If you’re a people pleaser or suffering from Nice Guy Syndrome, this practical guide on how to build confidence will give you some action steps you can take today to build self-worth, social confidence and healthy masculinity.
If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re on the path to recovery from people-pleasing, approval-seeking and Nice Guy Syndrome. The path is long, a lifetime journey in fact, but you can get started and see improvements immediately.
This guide is designed to be as concise and practical as possible, to get you started on making measurable differences to your self-worth – particularly in social situations. The deeper work will be required later, of course, and it will extend from what we have here.
There’s really only ONE principle you need to keep in mind on your journey to self-confidence:
Confidence is built from WITHIN – you will not receive it from anyone else.
This guide is designed to help you focus on 3 core principles that will make you more confident over time, by switching your focus away from trying get things social approval, external results and material possessions.
- Impress Yourself
- Give Freely
- Have Fun
These are all detailed later in this post. Through these principles, you will focus on living in a way that builds confidence internally, so that it’s under your control and no-one else’s actions can affect it.
Before you get into it, if you identify as a Nice Guy or people-pleaser, here’s a catalogue of helpful resources for you:
[Podcast] Overcoming Nice Guy Syndrome – from my own history as a Nice Guy, I share the complete recovery journey.
[Blog post] Are You a Toxic Approval Seeker? – you might think you’re genuinely “nice” but are you really? This post looks at your motives and honestly faces the darkness behind them.
[Podcast] The 4 Types of Nice Guys – being a people pleaser or Nice Guy isn’t the same for everyone, we’re all a little bit different. I’ve created 4 types to help you identify which path of recovery is best for you personally.
[Blog post] Why Nice Guys Don’t Initiate Sex – this hard-hitting and honest post explores the dark reasons why Nice Guys tend to be passive, asexual and lacking in masculinity once they get into a relationship (or even during dating).
[Video] Why Women Aren’t Attracted to Nice Guys – you ever wonder why being nice doesn’t seem to be a hit with the ladies? In this video I look at the difference between “nice” and genuinely honest, and why this difference matters for attraction.
[Podcast] You Think It’s Good to Be Easy-Going? – Nice Guys and people pelasers pride themselves on not “rocking the boat” – being overly agreeable and easygoing. Unfortunately, this actually does more harm than good.
[Podcast] The Real-Life Story of a Recovering Nice Guy – hear about Simon, a Nice Guy I coached, on his recovery journey and how he discovered true self-worth after a lifetime of seeking approval from others.
[Video] The Not Good Enough Story – learn about how to manage those negative thoughts and criticisms that come into your head every day.
PRINCIPLE #1 – IMPRESS YOURSELF
You’ve spent most of your life with the hidden intention of trying to impress other people – to make them like you, respect you, be attracted to you, and eventually love you. You have sacrificed your integrity to make this happen, and it simply does not work. To build confidence, there’s only one person you need to impress, one person you need love from, one person you need to respect you:
Using your phone or a watch, set an alarm that goes off at least once per day. When this alarm sounds, you must stop what you’re doing and ask yourself this question:
“What challenging action could I do right now that would make me feel proud of myself tomorrow?”
Then do that thing! Over time, you will start to build a database of evidence in your head that you’re an impressive person. This will slowly replace your original mental model of self-worth that was based on other people’s approval, because you’ll find your own approval to be so much sweeter.
- Start that task you’ve been procrastinating on for weeks.
- Ask someone out.
- If you’ve been neglecting exercise, drop and do 10 pushups.
- Say No to something you’d usually say Yes to just to please someone.
- Call someone you care about and tell them you were thinking of them.
[BROJO email course] How to identify your core values – integrity is made up of core values. Most Nice Guys don’t know what theirs are, and so live by other people’s instead. This course will help you figure out who you truly are.
[Podcast] How to live by your core values – once you’ve uncovered your values, you must put them into action to be proud of yourself. This is hard but simple.
[Video] How to be confident when you don’t feel confident – most people beat themselves up for not “feeling” confident, or wait for the right feeling before doing the right thing. You need to try it the other way around: do the right thing to feel confident.
PRINCIPLE #2 – GIVE FREELY
Needy and insecure people feeling like they’re incomplete so they try to GET things from people. Resources, love, attention, recognition, sex, money, support – the list goes on and on. Nice Guys and people pleasers never GIVE for free; there’s always a hidden expectation of getting something in return. Giving freely is about learning how to love other people unconditionally, through measurable actions, so that you can one day apply it to yourself.
Using your phone or a watch, set an alarm that goes off at least once per day (besides the other alarm). When this alarm sounds, you must stop what you’re doing and ask yourself this question:
“How can I add value to someone else’s life right now (without getting external recognition)?”
Look for someone who’s life could be improved by your support but do it in a way where they get your support for free. The easiest way is to give anonymously, but if you can’t do that, make sure to emphasize to the person that you don’t want their thanks or recognition. Tell them you’re trying to learn to give without expecting something in return.
- Show your boss the good work someone else in your team has done.
- Donate to a charity (remain anonymous).
- Write someone a note saying one thing you like/admire/are attracted to about them, and then give them the note and walk away before they can read it.
- Go visit someone who would be delighted to see you.
- Connect two people who you think would get along well with each other.
- Give someone a good book review on Amazon.
Note: Do NOT confuse this exercise with people-pleasing – you are not doing something nice to make people like you, you are doing something nice to be proud of yourself. They do not have to appreciate or thank you for this!
