There’s so much power in the words we use – including when we talk to ourselves. And talking to ourselves out loud can be an effective way to boost our confidence and creativity. In a recent New York Times article, writer Paul McAdory calls it “external self-talk,” and explains that it can help us stay resilient in moments of self-doubt. “I have found that vocalized self-analysis… is a valuable complement to more traditional conversational outlets, especially when it comes to creative thinking.” 

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the phrases and mantras they tell themselves when they need a confidence boost. Which of these resonates with you?

 “I am always evolving.”

“A mantra that gives me confidence in moments of doubt is ‘I am always evolving.’ It reminds me that life is a whole big learning experience and that I don’t need to be perfect.”

—Bianca Riemer, leadership coach, London, UK

“You are talented, worth it, and deserving of good things.”

“As a freelancer and business owner, I often struggle with the motivation to keep up when things are not going as expected. From therapy, I learned to focus on my self-worth and value, so I repeat this to myself: ‘You are talented, worth it, and deserving of good things.’ I literally have that quote as my wallpaper! When I meditate on these words, I realize that I’m just self-criticizing and downsizing my worth, so these words help me see the reality and get out of my head a bit faster.”

—Geraldine Orentas, copywriter and SEO strategist, Coral Springs, FL

“Slow down to speed up.”

“I, like so many of my high-achieving clients, can default to rushing through life moments.  To ground myself, I alternate between, ‘Slow down to speed up’ and ‘Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.’ It reminds me that I’m slowing down to live a more rich and purposeful life, not to lie on the couch!”

—Carolyn Mahboubi, leadership coach and advisor, CA

“I can do this.”

“I tell myself ‘I can do this’ whenever something seems daunting or challenging. I know in my mind that I really can do it. I can do anything I put my mind to do, but sometimes despite knowing it is possible, it is the worry about not succeeding or doing a poor job that keeps me from starting.  Once started, I find it easier to finish something, but when I am worrying, I start procrastinating.”

—Sharon L. Boyes-Schiller

“Believe it ’til you receive it.”

“I hear the phrase ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ and cringe. It misleads us by indicating we must be something we’re not to be successful. Confidence comes from an internal belief in our abilities. That work can never be ‘faked.’ We must show up authentically to receive it. That’s why I love this mantra.”

—Stacy Cassio, CEO, Charlotte, NC

“I feel, I know, I trust.”

“My go-to mantra is, ‘I feel, I know, I trust.’ On days when I’m having a wobble, reciting my mantra reminds me to tune back into my intuition and listen to myself. To feel the earth beneath my feet and trust what I know and feel to be true. It always centers me and helps me get back into flow. I have my mantra hanging above my desk as a permanent reminder to myself. It always helps me find new insights around my situation and move forward.”

—Camilla Fellas Arnold, publisher and writing coach, Norwich, UK

“This, too.”

“When I need to center myself in the midst of whatever stir is going on, I take a deep breath and say, out loud: ‘This, too.’ It’s a simple reminder that whatever is here belongs as much as anything else, and it’s all okay.”

 —Adriane David, coach, speaker, facilitator, Calgary, Canada

“I am passionate, intensely, loving and whole.”

“When I need a confidence boost, I always resort back to a personal strengths mantra. My favorite is, ‘I am Sam, passionate, intensely, loving and whole.’ It’s a simple formula so that anyone can create their own. The most important thing is that it starts with ‘I am – your name,’ then it’s followed by 3-5 strengths that define who you feel you are at your truest.  I’ve used mine for almost a decade and it never fails to align and focus me.”

—Sam Curtis, life coach, London, UK

“May I greet my life with joy.”

“I do loving-kindness meditation regularly. One of the phrases I created for myself is: ‘May I greet my life with joy.’ I like this better than an affirmation because it’s not based on conditions. Instead, it’s a commitment to respond to whatever life brings me with a sense of joy and kindness. It helps me feel more confident because it reminds me that fear is just a part of life and that I can smile at it and still move forward.”

—Claire E. Parsons, litigation attorney, Cincinnati, OH

“Everyone started off a beginner.” 

“This phrase has the power to present me to who I am and remember to focus on my goals and self and not someone else’s. It provides me the space and reassurance to not rush my process and enjoy the journey.”

—Joshua Miller, executive coach, Austin, TX

“Clear on the outcome, flexible on the approach.”

“Anyone who has worked with me knows that one of my favorite sayings is ‘Clear on the outcome, flexible on the approach.’ This mantra, which I’ve had in my back pocket for years, is a powerful reminder of the value of flexibility and agility. After all, sometimes it doesn’t matter how you achieve an outcome as long as you do!”

—Dr. Camille Preston, founder and CEO of AIM Leadership, Cambridge, MA

“If something makes me anxious, I am going to do it anyway.” 

“My new mantra helped me move through fear and book a trip. I am so glad I did it because I had a blast. I met new people. I had dinner alone and loved it. I went on tours and walked around the city. I did not get lost, but I did almost miss my connection on the way back to Boston. I reframed that experience by saying, ‘If I miss my connection, I can spend a night in Ireland, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing.’”

—Angela Ficken, psychotherapist, Boston, MA

“Whatever happens, this is going to make a great story one day.” 

“This phrase inspired me to make sure it’s a story that I will be proud to tell my daughter, one where I do not become the punchline, and one where I did my absolute best. It also reminds me not to take myself, or the situation, too seriously.” 

—Amy Feind Reeves, author, Boston, MA

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

“The quote that helps me feel more confident is from Roman philosopher, Seneca: ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ It was shared with us at school during exam season from our head teacher.  As I’ve set up my own business, it has come back to me and afforded me permission to take credit for my ‘good luck’ which has been a much needed source of confidence. Imposter syndrome often allows us to dismiss our luck, and this helps give me the confidence boost I need.”

—Jessica Brewer, founder of Emiz HR & Coaching, London, UK

“You can’t plant the seed and eat the fruit on the same day.”

“This is a mantra I live by to help me level set my expectations when establishing a vision and setting goals. The mantra stems from a quote from award-winning author, speaker, and coach Fabienne Fredrickson, and it reminds me that if we are not careful, we can get so focused on the destination that we are overlooking the growth and lessons learned from the journey. Seeds need to be nurtured, watered, and receive adequate sunshine for optimal growth to bear fruit. By living out this mantra, I can take it easy on myself and give myself more self-compassion by taking steps one day at a time to work toward my goal.”

—Karla J. Noland, self-discovery coach, Durham, NC

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Author(s)

  • Rebecca Muller

    Senior Editor and Community Manager

    Thrive

    Rebecca Muller Feintuch is the Senior Editor and Community Manager at Thrive. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is passionate about storytelling, creating meaningful connections, and prioritizing mental health and self-care. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.