Give Confidence a Kick in the Head

New approaches to finding the confidence you need to succeed

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Reading Time: 7 Min 


One of the things that has always tripped me up in life's many pursuits is my fear of both success and/or failure. That gripping fear that stops any momentum (or dreams) in their tracks. Or the fear that success will turn my life inside out.

A.k.a. "Analysis-Paralysis".

But I never started with the 'Why? (I'll get to that in a minute.)

Instead, I only asked myself "Am I good enough?" "What if they think I'm a fraud?" "Who am I to believe I know things?" "I'll never be able to succeed so why bother..."

Sound familiar?

These questions are something we all face at one time or another. As a human race, I believe we are all born with the power of confidence.

But it gets beat out of us as we grow older. Society tells us no, no, no. Soon, we begin to believe it ourselves and our dreams die with it. We succumb to mediocrity. When obstacles get thrown in our way, we cower like children.

Our dreams stay stuck in the tight little corners of our mind behind lock and key.

Secretly, and sadly, some watch life go by living in regret; wishing, hoping, dreaming of something different.

Let people see how amazing you are. Stop hiding behind fear and find you have the courage to succeed.

Let people see how amazing you are. Stop hiding behind fear and find you have the courage to succeed.


I'm here to tell you from my own experiences. As debilitating as fear and lack of confidence can be - it can be overcome. Absolutely.

I am a testament to that.


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Life Can Be Taxing At Times

Our schedules are overbooked, our minds are overwhelmed with noise and our attention spans are growing shorter (not to mention our tempers). There's too many choices, and most of the time, those choices are less than optimal.

When we want to apply ourselves to make our lives better we must push through the daily grind. And sometimes that just sucks. It's just too hard. Life itself can be overwhelming.

But to push through, we must build up our confidence and find the courage to push outside our comfort zones to learn new skills, engage with new experiences and apply them to new ways of seeing.

Pushing through means we must take time for planning and thoughtful insight away from all the noise.

We must then act on those ideas with positive motivation if we are to find our purest, most creative and productive selves.

We must invest in our own growth and prosperity.

This is the only path to real change.

To build confidence, you have to find the courage to answer your 'why'.

To build confidence, you have to find the courage to answer your 'why'.


Eight years ago (2009) I stepped off the plane at London's Heathrow airport about to embark upon a journey that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I knew at that time in my life I was through with the Hollywood bubble and wanted to expand my horizons to do something in an international setting. I wanted a new experience and to gain new skills that would broaden my opportunities as a filmmaker and beyond.

From Heathrow, I took an hour-long tube (underground) into the center of London's Victoria Station. Carrying the only belongings I brought with me, I clung to them with life, as everything around me dazzled and sparkled.

I was terrified, but exhilarated to have made it this far.

Another hour-long train south out of the city and into the seaside town of Brighton - where my new life was waiting to begin as a Doctoral student. 

I only had the address of a host who I would be staying with briefly, while I secured other housing options.

Lets just say it wasn't a great experience.

As the days and weeks went on - despite being in awe of living in England, I was broke, had zero friends and was living day to day on the meager wages my student loans had 'gifted' me. 

As a doctoral student, it was a lonely experience. Living in a tiny studio flat with a broken boiler in the dead of winter, no internet, no tv and no washing machine - I was sleeping on the floor and washing my clothes in the bathtub.

Not very glamorous beginnings.

This was not the experience I had signed up for and I considered quitting.

My confidence was shot. My fear factor ranked a 10 and this time, I was a long, long way from home.

What the heck had I gotten myself into?

Staring out at the sea, this picture captures exactly how alone, scared and doubtful I was about my journey ahead in those early days.

Staring out at the sea, this picture captures exactly how alone, scared and doubtful I was about my journey ahead in those early days.


Eight years on, I can say emphatically that it was one of the absolute best decisions I ever made.

Despite the numerous challenges and immense obstacles on every single front (health, mental, spiritual, economic, academic, social, cultural), the experience taught me many things. 

But the one thing that ranks the highest - Learned Confidence (a.k.a. Resilience).

Through it all, I gained an enormous amount of skills. It catapulted my career and opened numerous doors that never would have before.

And before you start thinking that it was because I can now put 'PhD' behind my name (you call me Dr Jodi). LOL.

Think again.

That PhD 'experience' a was full-on 360 degree life experience. But it gave me the requisite skills to have the confidence to pursue every single angle of my life - in both my professional and personal life.

I felt I could do anything!

Because of that PhD, I now travel the world. I teach. I write. I make films.

