When I first decided that there were several things that I wanted to create in my life, I didn’t believe that I was capable of achieving them. I wanted to write a book, but I thought it would be too difficult for me because I wasn’t the best at English in school. I wanted to be a speaker, but I thought my regional accent would hold me back. I wanted to be in a relationship, but my past told me that I wasn’t cut out for one.
You may not have a long list of things that you want to do, but you can probably empathize with the feeling of really wanting to do something and being too scared to get started. Living with this fear stifles your potential and stops you from being able to share your gifts and talents with the world.
There are, of course, many different things that fuel that fear, and one of those will regularly be a lack of confidence. Confidence is a learned skill, and just by following the steps below you will build momentum toward being the most confident version of yourself
1. Take a Compliment
I find it absolutely fascinating how people will so easily believe the negative things that they hear and totally ignore or even disagree with the positive. There is a pleasant, humble way to take a compliment and that is to simply say, “Thank you”. Avoid saying things like, “Oh no, don’t be silly, me?”
Use the compliments you receive to fuel your confidence. After you have given thanks out loud, you can get to work to grow confidence in your own head. You can think, ‘You know what? I did do a great job, and that means that I can do it over and over again.”
2. Practice Being Confident
All skills improve with intelligent practice, including confidence. My favorite way of practicing being confident is when I meet new people. They don’t know you, which means that you can show them the best, most authentically confident version of yourself. Think about how a confident person would move and speak while thinking confident thoughts. Hold your back and shoulders high and straight and speak with a clear, measured voice.
You can practice the physiological side of being confident anywhere. Get in front of a mirror, puff your chest up, throw shoulders back, hold your head up, and smile the smile you smiled as a kid when you knew a really cool secret. It may take time, but it’s a skill, and you will get better.
3. Trust Yourself
You know what you are good at; trust yourself to be good at those things. You should also trust in your ability and desire to improve and learn, knowing that you can always do even better next time. It is important that you are trusting in your capabilities and not someone else’s. Avoid comparisons.
The only comparison you should make is the comparison with the person that you were last week, last month, and last year.
4. Embrace Your ‘Toddler Confidence’
When you entered this world, you had no idea about insecurities or the possibility of being judged. You just knew what you needed, and you did what you could to get it. When you were learning to walk, you didn’t give up because you failed at your first step – you somehow “knew” that you were going to master it, so you just confidently kept going.
Unfortunately, this started to change when you became aware of people seeing you in different ways and the possibility of negative feedback. If you started to get a lot of negative feedback as you grew older, perhaps you were harsh on yourself, and any confidence you had was drained away.
When you notice yourself feeling low on confidence, realize that you have learned to feel this way, and tap into the confidence that you came into this world with.
5. Take Calculated Risks
Doing things in the same way you have always done them doesn’t breed confidence. When I first got into speaking, I joined Toastmasters International. I really enjoyed it, and I learned so much. However, I began to feel comfortable with the 15-20 people who were there every week. When I was asked to compare a charity event and the auctioneer before 200 people, I thought to myself, “Absolutely no way!” Then I knew that jumping in and just doing it would be a calculated risk that would further my career.
I made some mistakes and had some technical problems to deal with, but it was a massive turning point in my speaking career. Had I not taken that calculated risk, I’m not sure if I would have spoken to more than 20 people – ever.
6. See Success as Inevitable
You cannot predict the future, but isn’t that is what many of us do regularly, in the negative sense? Have you ever been in a situation that was challenging and presumed that everything was going to go wrong?
I am well-aware that you can expect the worst and then not end up being disappointed if you fall short. But what if I told you that this can just become a self-fulfilling prophecy in which you are never overly disappointed when failure shows up – but it shows up all the time?
Focus on and expect the tiniest of successes in every waking hour, and watch as they increase as if by magic.
Photo cred: Helpingotherstransform.com