top of page

The Self-Belief Pyramid & Why We’ve Been Talking About Confidence The Wrong Way


Green Wavy Line

Sometimes when you’re desperately looking for answers, it’s easy to look in the wrong places.

Very often my clients come to me looking for greater confidence or to boost their career performance. Focused on what they may or may not be doing at work or home, they look at how they can modify their behaviours, manage their time, improve their mindset or step forward/speak up more. How can they live a more satisfying, fulfilling life?

If you’ve found yourself here, you may be asking the same questions yourself.

What if we were to flip the conversation? What if you were to look somewhere else?

So if you’re frustrated about passing up opportunities or your confidence is flagging, I have a useful tool for you to use – and tips on how to use it.

It’s common to start at the bottom of the triangle – and you can see why. This area is about achievement, success and competency. These elements are easy to identify, measure and track. The problem is that setting goals in this area can be counterproductive – as we miss the mark, our morale may dip and then it becomes more and more difficult to keep going.

Think about the difference we’d make if we were to start work at the top

What if we were to allow these things to trickle down? Wouldn’t that make sense?

In fact, it does make sense – I’ve seen it in action and it’s a very powerful approach.

Here are 5 things you can try to work from the top down.

1. Let compliments sink in

Glowing feedback can leave us ready to run and hide but it’s healthy for our inner being. We’re so often caught up in the day-to-day that it’s easy to allow our identity to get tied up in what we can (or can’t) do.

This is where we need to be aware of where the compliment hits us on the self-belief pyramid. Is it simply about the tasks we do well or does it go deeper into our level of commitment or natural talents, for example?

You know you’re growing when you can just let them land without resistance. This is what you’re aiming for.

2. Do one thing at a time.

Life is busy so don’t promise yourself you’ll do twenty things at once, you’ll only destroy your self-worth. Remember the goals you set for yourself are about improvement, not punishment.

We can be really hard on ourselves. Think of the compassion you’d feel for a friend if they let you down because they had too much on their plate. Would you be angry or understanding? Would you have wild expectations about what they’re capable of?Extend that same level of compassion to yourself.

3. Try alphabet affirmations.

This is a fun game I sometimes play in tandem with my husband. It’s a real mood booster.

Stop and pause. Start with the letter A and think about a word that captures how you’re feeling right now. Like I am alive, I am abundant, I am aware. Allow it to flow naturally and try to make it as true to the moment as possible – don’t try to steer it.

It doesn’t need to be negative or positive, it just is. Just do a few letters or follow it through to the end.

Then remind yourself that although you may be a crazy mess of a human, you’re still worthy.

4. List 50 things that make you, you

This could be a quick-fire round, or you could take your time with it, adding over 2 weeks or so. Off the top of your head, note down 50 words or phrases that make you, you. Again, we’re not judging them as positive or negative and we’re not using the red pen to censor things out.

A phrase I use is ‘if you spot it, you’ve got it.’

Look at the word picture you’ve created and admire the chaos. This is you in all your messy perfection. It makes you wonderfully unique.

5. Fill the praise bucket

Every time you receive a compliment, whether it’s verbal feedback at work, a review online or just a comment from someone you know, make a note or print it out and pop them into a jar. When your end of year comes or you’re feeling a bit low, you have a valuable uplift at your fingertips.

Alternatively, write these in a diary of self-gratitude, a notebook or a file. 

If this initially seems a little uncomfortable, I’d like you to press ahead and give it a go anyway. It should get easier with time. 

And although we can’t be reliant on sourcing our self-esteem from others, it’s still a healthy and important way of nourishing our self-belief.

If you’ve ticked the boxes but don’t feel like you’ve found any of the answers then it’s likely you’ve been working hard on the bottom of the triangle instead of focusing on the good stuff at the top.

I’d really like you to try these five things and I hope the visual gives you a different perspective on what you can do to boost belief in yourself. If you’d like a conversation, my first session is free – I’d love to hear from you.


Dark Blue Wavy Line

Curious For More?

Sign up to receive a weekly diary entry of self-discovery. 
Together, through relatable stories and questions, we'll tackle overthinking, deepen our understanding of emotions, cultivate confidence, and support our self-development

bottom of page