I meet and help so many other people.

I do the things I love to do because I have carved out purpose.

I also got married to an amazing man.

Life is full and I'm truly blessed. 

Because of that PhD, life took a 360. I now know why I chose that journey.

My commitment to finishing was because I asked a simple question.

Finally, I started with the 'Why?'


I show this video to my students around the world as a beginning point in all of our conversations.

No matter how smart, wealthy, important, skilled, networked, professional or successful you want to be, if you don't start with the simple question 'Why?', then I believe you will be spinning your wheels for a long time.

You will be missing your purpose.

Your reason to carry you through all the dark and scary times. To find your resilience to bounce back. To face the odds - you need to ask yourself this question.

Soul searching starts with this.

Starting with the 'Why?' enables you to envision success. Prepares you for obstacles. Empowers you to be resilient. It forces you to dig deep and stick to your sticking point when the going gets tough. 

How To Find Confidence

Without confidence to improve our lives, we literally fade into the mediocrity of it all.

Yes, it's scary to embark on new things.

But then the alternative is stasis. Zero growth. Stuck in one place. No forward momentum.

The key question then is; how can you continue to live your daily life (with grace and accountability), while trying to make it better? Easier? More secure?

How can you get smarter? Faster?  Find more abundance? More creativity? More joy?

Where do you even begin to fit in the time to shape shift and start building the life you dream of?

Start at the beginning.

Before any new motivation for learning can happen or any new habits can form (it typically takes 21 days), you must get a clear grip on your current life situation.

First, start with the 'Why?'

  • Why must things change?
  • Why do you want to do, pursue, or try something new?
  • What is the problem with the current situation where you are now?

Be curious. Ask the hard questions. This stuff is important.

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
— E.E. Cummings

Your 4 legs

After asking that pivotal question, before making any changes, it's important make sure you have a strong foundation in every key area of your life.

Think of your ‘balance’ as a four-legged stool.

Each leg represents the four key areas of your life - the personal, professional, spiritual and physical.

If one leg is weaker, than the entire chair will collapse.

If you can start with a strong, balanced foundation, then you can lift off with the very best of yourself, thereby ensuring a greater chance of success.


In Amy Cuddy's video, she suggests that our mindsets can change how our bodies will react.

Mind over matter, so to speak. 

When we focus our mind to believe we are confident, our bodies will physicalize that reality. If we seem confident on the outside, then we attract more opportunities.

But she also suggests, that our bodies can also change how our mind perceives ourselves too. Our thoughts, our feelings, our physiological things that make up our mindsets directs how we physicalize that emotion.

Powerful people tend to be more assertive, more confident and optimistic. You can see them when they walk in the room.

But, most importantly, her statement that powerful people also tend to think more abstractly, really hit home.

That means thinking outside the box. And that type of thinking has served me extremely well, because I can look outside the conformist manner of the way things are done.

As an American, we say 'Yes' first, then figure out how to do it later. My foreign students, usually ask permission first. This isn't a judgement, just an observation of this distinction.

Cultural and social development have a huge bearing on our levels of 'perceived' confidence.

But, I don't believe for one moment that these differences make some people more apt to having more confidence than others.

The only obstacles to success are the ones we put in front of us.




Confidence & The Art of Balancing in Four Easy Steps:

  1. Get Focused on What You Really Want (this is your ‘Why’)
  2. Intention (small steps turn into habits)
  3. The Power of Learning to Say ‘No’ (the mark of true power)
  4. Take Time for Yourself (self-care is the pinnacle of your success)


1. Get focused on what you really, really want (this is your 'Why')

Have you ever really asked yourself ‘Why?'

I mean really stopped and asked yourself, ‘Why did or didn't I say that?’ or ‘Why did or didn't I do that?’  or 'Why do I want this or that?' or 'Why did I choose this or that?'

Most people mindlessly go through life accepting what they have (and don't have) without question.

Yet children constantly ask this questions over and over. The information given and received creates their belief systems that they grow to adapt to or challenge. 

Why then as adults do we stop asking this all important question?

What happened to our curiosity? To wonder?

I believe times are so difficult and complicated today - people are so inundated with too many choices every single day. Sometimes it’s just much easier to say 'okay I'll take [that]'.

It doesn't matter if it’s good or bad for you. We live in oversaturation and sometimes making no choice is better than being saddled with the perceived ‘wrong’ choice.

Again, 'Analysis-Paralysis'. She's an evil bitch.

A mentor once told me that there is no right or wrong choices in life. There's just a choice that makes the most sense to me personally in that moment. 

