How To Build Confidence Using NLP

Do you tremble during work presentations or cancel on dates because you don’t feel confident enough?  What if you had a set of tools in your back pocket that could help you build your confidence ahead of such situations? How much value would those tools add to your life? Well, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and Time Line Therapy have the potential to do just that.

What Is confidence?

Confidence is the belief that no matter what, you can handle a situation. If you really think about it, confidence is the ultimate antidote to anxiety. This, therefore, makes it a prerequisite for every adult.

What Causes a Lack of Confidence?

To start learning how to build confidence, it is important to understand what breeds low confidence. Below are common factors that can cause a lack of confidence:


  • Fear: It could be fear of criticism, rejection, failure, embarrassment, or making a mistake
  • Limiting beliefs: These are beliefs that make you doubt yourself when presented with specific situations. An example of a limiting belief is ‘I am not good at public speaking.’
  • Negative life experiences such as trauma, bullying, or poor parenting that left a negative impact on your outlook on life

As you can tell, lack of confidence stems from negative thought patterns. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques and Time Line Therapy can help you rewire such negative thought patterns and help you build your confidence.

How to Build Confidence Using NLP

Neuro-linguistic programming is a behavioural model predicated on the presupposition that human beings interpret the world based on a primary representational system (PRS). The PRS develops over time based on the data acquired through our senses.

If your PRS is built upon negative pieces of information, you are more likely than not to have a negative outlook on life and consequently on yourself, thus breeding low confidence. NLP techniques aim at reforming that negative representational state, also referred to as a ‘map’

These techniques work because confidence is a mental state, and as such, we can ‘trick’ our brains into assuming a state of confidence. Below are three NLP techniques that you can leverage to build confidence:


Visualization involves forming mental images of yourself being successful in your goal. For example, if you are heading into an important sales pitch, take a moment ahead of the meeting and visualize yourself having closed the sale. 


While doing this, you should go into such intricate detail with the visualization so that you start to engage all your senses. Think about your facial expression, your gait, the energy in the room, what you are wearing, your perfume, how people interact with you after the meeting – everything.

Modelling Confidence

Modelling involves identifying non-verbal cues associated with confidence and enacting them. You can choose to model someone else or yourself.

When modelling someone else, note their verbal and non-verbal communication and incorporate them into your interactions. If you have multiple people to model, the better! Take the bits you like and model them.

To model yourself, remember a time when you felt confident, note your submodalities, and then incorporate them in your present. 

Anchoring Confidence

Anchoring is an NLP technique based on Pavlovian conditioning. It works by training your mind to associate a state of confidence through external or internal triggers so that you can re-access that state on demand.

This can be done through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic cues. To do this, you will need to learn to associate your state of confidence to specific cues such as touching your knuckles, assuming a certain pitch, or visualizing a specific image. 

How to Build Confidence Using Time Line Therapy

We are not always aware of our limiting beliefs and how they affect us until we intentionally seek them out. Time Line Therapy is one of the most efficient ways to overcome these limiting beliefs. This therapeutical process aims at altering an individual’s behaviour for the better by bringing change on an unconscious level. 

Time Line Therapy techniques such as writing about the past can help you identify and disassociate negative past life experiences from your present and future. By so doing, you start to see yourself in a new light as well as challenge any limiting beliefs that might surface along the way.

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