When Julie Lewis was a child she used to fall asleep imagining herself completing the perfect gymnastics routine.
Moments before she had to start it for real she would tap her right hip to play the movie in her mind.
Although she did not fully understand it at the time, a then 12-year-old Ms Lewis was using a sophisticated psychological technique to help give herself confidence in her abilities.
"Nine times out of 10 it would work because the brain doesn't know if it's real or imagined. The body and the mind are interconnected," says Ms Lewis, a neuro-linguistic programming master practitioner and coach.
She says anyone can use the trick before they give a presentation, a speech or an important meeting to give themselves an instant boost in confidence. "It's a bit like future programming by seeing yourself succeed and focusing on what you do want and not thinking I might stumble on my words or my slides might go wrong," says Ms Lewis, who owns Mountain High, a consultancy that offers adventure challenges, retreats, group coaching, speaking workshops and seminars.
People can either recall a time when they felt totally in control in a similar situation or imagine themselves standing before an audience standing tall and feeling confident.
"In order to perform at your best you have to have confidence in your abilities and in yourself," says Lucy Hay, the founder and "chief excellence officer" of Expressions Arabia, a corporate training company.
"That's what we find is lacking in so many people," she adds.
Anyone making a presentation or taking an important decision must remove all doubt from their minds.
"As a leader you are in a very fast-changing environment and you're not going to be perfectly right all of the time but you do your due diligence and then take action and act upon it," says Ms Lewis.
Looking decisive and confident in decisions is particularly important for leaders as others look to them for guidance.
And if employees think their boss lacks confidence it affects the way they think about them as a leader.
But some leaders who do not feel confident in their own abilities can actually end up overcompensating for their deficiencies in other ways.
"Earlier in the year I ran some courses for a bank and I had a group of 17 line and operations managers and we were looking at staff appraisals and how to communicate within one in the best possible way," says Ms Hay.
"We filmed some of the appraisals they were doing and we pinpointed their style and he was so shocked to realise how people responded to him and not in a good way," adds Ms Hay.
Everything about his manner - from the language he used to the tone and words - was aggressive and suggested he just wanted to get it over with.
"They may have a problem with confidence, so you sometimes have managers who aren't that confident in themselves so they overcompensate by being more aggressive," says Ms Hay.
Experts say leaders have the power to create or destroy confidence in others, which is why they must be mindful about the way they manage their staff.
But encouraging confidence in people is easy. If someone makes a mistake, leaders should not criticise them but look for the positives, says Ms Lewis.
Trusting people to do a good job is also important. And bosses must constantly let their staff know they appreciate them, says Ms Hay. Doing so will help people develop confidence and belief in their own abilities.
"If you put your mind to it you can achieve anything you want to, as long as you have the belief in yourself," says Ms Hay.