But until you ask yourself the question as to what it is you really, really want in life, then you are saying ‘yes’ (or no) to anything and everything that can sway your attention or potentially be an opportunity.

This, I believe, is why it is so difficult to make a choice in the first place.

With no focus, comes over-stimulation, mistakes, missed chances and wrong turns. Then eventually, just giving into the status quo. Now you're staring out that proverbial mediocre window again.

How many times do we look back over lives and say ‘I wish I would have/could have/should have?’

By taking stock in our lives and digging deep, we can start to manifest a life full of meaning. A purpose-filled life that is lead with balance, self-care and freedom.

Freedom from fear and mediocrity, because we have simply chosen the best path for ourselves. Through curiosity, research, investigation and trust.

Through these personal choices, comes experience. From experience comes confidence. 

By choosing confidence, you are accepting responsibility for your life. And when you accept responsibility, you will be rewarded with abundance.

To find balance, focus on what you really want. And then tell yourself you deserve it.

Because you really, really do.

So, make sure you get focused on what you really want. The rest is just superfluous noise.


2. Intention

Everyday, I get into the habit of asking myself, ‘What’s my intention?’

Because everyday, like you, I have to get out of bed, brush my teeth and face the world with my best foot forward.

For me, striving for excellence in everything I do is my obligation and my responsibility.

So what does my intention look like? Break it down into actionable things. For example: What do I want to do with my time? How should I conduct myself? What things do I want to do today, that build towards the legacy I want to leave?

Why should I care?

Because, if I didn't ask what my intention was, I would never climb out from underneath the warm, comfy, safety of my duvet. The world of business and art is just too scary, too judgemental and downright mean sometimes.

Staying hidden, protects my heart and mind. But it also closes off my gifts and my obligation to share my talents with others. My community. My family. My friends. 

As I tell my students time and again;

Life is not a dress rehearsal.
You don't get do overs,
so make it count. 


Finding the confidence to just face the day ahead can be overwhelming. That's why starting with a balanced approach is the best way forward.

Because anything and everything that can try to throw us off course, is ready and willing just outside our nice, comfy bed.

You must be armed with purpose (your 'Why') and the courage to follow through with that intention each and every day.

Maybe it’s for your children, or for your career, or for your own personal dream of fame and fortune.

Whatever your intention, you must name it, claim it and act on it.

Otherwise, it just stays a dream. A fantasy playing out in your head.

A fantasy which will be unattainable and contribute to your growing frustration and disillusion. You can't sustain a successful life on a mere fantasy that has no action or purpose behind it. 

Not even passion is enough to drive you. (Read: Purpose Before Passion)

Make intention part of your daily habits.


3. The Power of Learning to Say ‘No’

Over-committing yourself is a recipe for disaster.

We are all, to a certain extent, people-pleasers. It started from wanting to please our parents as children.

Not that there’s anything wrong with pleasing others, but when it begins to take over your life, there’s a problem and you will be unbalanced.

When I was living in Hollywood, I just graduated from California Institute of the Arts with my MFA in Acting and I was ready to set the world on fire.

I was willing to take any job that was thrown my way. 

I was also giving away my power every single day.

I was 33 and feeling the pinch of 'ageism' in Hollywood that is still prevalent today. And I felt that if I wasn't working, then I had no value.

My identity was completely wrapped up in what others perceived of me.

And it led to severe depression, burn-out, a minor nervous breakdown and eventually economic ruin and homelessness.


How can you feel powerful by saying NO?

Building confidence in yourself. Confidence breeds compassion. When you're lacking both, you find you'll say yes to anything and everything. 

When I decided that I no longer wanted to live the struggling, tragic, artist life; I simply stopped. 

When I decided that I was going to take my life and my career into my own hands and stop waiting on someone else to give me an opportunity; I started.

Time is ticking.

As you get older, you start to realize how precious time is. You want to value your time and make sure you are getting the most out of it.

Whether that’s more time spent with your children or partner, more time to start a new passionate project, or a business that matters and break away from the 9-to-5 rat race, or simply take out more time to nurture yourself.

But you cannot achieve any of these things if you are constantly doing things according to other people's expectations.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying don't volunteer for a cause or help your neighbour with their garden occasionally.

Sometimes you'll have to work late on that last minute team project. Some days life will simply throw too many obligations at you.

limit the amount of activities you commit to by sticking to what you have focused on as goals.


By making these a tangible list of goals – and sticking them on the fridge or the mirror so you see them everyday can guarantee you will find it quite easy to say ‘No’.

