Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan Confidence Coaching, Training and Consulting


9 Traits of a Confident Person

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on April 21, 2017 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

9 Traits of a Confident Person

Confidence is often associated with speaking up, being more extrovert than introvert and not being afraid to try new things. These behaviours can be associated with confidence but they can also just be surface behaviours and the person can still experience immense self-doubt, worry what others think and constantly need approval from others. I know this because that’s how I used to be. True confidence has no specific outward behaviour. It can be quiet, unassuming, and have preference for solitary pursuits however, it always sure of itself and a confident person is not afraid to be themselves. Bearing this in mind I have come up the top nine traits I associate with truly confident people.

They trust themselves.

Trust in oneself is essential when it comes to confidence. One of the reasons we often look for others’ approval, or are filled with self-doubt, is because we struggle to trust are own judgement. Unfortunately, this is not a quality taught in school or even at home. We get corrected and praised to meet the standards set by our teachers, parents, the education system and society. It takes practice to trust our own judgement and to be able to accept that we can fix things or will be ok, no matter what life throws at us. When making decisions, it is essential to check in with how we feel first. Learning to trust our gut and our own judgement without needing the approval or support of others helps us to feel more confident. Start with small decisions like what you want to eat or places you want to go and work from there.

They value themselves.

Knowing our self-worth and truly valuing the contribution we make to our lives, and the lives of others, can often be a challenge for most of us. We set impossible standards and constantly compare ourselves with others or have this bizarre idea that we need to be perfect to be accepted, and yet we readily accept our loved ones knowing that they make mistakes. Experiencing our own sense of value allows us to feel confident in our ability to achieve, and to feel that what we can offer is worthwhile. Start by looking at the things you do well, look to see how you improve the lives of those around you and compliment yourself when you do something well.

They see failure as a learning curve.

Truly confident people are never afraid to fail at something, they see it as a potential learning curve and know that it is feedback for what they need to learn or to achieve, in order to get the outcome they want in the future. They also focus less on outcome and more on process, knowing that they are gaining new experiences and skills all the time, even if they have to re-think the final result. Start by looking at what you learned from past situations you once thought were mistakes or failures. Can you look at any new situation with an eye on what you might learn, or gain, and let go of the end-result?

They set their own standards.

When we feel confident we start to turn inwards to measure our experiences and no longer need others to tell us how we are doing. We look to how experiences will make us feel and what benefit it will bring to our lives, and the lives of others, rather than needing to rewarded or praised. Setting one’s own standards means you can focus on what is important to you without having to achieve a specific result and this in turn allows you to let go of your fear of failure. When it is your standard then you no longer rely on others for approval or compare yourself with what anyone else is doing. Before doing something ask yourself how you would like to feel and what you will be satisfied with, bearing in mind that failure is only a result you weren’t expecting.

They focus on others.

As we begin to look towards ourselves for our own standards and let go of our fear of failure, we then can have more time and room in our life to focus on others. We no longer hang on to specific outcomes, need to be right or want to display our worth by appearing superior or better than others. We can look to the needs of those around us and allow them to flourish in our company. We can defer to others for advice and help and encourage those we love to achieve their best. Start by asking what someone might need from you when dealing with another, is it listening, advice or just to be present? Can you let go of your own needs because you are already having them met by how you treat yourself?

They ask for help.

As we start to drop all the ideas we have about who we should be and how we should behave and allow ourselves to relax into our sense of self we can trust in our ability to ask for help. We no longer feel like a failure if we cannot do something and we understand that allowing others to help us not only assists us in getting better, but gives the other person a chance to feel good because they helped us out. Asking for help can make us better at the things that are important to us. Start by asking for help with things you know you can do but are aware someone else is happy to help you with, and may even feel great for the fact that they got to help you.

They look for the Win, Win.

The win, win gives everyone a chance to benefit. When we look for the win, win we are not only focusing on others but we are looking for the best result for you and for them. This allows us to compromise and in so doing gives everyone something. When we are truly confident we are not solely focused on meeting our own needs. We can only do this when we are no longer attached to specific outcome or desperate to prove something to others. Start by asking yourself how you can have your needs met whilst also giving others what they need. With what result would you be happy? Can you give yourself what you need by changing the way you think or what you expect in certain situations?

They live in the moment.

It is very difficult to live in the moment when you are stuck in your head worry about what other’s think, afraid to make mistakes, or trying to live up to the imagined expectations of others. When we no longer feel that we need the approval of others and can truly be ourselves then we are free to focus on what is happening around us. Letting go of our need to control the outcome of an event and focusing on the process gives us the opportunity to savour each moment free from that nagging voice in our head that tells us to be afraid that things might go wrong. Start by noticing where your thoughts are when you are doing a specific task. Are you thinking about something else completely or are you passing comment on what’s happening? Can you just focus on what is happening right now and let go of your thoughts?

