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Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan Coaching, Training and Consulting

[email protected] Tel.0868373582



9 Traits of a Confident Person

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on April 21, 2017 at 7:05 AM Comments comments ()

9 Traits of a Confident Person

Confidence is often associated with speaking up, being more extrovert than introvert and not being afraid to try new things. These behaviours can be associated with confidence but they can also just be surface behaviours and the person can still experience immense self-doubt, worry what others think and constantly need approval from others. I know this because that’s how I used to be. True confidence has no specific outward behaviour. It can be quiet, unassuming, and have preference for solitary pursuits however, it always sure of itself and a confident person is not afraid to be themselves. Bearing this in mind I have come up the top nine traits I associate with truly confident people.

They trust themselves.

Trust in oneself is essential when it comes to confidence. One of the reasons we often look for others’ approval, or are filled with self-doubt, is because we struggle to trust are own judgement. Unfortunately, this is not a quality taught in school or even at home. We get corrected and praised to meet the standards set by our teachers, parents, the education system and society. It takes practice to trust our own judgement and to be able to accept that we can fix things or will be ok, no matter what life throws at us. When making decisions, it is essential to check in with how we feel first. Learning to trust our gut and our own judgement without needing the approval or support of others helps us to feel more confident. Start with small decisions like what you want to eat or places you want to go and work from there.

They value themselves.

Knowing our self-worth and truly valuing the contribution we make to our lives, and the lives of others, can often be a challenge for most of us. We set impossible standards and constantly compare ourselves with others or have this bizarre idea that we need to be perfect to be accepted, and yet we readily accept our loved ones knowing that they make mistakes. Experiencing our own sense of value allows us to feel confident in our ability to achieve, and to feel that what we can offer is worthwhile. Start by looking at the things you do well, look to see how you improve the lives of those around you and compliment yourself when you do something well.

They see failure as a learning curve.

Truly confident people are never afraid to fail at something, they see it as a potential learning curve and know that it is feedback for what they need to learn or to achieve, in order to get the outcome they want in the future. They also focus less on outcome and more on process, knowing that they are gaining new experiences and skills all the time, even if they have to re-think the final result. Start by looking at what you learned from past situations you once thought were mistakes or failures. Can you look at any new situation with an eye on what you might learn, or gain, and let go of the end-result?

They set their own standards.

When we feel confident we start to turn inwards to measure our experiences and no longer need others to tell us how we are doing. We look to how experiences will make us feel and what benefit it will bring to our lives, and the lives of others, rather than needing to rewarded or praised. Setting one’s own standards means you can focus on what is important to you without having to achieve a specific result and this in turn allows you to let go of your fear of failure. When it is your standard then you no longer rely on others for approval or compare yourself with what anyone else is doing. Before doing something ask yourself how you would like to feel and what you will be satisfied with, bearing in mind that failure is only a result you weren’t expecting.

They focus on others.

As we begin to look towards ourselves for our own standards and let go of our fear of failure, we then can have more time and room in our life to focus on others. We no longer hang on to specific outcomes, need to be right or want to display our worth by appearing superior or better than others. We can look to the needs of those around us and allow them to flourish in our company. We can defer to others for advice and help and encourage those we love to achieve their best. Start by asking what someone might need from you when dealing with another, is it listening, advice or just to be present? Can you let go of your own needs because you are already having them met by how you treat yourself?

They ask for help.

As we start to drop all the ideas we have about who we should be and how we should behave and allow ourselves to relax into our sense of self we can trust in our ability to ask for help. We no longer feel like a failure if we cannot do something and we understand that allowing others to help us not only assists us in getting better, but gives the other person a chance to feel good because they helped us out. Asking for help can make us better at the things that are important to us. Start by asking for help with things you know you can do but are aware someone else is happy to help you with, and may even feel great for the fact that they got to help you.

They look for the Win, Win.

The win, win gives everyone a chance to benefit. When we look for the win, win we are not only focusing on others but we are looking for the best result for you and for them. This allows us to compromise and in so doing gives everyone something. When we are truly confident we are not solely focused on meeting our own needs. We can only do this when we are no longer attached to specific outcome or desperate to prove something to others. Start by asking yourself how you can have your needs met whilst also giving others what they need. With what result would you be happy? Can you give yourself what you need by changing the way you think or what you expect in certain situations?

They live in the moment.