[Book] Nothing to Lose: Using Curiosity to Destroy Hesitation, Procrastination, and Limiting Beliefs – my latest book diving deep into the psychology of confidence through non-neediness and openmindedness.
[Blog Post] Why Give Without Getting Something in Return? – you may have been raised to believe that giving is “pointless” if you don’t “get” something in return. But what if giving itself could be rewarding?
[Blog Post] What Women REALLY Want – Nice Guys often try to please women instead of giving to them. This post shares the secret about what a woman really wants from her man.
PRINCIPLE #3 – HAVE FUN
Confident people enjoy their lives. This does not mean they’re always “happy” or “positive” – it means that what they do is important, meaningful and interesting to them, as often as possible. Insecure people do a lot of “chores” – stuff they don’t enjoy due to fear, or a need to get approval from others. Adding more “fun” into your life simply means doing things that are right for you, prioritising your enjoyment of life and ensuring that no-one else’s opinion matters.
At the beginning of each week, ask yourself this question:
“What meaningful activities could I do this week (or at least try) that would be enjoyable for me?”
Then plan at least 3 of those activities into your calendar and PRIORITISE them! If you’re not sure, just try something new, anything – at least you’ll be exploring the world for your own benefit.
Set aside at least 30mins each day that’s just for YOU. How you spend this time must be an attempt to provide meaning, passion and interest into your life – for you to do something important that serves no one but you.
- Hobbies – dancing, drawing, building a car.
- Self-development events – BROJO, toastmasters, martial arts.
- Study – researching your favourite topic, writing content, joining a discussion group, classes.
- Self-care – exercise (for your enjoyment not to look good), yoga, meditation, hot bath, walk.
[Book] The Legendary Life: Build the Motivation and Confidence to Create an Authentic Lifestyle – my first book, a bestseller on Amazon (big whoop), details how to structure your life in a way that impresses you and ensures your week is full of meaningful activities.
[Blog post] Rock vs Kite: Creating a Balanced Lifestyle – self-development can quickly lead to burnout if you are affected by the Not Good Enough story in your head. There is a way to focus your attention on what matters most without going too far.
[Podcast] The Art of Confident Living: A Practical Guide – here I share EXACTLY what I’ve done personally to build self-confidence, right down to the practical daily actions, including what I used to do that I’ve since stopped, and how I life now.
THE NEXT STEP…
Once you’ve implemented these practical actions into your week and tried them out, you’ll start to notice that you like yourself more over time, and that what other people think of you is not as important as doing what’s right for you.
This is just the beginning. We’ve barely cracked the surface.
If you’re ready to take it to the next level, to have an experienced mentor guide you through the pathway to building strong inner confidence and mastery of the social world, so that you can be confident in yourself no matter what other people think, then it might be time for you to consider bringing on a coach.
I crawled out of Nice Guy Syndrome by myself over the course of many years. It wasn’t until I found coaches that I was able to make much quicker and more focused progress. This is a service I now provide to others. You CAN do it on your own; coaching is simply a way to vastly ACCELERATE your progress.
If you’re interested to know more about personal confidence coaching, check this out:
What people say about coaching with me:
“I actually believe women can be attracted to me now and I no longer see women as on a pedestal. I had created excuses in many areas of my life to keep me from changing to the person that is more successful. I am a happier person now. I actually feel confident that I will be able to achieve my most important goals whereas before I was almost resigned to never being in a relationship and had accepted that maybe it’s just not for me.”
James K, CFO
“I was having a problem with self confidence which was ruining my life. I felt confused, desperate and was losing hope . Dan helped me rediscover my core values and I have started to build a life I truly want to live. I found the courage to take a risk with exploring a new career path. After a lifetime of being chronically single, I’ve connected deeply with a high quality woman to create a real relationship for the first time in my life! I wouldn’t trade places with anyone else in the world and for the first time ever I like being me.”
Simon C, Insurance Analyst
“After being coached by Dan, I started to push my comfort zones more and more, things that were foreign/difficult to me became less so. I started building a good social circle, filling my calendar with meaningful activities, and being able to powerfully express attraction to women. With Dan, I felt like I wasn’t alone in facing my problems. I had the motivation to change, Dan helped me keep on track and I haven’t stopped making improvements in my life since.”
James P, Entrepreneur
“I started my journey as “Mr Nice Guy”. I would find it hard to rock the boat. Trying to avoid confrontation at work was leading to frustration and low self-esteem. I used to be scared to assert myself for fear of coming across as an unpleasant person. Thanks to my work with Dan, I have practised the simple yet difficult task of expressing myself honestly. Handling confrontation is therefore a skill I continue to get better at. It helps me cultivate a deeper and more satisfying association with my workmates. It has also resulted in the achievement of many professional milestones like being invited to speak internationally to other professionals.”
Pulkit K, Dentist
“Dan helped me work through so many different barriers, fears, doubts and uncertainties with various issues. He allowed me to see who I really am, who I want to be and just what I can be capable of. I caught up with a friend earlier this week, and he asked me what’s been the single main thing that has made this [overseas] adventure that I’ve been craving for 10 years finally possible… The answer was easy; the work that I’ve done with Dan. It’s no longer just wishful thinking that one day I might be able to improve myself and my life, it’s now an exciting journey that’s become my reality.”
Emma J, Artist