They have a positive outlook.

The last trait of a truly self-confident person is having a positive outlook. When we live in a state of trust, drop our fear of failure, live in the moment always looking for the win, win then it is next to impossible to feel negative about life. Knowing that you can figure things out and trusting your ability to do it helps you to find the good in everything. Realising that everything is a lesson and a chance to learn and that you can be happy with whatever comes your way is incredibly liberating and so positivity is a natural by-product. This does not mean you will always be happy or that you won’t experience negative emotions, what it means is that you can look for the good in every experience and let go of fearing that things will ultimately go wrong. Start by finding the positive in situations you normally feel negatively about. Can you see that being delayed in traffic gives you time to slow down or be with yourself? Can you see a mistake as a reminder to be more mindful or in the present moment?

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that all these traits are intrinsically linked. It is impossible to have one without the other. For me the real key to confidence was allowing myself to trust not only myself but others, knowing that help is always at hand and being brave enough to ask for it without feeling ashamed, like I had failed in some way. Bringing awareness to your thoughts and making a concerted effort to work on the negative self-talk can give you a level of confidence that not only allows you to work towards your goals but also to free up your energy so that you can be happy.

For information on my coaching, workshops or training check out my Facebook page or explore my website. You can also email or phone 00353868373582. Thanks for reading, Elfreda





Desperately Seeking Confidence

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on January 20, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Desperately Seeking Confidence

Learning to act confidently is easy but learning to be confident is more challenging

I always remember the movie ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, the funny thing is I remember very little about what it was about other than Madonna was in it. I remember how in the 80s Madonna was huge and although I wasn’t a big fan I still went to a fancy dress disco dressed as a Madonna Wannabe. I looked nothing like her as my costume was just lots of bangles and necklaces. The main things I remember is lots of orange, yellow and blue. Why orange, yellow and blue? Because for some reason I had orange, yellow and blue clothes. Why? Not because those colours suited me but because they made me stand out and why did I want to stand out? So that people would notice me and I would get the recognition and approval I so desperately wanted.

It’s taken me my whole life to date to understand how I could appear to everyone else as an extrovert but actually be an introvert. It is often an assumption that introverts are shy buts shyness has nothing to do with being an extrovert, shyness is part of social anxiety and is often learned behaviour. However, introverts by nature don’t put themselves in the public eye in the same way that extroverts do so wearing brightly coloured clothes is less introvert and more extrovert, so why did I do it? I did it because I believed that was who I was, an extrovert. I was told my whole life that I was a ‘social butterfly’, that I was so confident, that I was fearless and so I lived up to that expectation being exactly what was expected of me. I regularly got sick and suffered from fatigue because I never gave myself time to recharge, as introverts should, and I didn’t sleep for years because I was over stimulated by coffee and had no idea. I behaved how I thought I should to fit in, to be accepted, to be loved.

I went on to study Drama and Confidence in my twenties and taught endless children and adults how to be confident, always doing the things that I had done, practicing so much that it became second nature. You see that’s the thing with confidence, you can learn to act confidently and become confident at any task through regular practice and rehearsal but you may never feel truly confident to be yourself. Why? Because you look outside of yourself to others to tell you who you are or how you should behave. We do it all the time. We say yes when we secretly mean no, we agree to things when we would prefer not to, we dress the way society dictates, eat the latest foods, wear the latest make up and aspire to a certain lifestyle all so that we can fit in, or do the opposite so that we can fit in with the group who choose not to. And the reason being, that as humans the formative years of our life is dependent on others so we learn to do what we think others want in order to survive and feel safe. Unfortunately, we are not then taught to rely on our own judgement and for many of us we still look to others to tell us we are ok. We post on Facebook and Instagram and other social media so that people agree with us or tell us that we are right, because that brings a hit of dopamine each time. We second guess ourselves, doubt our judgement and retell the same stories to multiple people to get their opinion to add it to our own. We learn to act confidently but rarely have the confidence to say what we really want or really mean and so we struggle with anxiety, stress, feeling overwhelmed or depressed. And the times we say what we mean is often in anger because we do feel stressed and then we feel guilty because it doesn’t feel true to who we actually are.

For me, the thing that set me free from this constant need for acceptance and approval was getting to know myself. Sitting in meditation every day and observing my thoughts, working with great coaches who helped me identify my beliefs and values and how some of my behaviour was going against my needs and making me stressed. Learning to be in the present moment has set me free, as now I get to choose who I am and not who I think others expect me to be. I sometimes forget and things slip by me by but I’ve also realised some of the bits I was conditioned to be I like I am glad I have learned, as I am glad I learned to act confidently and I am passionate about helping people to become confident rather than just act it, as I can now say that I am no longer desperately seeking confidence because now I just am, Elfreda