It is very difficult to live in the moment when you are stuck in your head worry about what other’s think, afraid to make mistakes, or trying to live up to the imagined expectations of others. When we no longer feel that we need the approval of others and can truly be ourselves then we are free to focus on what is happening around us. Letting go of our need to control the outcome of an event and focusing on the process gives us the opportunity to savour each moment free from that nagging voice in our head that tells us to be afraid that things might go wrong. Start by noticing where your thoughts are when you are doing a specific task. Are you thinking about something else completely or are you passing comment on what’s happening? Can you just focus on what is happening right now and let go of your thoughts?

They have a positive outlook.

The last trait of a truly self-confident person is having a positive outlook. When we live in a state of trust, drop our fear of failure, live in the moment always looking for the win, win then it is next to impossible to feel negative about life. Knowing that you can figure things out and trusting your ability to do it helps you to find the good in everything. Realising that everything is a lesson and a chance to learn and that you can be happy with whatever comes your way is incredibly liberating and so positivity is a natural by-product. This does not mean you will always be happy or that you won’t experience negative emotions, what it means is that you can look for the good in every experience and let go of fearing that things will ultimately go wrong. Start by finding the positive in situations you normally feel negatively about. Can you see that being delayed in traffic gives you time to slow down or be with yourself? Can you see a mistake as a reminder to be more mindful or in the present moment?

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that all these traits are intrinsically linked. It is impossible to have one without the other. For me the real key to confidence was allowing myself to trust not only myself but others, knowing that help is always at hand and being brave enough to ask for it without feeling ashamed, like I had failed in some way. Bringing awareness to your thoughts and making a concerted effort to work on the negative self-talk can give you a level of confidence that not only allows you to work towards your goals but also to free up your energy so that you can be happy.

For information on my coaching, workshops or training check out my Facebook page or explore my website. You can also email [email protected] or phone 00353868373582. Thanks for reading, Elfreda





Desperately Seeking Confidence

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on January 20, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments ()

Desperately Seeking Confidence

Learning to act confidently is easy but learning to be confident is more challenging

I always remember the movie ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, the funny thing is I remember very little about what it was about other than Madonna was in it. I remember how in the 80s Madonna was huge and although I wasn’t a big fan I still went to a fancy dress disco dressed as a Madonna Wannabe. I looked nothing like her as my costume was just lots of bangles and necklaces. The main things I remember is lots of orange, yellow and blue. Why orange, yellow and blue? Because for some reason I had orange, yellow and blue clothes. Why? Not because those colours suited me but because they made me stand out and why did I want to stand out? So that people would notice me and I would get the recognition and approval I so desperately wanted.

It’s taken me my whole life to date to understand how I could appear to everyone else as an extrovert but actually be an introvert. It is often an assumption that introverts are shy buts shyness has nothing to do with being an extrovert, shyness is part of social anxiety and is often learned behaviour. However, introverts by nature don’t put themselves in the public eye in the same way that extroverts do so wearing brightly coloured clothes is less introvert and more extrovert, so why did I do it? I did it because I believed that was who I was, an extrovert. I was told my whole life that I was a ‘social butterfly’, that I was so confident, that I was fearless and so I lived up to that expectation being exactly what was expected of me. I regularly got sick and suffered from fatigue because I never gave myself time to recharge, as introverts should, and I didn’t sleep for years because I was over stimulated by coffee and had no idea. I behaved how I thought I should to fit in, to be accepted, to be loved.

I went on to study Drama and Confidence in my twenties and taught endless children and adults how to be confident, always doing the things that I had done, practicing so much that it became second nature. You see that’s the thing with confidence, you can learn to act confidently and become confident at any task through regular practice and rehearsal but you may never feel truly confident to be yourself. Why? Because you look outside of yourself to others to tell you who you are or how you should behave. We do it all the time. We say yes when we secretly mean no, we agree to things when we would prefer not to, we dress the way society dictates, eat the latest foods, wear the latest make up and aspire to a certain lifestyle all so that we can fit in, or do the opposite so that we can fit in with the group who choose not to. And the reason being, that as humans the formative years of our life is dependent on others so we learn to do what we think others want in order to survive and feel safe. Unfortunately, we are not then taught to rely on our own judgement and for many of us we still look to others to tell us we are ok. We post on Facebook and Instagram and other social media so that people agree with us or tell us that we are right, because that brings a hit of dopamine each time. We second guess ourselves, doubt our judgement and retell the same stories to multiple people to get their opinion to add it to our own. We learn to act confidently but rarely have the confidence to say what we really want or really mean and so we struggle with anxiety, stress, feeling overwhelmed or depressed. And the times we say what we mean is often in anger because we do feel stressed and then we feel guilty because it doesn’t feel true to who we actually are.