You have simply have now prioritized your life instead of giving it over to others.

To find balance, give back your power and learn to say ‘No’ and confidence will prevail.

To build a strong foundation, start with the end in mind. Where do you want to be in six months, 1 year, 5 years? What will it take for you to get there? Confidence is key. (   Read: Give Confidence a Kick in the Head)

To build a strong foundation, start with the end in mind. Where do you want to be in six months, 1 year, 5 years? What will it take for you to get there? Confidence is key. (Read: Give Confidence a Kick in the Head)


4. Take time For Yourself

We are constantly in the service of others.

Our parents, our children, our friends, our lovers, our co-workers, our communities. Where do we fit ourselves in?

Afterall, there's only 24 hours in a day.

Society tells us that to be in service of others is our responsibility in paying-it-forward. To make a better future for our children’s children. Yes, I hear you. This is important.

But if we cannot be the best of ourselves first, then what do we have left to give to others? This is not a selfish sacrifice.

To be in service of others means to be a whole person ourselves. To be fulfilled, happy, rested and balanced means we must achieve a state of willingness to be a little selfish.

To find time in our busy lives to self-improve. To invest in our education, our health and happiness. Sometimes finding time to just ‘be’. 

How do we do this?

Take a bath, read a book, drive to the seaside, put on your ear-buds and sing along to your favourite song, take a new online course (mine!), travel abroad, go window-shopping, write a book or a screenplay; the list is endless.

Whatever makes ‘you’ happy and gives you time to step away from your busy life - even if it’s for only for 30 minutes a day.

If you cannot give yourself this time, you eventually will become burned out, bitter and resentful of others who will most certainly take advantage of your precious time.

Too busy for 30 minutes a day? Then you need to take stock of your current life and go back and read my points #1 and #3.

Answer the 'Why'.

Find your intent and practice it every day. 

Prioritize your personal power and learn to say 'No'.

Then take some much-needed time to nurture yourself. 

Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it.


actions you can take to Build Confident and find Your balance


1. Stay away from negativity and vampires - anything that sucks the life out of you should be avoided at all costs. Build a collective group of people around you who will always be honest with you and make you accountable. (Read: Cultivating Your Own Tribe)

This goes for food, places, jobs, obligations, addictions and even toxic people.

2. Choose your body language - 'fake it until you make it' I always say.

While you are working on your inside, give everyone on the outside a perceived confident and happy you. Sit up straight, eyes alert, smile and make conversation.  Build your confidence by taking risks. 

Take a yoga or pilates class, as this will help tremendously with your physicality.

You never know who you'll meet along the way who can help you to your next steps.

3. Never accept failure and get rid of the voices in your head - negative self-talk is the absolute killer of all things confidence.

I had a personal trainer once tell me that "failure is only when you do something twice, otherwise, the first time, it's experience". I've adhered to this advice ever since. It's allowed me to be bold and try new things, without fear of failure.

So get out there and try something new. You can't fail, you're only experimenting!

4. Be prepared - having a balanced and informed approach will allow you to soar with confidence and lead to success in all areas of your life.

Engage in your curiosity, read, research, ask questions. Be inquisitive and you will find more times than not, people are very happy to help you out.

5. Keep a list - of all the amazing things you are and have done. When times are tough and nothing seems to be going right, this list will come as a comfort to you.

Write it down. Post it on your fridge.

Or better yet, keep a journal. This has always helped me reflect on my state of mind as well as help me alleviate any stress building up.

Writing helps get things out of your head and onto paper where you can read and evaluate your state of being.

These are jumping off points and reasons to keep achieving higher.


I believe in you

You have within you the power to unleash your best, most creative self.

You deserve the right to embrace all that life has to offer.

I support your efforts to reach to the highest mountains.

Let's get there together.

Ready to Be In Demand of Your Life?


Your Profitable Social Media Roadmap will walk you through the first, but crucial steps towards making the BEST decision of your life to creating your own profitable creative online business.

I can get you there in 90 Days!

Jodi Nelson-Tabor


Creative consultant and key media strategist with global experience as academic researcher, lecturer and professional trainer/facilitator, in the areas of creative and professional development, digital innovation, creative enterprise and its impact on the creative economy.

A professional Creative Practitioner with over 20+ years of experience in film, tv and theatre from LA to NY, Brazil and London.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, I hold a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the prestigious California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of the Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma.  My PhD is in Film and Media Studies from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

Actively involved in the education and arts communities, I also spend a significant amount of time mentoring fellow artists by giving time and expertise to organizations that support arts for social change.