Building Authentic Confidence for Performers and Athletes | Apolla Performance Wear

Cognitive Techniques for Building Confidence and Enhancing Performance for Performers and Athletes

Building Authentic Confidence: Strategies for Performers and Athletes

Welcome to Beyond the StEPS | Kristen Kemp*

Confidence is a crucial ingredient for success in any field, especially for performers and athletes. It enables individuals to overcome challenges, take risks, and perform at their best. However, building authentic confidence goes beyond superficial affirmations and requires a deeper understanding of oneself and the patterns that shape our thoughts and emotions. In this article, we explore the insights shared by Kirsten Kemp, a performance coach and practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, on how to develop genuine confidence. We delve into practical strategies that can help performers and athletes intervene in negative spirals, cultivate self-awareness, and create a solid foundation of confidence.


1. Recognizing Negative Spirals:

Negative spirals are recurring patterns of negative thoughts and emotions that can hinder performance and self-belief. The first step towards breaking free from these spirals is cultivating awareness. By noticing when we start to veer into negative thinking, we can interrupt the pattern and take conscious action. Kemp emphasizes the importance of pausing and examining the thoughts and emotions that arise, seeking to understand their underlying causes.

2. Uncovering the Real Challenge:

Instead of accepting negative thoughts as truths, it is crucial to question their validity. Kemp suggests looking beyond the surface-level thoughts and emotions to identify the deeper needs and issues at play. By doing so, performers can differentiate between the perceived problem and the actual challenge that needs resolution. This approach allows individuals to address the root causes rather than getting caught up in self-critical narratives.

3. Embracing Challenges as Opportunities:

Kemp introduces a powerful reframing technique, highlighting that challenges and insecurities arise for a reason. Instead of pushing them away or feeling shame, performers can view these experiences as opportunities for growth and transformation. By adopting a kind and compassionate approach towards oneself, individuals can reduce resistance and create space for self-improvement.

4. The Already List:

One effective exercise for developing authentic confidence is the creation of an "already list." This activity involves identifying and acknowledging all the qualities, skills, and accomplishments one already possesses. By continuously adding to this list, performers can reinforce a positive self-image and recognize the abundance of resources they have at their disposal. The already list serves as a tangible reminder of one's worth and capabilities.

5. Certainty in the Face of Uncertainty:

Another valuable exercise suggested by Kemp is making a list of things performers can be sure about. This list helps individuals ground themselves in certainty, even amidst uncertain circumstances. By focusing on simple and empowering statements, such as the ability to learn from failures or the resilience to overcome challenges, performers can build a foundation of unwavering self-belief.


Authentic confidence is a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. By incorporating the strategies shared by Kirsten Kemp, performers and athletes can develop a strong sense of self-awareness, interrupt negative spirals, and build genuine confidence. Recognizing the power of reframing challenges, creating an already list, and finding certainty within oneself, individuals can unlock their full potential and thrive in their respective fields. Building authentic confidence is a continuous process, requiring consistent practice and a compassionate mindset. With these strategies, performers can cultivate a deep and unwavering belief in their abilities, paving the way for exceptional performances and personal growth.

*Kirsten Kemp is a Freelance Professional Ballet Dancer and High-Performance Mindset Coach for ballet dancers, specializing in helping dancers release the mental and emotional blocks that hold them back from peak performance and wellbeing. As a dancer, Kirsten has trained and performed with the Houston Ballet, has a BFA in Ballet from the University of Utah, danced professionally with Oklahoma City Ballet, and is the creator of The Confident Dancer on YouTube and Instagram, an online community of over 20,000 dancers around the world. 

In addition to working with top pre-professional and professional dancers from all over the world, Kirsten is a Master Ballet Instructor and International Professional Speaker having spoken at top institutions such as the Miami City Ballet School, Estonian National Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater School, the University of Utah, the University of Oklahoma, Point Park University, and many other prestigious dance institutions

Watch the full Beyond the StEPS Episode with Kristen Kemp Below!

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