For me, the thing that set me free from this constant need for acceptance and approval was getting to know myself. Sitting in meditation every day and observing my thoughts, working with great coaches who helped me identify my beliefs and values and how some of my behaviour was going against my needs and making me stressed. Learning to be in the present moment has set me free, as now I get to choose who I am and not who I think others expect me to be. I sometimes forget and things slip by me by but I’ve also realised some of the bits I was conditioned to be I like I am glad I have learned, as I am glad I learned to act confidently and I am passionate about helping people to become confident rather than just act it, as I can now say that I am no longer desperately seeking confidence because now I just am, Elfreda


Three Tips For Parents to Help your Child Be More Confident

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on January 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM Comments comments ()

Three Tips for Parents to Help your Child Be More Confident

Having spent over twenty years helping adults, children and teenagers develop confidence and performance skills one key piece of information has become apparent to me. There is more than one type of confidence and for the purpose of this post I will explain two of them and explore one more fully to help you assist your child in becoming more confident and emotionally resilient.

The most common version of confidence that people recognise is the ability to achieve something through repetition and practice. We start out feeling nervous but the more we do something the better we get and the more confident we feel. I see this all the time when teaching public speaking or helping people with anxiety, shyness or social skills. We all know what it’s like when we start to drive. I remember rolling downhill after driving only for a few weeks, I got such a fright, I refused to drive up that hill again for a couple of months. In fact, I would park at the end of the hill and walk twenty minutes to my place of work rather than risk the embarrassment and fear of rolling back towards another car again. However, after driving more and more my confidence in my abilities grew and so I braved it and I haven’t avoided a hill since. This type of confidence is the one we most commonly understand. It’s how we navigate the world, feeling more and more capable the more we do something. It’s why as we get older we don’t feel nervous in most situation because they are familiar and we are used to being in them. Yet, if you ask someone to deliver a speech or participate in a new activity their confidence is shaken and they feel nervous until they have done it a few times. It’s all about habits and building strong neural pathways.

The other type of confidence in my experience is more to do with self-confidence and this, it appears to me, is less common. I believe this contributes hugely to our level of happiness as it is linked to our need to fit in, be loved, wanted and to feel safe. When we lack this type of confidence we often find it hard to say no to things, we struggle with our perception of what others think and we often need external approval to feel safe being ourselves. In my opinion this develops in our formative years, and our parents and educators can have a great influence on how we develop our own self-confidence and the resilience to be ourselves. So here are my three tips to help you assist your child in being more confident.

1. Manage Your Behaviour

We all know that children predominantly learn by observing and responding to what they see and experience rather than what they are told. I believe this is because for the first years of their life they can only get what they need through their own behaviour and through observing their caregiver’s responses. They cry and so we respond, they also watch our reactions and recalibrate their behaviour to fit with our response. Therefore, they watch us and mimic what we do. If you’re confident in your decisions and actions your child will observe this and view it as the correct way to behave. If the see you avoiding contact with certain people, unable to say no to things, being overwhelmed because you are afraid to ask for help or viewing and commenting on yourself in a negative way then your child will mirror this behaviour as they grow. It may appear as refusing to get involved in things, being shy in new situations or having a poor self-image. If we are careful about our own behaviour, then we can have a positive effect on our children.


2. Manage Your Language

As children grow they start to listen more but also to absorb all the things we say about them and to them. They very often will not respond to our requests, or demands, but they will absorb what we say about them as part of their programming. How many times have you heard someone tell you what they think of you by saying ‘but you’re…’. I have regularly heard this over the years especially when teaching pubic speaking. My students will say ‘but it’s ok for you Elfreda you’re so confident’, or ‘you know what to do’ and so on. Every time we hear one of these phrases we absorb this a part of who we are and often it can become something we feel is conditional to our acceptance. If you as parent repeatedly tell your child they are good at something, then they may very well become afraid to fail. This can then lead to a Fixed Mindset, which is so eloquently explained in the work of Professor Carol Dweck. If when your child is nervous in a new situation and you tell them they are ‘just shy’ you are programming them for shyness and also teaching them that this is ok as you accept the behaviour. Now I am not saying you force a child out of their comfort zone but you can manage their experience much more effectively, which I will explore in my next tip. If we are mindful of the kind of language we use, we allow our children to make their own mind up about who they are and what they like. It is so easy for us to want to praise and help our children that we often ignore the subtle programming that we are creating and more often than not don’t even realise that it is same programming that our parents gave us. So what can we do? On to my next tip.


