Learning How to Build Confidence
We’re all plagued by doubts sometimes, some more than others. Even the charismatic politician, the inspirational speaker, and the millionaire success story have moments of insecurity. Self-confidence is a tricky thing. Some seem to be born with it, others are taught it and the rest of us have to build it. Our level of confidence in large part determines our level of success and happiness. Confident people tend to take on more challenges, realize their goals, and achieve higher success. At the same time, confident people also tend to be more able to enjoy their success and have greater personal happiness.
Your level of confidence affects your thinking, behavior, speech, body language, relationships, career, and even health by lowering stress and anxiety. Some clear signs that you may need some confidence building are; negative self-talk, unwillingness to take risks or try new things, feeling the need to justify or explain yourself, letting others take advantage of you, taking criticism personally, defensiveness, hunching posture, or avoiding personal or professional social situations.
The good news is that confidence can be strengthened, just like any other muscle. It just takes time, effort, and attention.
- Be willing to fail. The more you challenge yourself, the more you’ll probably fail, but learning that you can fail and recover, pick yourself up and keep going builds confidence.
- Record your achievements. Keeping a list of the things that you’ve accomplished helps you to have a more positive and realistic view of your abilities.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. We all do it, some more than others, but how we see others is often not real. Comparison is a destructive and inaccurate measuring stick.
- Pay attention to your dress. The way we dress affects the way we feel about ourselves and the way others perceive us. It’s not necessary to spend a ton of money on clothes, but make sure they fit well, are in good repair, and complement your body.
- Sit up front. Many people automatically gravitate to the back row, usually because they want to blend in with the crowd. Sitting up front helps us to get over our fear of being noticed and seen.
- Practice good posture. People with low self-confidence usually tend to have bad posture. Stand up straight and keep your head up. You’ll instantly feel more confident and others will respond.
- Increase your knowledge. The more you learn, the more you know, the more valuable you are, the more confident you are.
- Exercise. Physical exercise not only results in better body confidence, but it also gives you an endorphin boost that carries throughout your day.
- Strike up a conversation. The next time you’re in a social situation, instead of hanging out with people you know, and are comfortable with, start a conversation with someone you don’t know well or know at all. Eventually you’ll become more comfortable meeting new people.
- Do it anyway. When you find yourself making an argument for why you can’t do something, do it anyway. You’ll learn that you don’t have to listen to that doubting voice.
- Make mini-goals. Make a list of tiny goals, steps, or things that have been nagging at you and start completing them. Smaller goals are simpler to achieve, but success generate momentum to carry you through larger goals.
- Insist on respect. When we allow others to disrespect us, even tiny little digs of disrespect, we allow our confidence to erode.
- Put your hand in the air. Volunteer for projects that challenge you. You will learn that you can do more than you think and others will respect your willingness to try.
- Spend time with confident people. Surround yourself with “can-do” people rather than “can’t” people. Their confident attitude is likely to rub off.
- Talk like a friend. When you hear yourself engaging in negative self-talk – blaming, attacking and mentally abusing yourself – ask yourself if you would talk to a friend that way.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to play a role or be the person you think others want you to be. When you’re being yourself, you won’t have the fear that you’ll accidently let the real you slip out. Fear is an enemy of confidence.
- Give yourself credit. When it seems like everything is going wrong, give yourself credit for what you’ve done right.
- Admit you’re wrong. Truly confident people aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong, because they know it does not define who they are.
- Trust your instincts. When you listen to your intuition, you’ll gain confidence in your ability to know what’s right for you. Your gut usually knows best.
- Practice, practice. Develop skills that you need to succeed, work skills, conversation skills, presentation skills. The more you practice something, the more confident you feel. Even practicing sports or hobbies help your overall confidence.
One thing to remember, building confidence affects everyone differently and shows up differently for each individual. Confidence allows people to be more certain, more secure and in many cases more assertive, however it need not be aggressive or bullying. A truly confident person has a calmness about them. They’re comfortable in their own skin and in their value and abilities. They do not need to feel superior to others to feel valuable. A truly feeling of inner confidence makes that unnecessary.