the preserve of elite sport, but also vital in business and managing and sealing goals.

THE LIGHT BULB MOMENT – Challenge yourself by asking the right questions

After one of my recent public speaking events a member of the audience gave me some feedback – which incidentally is always welcome – how else can I adjust my sights?  The point he raised actually goes to the core of coaching, and the quest of personal development in general:

“I thought you were going to be giving some answers”.

That fact that I am often quizzed on a wide variety of life strategy issues highlights our fundamental need, as humans, to search for answers. Nowadays there are the added imperatives of wanting answers right now, on tap, and the simpler the better – an impatience that is hardly surprising given the spirit of our age.



Of course I, like everyone else, have loads of answers, but they are mine, applicable to my life and my issues, and are of absolutely no use to anyone else whatsoever. The fact is, the best person to provide answers for your life is you. However, in creating positive lasting change, the greatest challenge is not actually in finding the answers as we already have them within us in abundance. The real issue is to find the right questions as it is through them that our answers will become apparent.

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”

Eugene Ionesco



The need for asking the right questions is all about reaching that light bulb moment I see so often in my clients. One of the most frequent statements from those I work with is “I’ve never looked at it like that before”. The realization that we already possess our own solutions is both very dynamic and immensely empowering. We have the answers all along – but often we are  just not able to challenge ourselves.



  • Challenge our perspectives and test our thinking
  • Can make us look more critically at the way we do things and the way we view ourselves and our world.

When I say critically, I mean in the most positive and constructive sense – after all, we cannot build anything lasting upon negative foundations.


“We cannot solve our problems

with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein



Whether in a private one to one session or speaking to large groups, my work is all about challenging people’s existing thinking and perceptions – and my principle asset for that is posing questions and then waiting for the answer. Waiting for answers is equally important for individuals planning their own life strategy: do not rummage around looking for them. Allow calm and space to do the work and if the answer is a natural fit, it will come to you and, quite simply, it will feel right.

Alan Keyse is a fully qualified Business and Life Coach who now applies his 30 years of experience as a sales executive to coaching Emotional Intelligence to business leaders, executives, managers and their staff. Alan specialises in stress reduction; conflict management; low self confidence & employee engagement. 




Offering patience as a possible option in fashioning new life strategies can meet with short shrift – and that’s putting it mildly. Patience is often regarded as ‘off the pace’: a waste of time when we should be out there ‘making things happen’. Patience is seen by many as too ‘wait and see’, or being passive, docile and even weak.



Most of us know of individuals who on deciding to make a new life change just do so: quitting smoking, training for their first marathon, losing 40lbs… they seem capable of a 180 degree with unshakable determination. We can respect and applaud such discipline & force of will but revolution is not for everyone. AND we certainly must not make comparisons and use those as a stick with which to beat ourselves. For many people evolution is a better fit: a more measured planned approach can get us to where we want to be.



It’s all bout forward momentum. Have you ever put a toddler down and turned away, only for a matter of seconds, and then turned back only to have to begin trying to track them down? Well, there’s nothing wrong with baby steps! So the sort of patience I refer to has nothing to do with ‘wait and see’ but is all about planned persistence at your pace. It does not signify lack of proactivity – quite the contrary, it’s all about devising an action plan combined with perpetual and most important of all – relentless forward momentum:

  • you do not lose sight of the target
  • you will not be knocked off course
  • and you’re not stopping for….anything!



By setting your own pace, you can manage your own evolution by taking measured and positive steps every single day, for example:

  • going for a walk
  • not tackling a pile of mail but one piece at a time
  • making a point of smiling at shop assistants and bank workers
  • avoiding emotional vocabulary
  • periodic ‘turn ‘em off time’ – TV, tablets, smart phones etc (tough one!)

To achieve goals it’s not a prerequisite to take giant leaps, or to turn lives upside down (however, if that’s the pace you want to set that’s fine). Change can be gradual: it evolves, and as such is grows into a natural fit and this time it will take!

The practice of thinking in new ways and doing new things often enough can alter lives a piece at a time. Quick fixes and short term enthusiasm so often leads to short lived benefits, disappointment & regression. Evolution can be the key to real change in thinking and in behaviour and replicates how we took on bad habits – we’ve just reverse the flow. So positive changes can ‘take’ and become our new good habits. What took decades to condition our lives cannot necessarily be turned around in weeks, but real beginning can be made – in bite size pieces….buon appetito!

Alan Keyse is a fully qualified Business and Life Coach who now applies his 30 years of experience as a sales executive to coaching Emotional Intelligence to business leaders, executives, managers and their staff. Alan specialises in stress reduction; conflict avoidance; & employee engagement. 




Our desire to be a different body shape to that we already possess is one of the obsessions of our age and so many of us are subject to this at some time or other.


We all know what it takes to be in better shape and unless we are impeded by a medical condition, we know that it could not be simpler: eat better and be more active. Anyone who has problems with yo-yo dieting and ‘workout phobia’, however, knows that it is clearly not that simple. If it were we would all be doing it instead of complaining about it. We want to improve our fitness, we know how to go about it and yet so many of us struggle – clearly there must be another dynamic involved.



The first place to look if we are struggling is to examine our motivation for wanting to diet/workout. If we are having difficulty we are most likely not doing it for the right reasons – we are not doing it for our reasons.  We may be pressured into trying to make change by, for example:

  • Our perception of what other people think of us
  • How we believe we ‘should’ look
  • Trying to live up to the body image the media thrusts before us (the main aim being to shame us into buying whatever they happen to be selling).


If we work at developing higher levels of personal awareness, we are able to bring into sharper focus our own emotions and motivations. This in turn will provide the lasting shift in thinking and therefore habits, that will make yoyo diets and wasted gym memberships a thing of the past.  In short, a well thought through healthy lifestyle program will focus on:


1. Helping to establish realistic goals that reflect innermost desires.

2. A step-by-step plan to achieve those goals.

3. Clearing the mind through meditation so thoughts become less cluttered, allowing distractions to be observed, understood and more readily handled.

4. The removal of guilt, shame, and self-judgement for how we think we look at the moment – and the low self esteem issues that come with them.

5. A positive attitude to a change in lifestyle and the acceptance of setbacks as a basis for continued forward momentum and not a reason for backsliding.

6. Accepting full ownership of the journey and ultimately of the success it will bring.


The success, or not, of a health & wellness programme has a great deal to do with our social conditioning and mental attitudes. If we are carrying burdens of, for example, unrealistic expectations, guilt, and shame – that is the weight loss we need to tackle just as much as unwanted waistlines. By focusing on the inner challenges we face, as an integral part of healthy lifestyle goals, we can achieve a real and lasting change – the way we want it!

Alan Keyse is a fully qualified Business and Life Coach who now applies his 30 years of experience as a sales executive to coaching Emotional Intelligence to business leaders, executives, managers and their staff. Alan specialises in stress reduction; conflict avoidance; & employee engagement.