3. Manage Their Experience

Unlike adults and teenagers who can have confidence issues explained to them and can be taught through their own understanding how to change them, children learn through experience. They are not aware when they are feeling confident or not, they just know some things feel good and others don’t. For a child most situations are new and so it is natural for them to be nervous or fearful. As I said earlier how we behave and what we say to them can have massive impact on their emotional state. I believe the best way to manage your child’s experience is to allow them to create their own checks and balances for how they feel. When your child appears successful rather than rushing in with your opinion and praise, ask them how they feel about their achievements. Get them to understand the difference between when they are happy with something they have done, could have done better, or are dissatisfied. Then ask them if they would like a reward based on their experience. You, as a parent can then offer your opinion if asked and choose what type of a reward you think is fitting based on how they think they did. We live in a world that is so driven by external approval, especially with the explosion in celebrity culture and social media, I believe it is vital that our children learn to develop a sense of self based on their own internal experience and not based on the approval of others. If your child measures their achievements themselves and is sure in the knowledge that you will approve of them either way then they will become happier, healthier and more mentally resilient young people and adults.

For more information on my classes, workshops and coaching check out my Facebook page or contact me directly via email or phone. Thanks for reading, Elfreda


Summer Update

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on June 20, 2016 at 6:55 AM Comments comments ()

This time of year si a wind down now for the summer holidays. There is only one class in the Elements at the moment which finishes on the 5th of July. The next workshops take place Saturday 20th and 27th of August and all other classes resume in September. I  am taking clinets for one to one over the summer so please feel free to book an appointment via email or phone. I llok forward to meeting losts of new clients and students in the autumn, Elfreda

The Motivational Series of Talks and Workshops

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on February 4, 2016 at 3:55 PM Comments comments ()

I'm very excited to anounce the launch of my new series of talk and workshops, The Motivational Series of Talks and Workshops for Transition Years and teachers. I will be hosting a stand at the Transition Year Ireland TY EXPO 2016 the 12th and 13th of September 2016. Check out my new webpage for all the information

I have dates currently available for April and May for talks and I am taking bookings for the 2016/2017 school year for both talks and workshops. To book a workshop or class email [email protected] or phone 0868373582, Elfreda :)

Online Classes

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on September 15, 2015 at 6:10 AM Comments comments ()

Hi all, as of Thursday 17th of October I will bedelivering online Mindfulness classes via The Spirituality Centre, Learn it The first class on the 17th is at 8pm and it is free. You just need to sign up via the link below and join the class on the 17th or at a later date at your convenience. You can join and watch live or whenever you want, you just need to make sure you have signed up for the class. I will be delivering classes every fortnight, the second one will be half price so try them out. Here's the link: I look forward to seeing you there. Elfreda

New Courses and workshops

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on August 20, 2015 at 10:45 AM Comments comments ()

It's been a little while since I posted as I've been focusing on the Facebook page, if you haven't already liked the page then make sure you do to get the latest updates.

The next Mindfulness workshop takes place on Saturday 29th of August 10 -1pm. Cost €25, early bird €20 if boooked by the 22nd of August. The next 6 week course starts Monday 7th of September at 7.30pm. Cost €70, early bird €60 if booked before the 31st of August. These are very popular ways to learn about Mindfulness meditation and have been very sucessful ths year so far.

Classes for youunger students commence in Trim with a brand new course in Mindfulness and Self Confidence. Students learn about Mindfulness and how to understand their self esteem. The course runs for two terms of 12 weeks and include Mindfulness Meditation, Drama, Improvisation, Public Speaking, Confidence Building and much more. This course costs €70 see the Workshops and Classes pages for more information.

Classes in St. Oliver's in Navan commence on Tuesday 8th and Friday 11th of September. Information will be distributed around the school the first week in September. To book a place email [email protected]

I'm really looking forward to this new school year and to all the new delegates and students I have yet to meet. The workshop is already almost full and the other courses are already starting to book.



Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on June 8, 2015 at 7:10 AM Comments comments ()

The first half of the year has been hugely successful for Mindfulness in Trim. Over 70 people have participated in classes or workshops since January. It has been really rewarding to be able to share something so wonderful with so many people. I am delighted to announce there are 3 workshops over the summer on the following dates: Sunday 21st of June, Saturday 25th of July and Saturday 29th of August. The workshop is from 10am to 1pm and costs €25 with an early bird of €20 if booked withing one week of each workshop. to book aplace email [email protected],com or phone or text 0868373582. I look forward to seeing you there. Elfreda