How to Uncover Your Confidence Matrix


  • Author Carmen Gilfillan
  • Published May 9, 2024
  • Word count 1,281

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, confidence is defined as “firm trust; a feeling of reliance or certainty; a sense of self reliance; boldness”. From this, we can deduce that confidence is about certainty, reliance (on self and others) and taking bold action. But is this all there is to confidence? What's the secret to identifying what zaps our confidence, and how can we raise our confidence levels?

As well as the above, confidence can also be seen as making the decision that an outcome will be either positive or, at worse, a learning experience. This is the conclusion I have come to from my almost 20 years of helping my clients develop their confidence through coaching and healing. My conclusion is also based on my own experience of needing to rise up again and again in my own life when my instinct was to withdraw into my shell!

This kind of mindset – seeing confidence in terms of learning experiences - is a different, new and fresh way of looking at confidence. It opens you up to new opportunities and allows you to take the risk of trying something you’ve never done before without worrying about the possibility of "failure". This is where the self-reliance comes in. It’s a reliance on your own inner resources based on your past life experience. High performance coach Brendon Burchard describes it as having the confidence to know that you’ll work it out.

Trying new experiences, and either succeeding or learning, though there may be mental, physical and/or emotional discomfort along the way, builds your competency levels. Higher and higher competency levels leads to higher and higher confidence levels, which in turn, help drive your competency levels.

Your Matrix

That being said, confidence is going to be different for each one of us. We each have our own personal mix of ‘elements’ (matrix) that, combined, give us our own version of 'confidence'. Competency may be one of your personal elements you need in place in order for you to feel confident. In social settings, you may need to know the people around you really well before you can feel comfortable and confident. If you’re learning a new skill, you may have to see a demonstration, and have that demo repeated a number of times before you feel confident to try that skill yourself. These and others may be the individual elements that make up your personal confidence matrix. What follows are the conclusions I, as an emotional health therapist and personal development coach, have come to in terms of elevating your confidence level incrementally.

In order to uncover your confidence matrix, firstly take stock of where you are generally in terms of your confidence level. Then identify the elements that make up your personal matrix. Finally take the steps to move yourself up the confidence ladder by organising your life to include as many of these elements as possible. The activities that follow may help you to begin taking those crucial steps to raise your confidence levels, as they did for me.

Scoring Your Confidence

The first stage in uncovering your confidence matrix is scoring your level of confidence as it stands. Take just a few minutes to score your general, day-to-day level of confidence out of 10 (10 being high) when faced with trying situations. To do this, think of three or four different situations that test, challenge or disempower you. These situations may include, for example, the so-called number one fear of speaking in public. They may include fear of, say, heights, flying or certain insects. They may include the uncertainty around a new job role, mixing with a new set of associates or making new friends. Once you’ve thought of 3-4 situations, score each one out of 10 in terms of how confident you feel. Then calculate your average score out of 10 across all 3-4 situations.

For example, your level of confidence around a new job role may be four; mixing with new associates may be three; making new friends may be five. Your average across these three situations will be 4+3+5 = 12. 12 divided by 3 (the number of situations) = 4. Your average confidence level in certain testing situations is therefore four.

Establishing the Matrix Elements

Stage two in uncovering your confidence matrix is getting clear on the elements that constitute your specific brand of confidence. If your average score from stage one above was below five, take your most challenging situation and list the 3-5 key elements you see as keeping your confidence level in this range in terms of that particular situation.

For example, if your most challenging situation is mixing with new associates, the main elements that affect your confidence may be: not feeling good enough; discomfort around voicing your opinion with authority; feeling unable to be your authentic self; difficulty in terms of having honest, meaningful conversations.

If you scored between five and seven, take your most challenging situation and list the 3-5 key elements you see as keeping your confidence level in the mid range in that situation. For a score of eight or above, take your most challenging situation and list the 3-5 key elements that you see as keeping your confidence level below 10 in that situation.

Taking the Steps

The final stage in uncovering your confidence matrix is ascertaining the steps to take to increase your overall level of confidence. To do this, consider your average score and the 3-5 key elements keeping your confidence level where it is with regards your number one challenging situation.

For an average score of below five, think about what steps you can take to neutralise those key elements and move yourself into the 5-7 confidence bracket.

For example, in terms of mixing with new associates you might want to ascertain the root cause of not feeling good about yourself, and look for times in the past when you did feel good enough; you might decide to join a speakers' club and practise speaking with authority in front of a mirror, voicing your opinion and listening to the tone of your voice as well as watching your facial features and body language; you may choose to practise, on a daily basis, the technique of Positive Self-Talk (speaking to yourself in a strong, positive, empowering way) to encourage yourself to be true to who you are at all times and to accept the consequences of this; and you may decide to begin, from today, to deepen your conversations with others, starting with those closest to you whom you trust.

If your score was in the 5-7 range, consider what steps you can take to move yourself into the 8-10 bracket. If your average score was above eight, consider what steps you can take to reinforce your confidence levels so as to move them closer to a 10.

Repeat these three steps (scoring your confidence, establishing the key elements and taking the steps) on a regular basis to deepen your relationship with your own confidence matrix. Each time you repeat these steps you may find the outcomes are different. This is fine, as you’re developing and always being challenged in new and varied ways. Your continued awareness of the elements that lower your confidence levels along with the consistency of taking the steps you identify, will help you to move your level of confidence from the lower end of the scale, into the mid range and eventually into the higher levels. Once you're comfortable with this approach and are experiencing more elevated feelings of confidence in yourself, consider what you can do to help others find their confidence matrix in order to move themselves up the confidence ladder and towards their ideal life.

Carmen is an author, speaker, healer, achievement coach, and wellness specialist. She runs a wellness and self-development practice, Stimulus, which is based in the UK. Carmen has written the 7-step self-care and success book, The Inner Rising, to help readers do the inner work to rise to the next level and design their ideal life. You can order the book at: Contact Carmen at:

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