How to Build Confidence
Why is it confident people more successful in life? The benefits of having confidence are real:
- You’ll dream bigger dreams: When you are confident, you’re able to visualize and act. You know that worry is a waste of time and energy and rooted in fear, and you are able to overcome fear by believing in yourself. You trust yourself to make decisions and readjust as needed.
- You’ll live a fuller life: When you believe in yourself, you’ll be more willing to try new things. It doesn’t mean that you are going to be successful at everything you try, but it does mean that deep down you know that you will be ok and if it is your project that fails, not you.
- You’ll be viewed as wise and mature: Ironically, confidence is perceived when we stop worrying about what other people think of us. When we do, they respect us so much more.
- You’ll become more attractive: To employers, potential partners, peers, and strangers. Beyond physical appearance, confidence exudes a magnetic energy that people are naturally attracted to.
Q: What is lacking confidence costing you?
Because when you lack confidence you don’t pursue your dreams. Translation: you’ll never get the job, girl/guy, adventure or life that you want. You’ll always settle for safe and get stuck in a comfort zone.
You will continuously compare yourself to others and either have a false sense of superiority or you always come up short. People who lack confidence either chronically find fault in others to build themselves up or live in a state of envy. Both are just plain yuck!
The biggest regret most people have in life is rooted in things they didn’t do vs. things they did do. Why didn’t they do those things? You guessed it; they lacked the confidence!
Confidence isn’t developed magically but here are some useful ways to start turning “I can’t” into “I can” right now!
- Don’t take yourself so seriously: People often believe that what they say, do, how they look is relentlessly judged by others. The truth of it is most people are so self-absorbed they’re hardly paying attention to you, or at most a fraction of what you perceive they are. Even if they are looking at or judging you, so what? What other people think of you is none of your business. Chin-up and carry on!
- Find yourself doing something right: If you lack confidence chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about all the things you aren’t doing good enough. Stop that! Look for the things you are doing right. If this is too much for you right now, find someone you really care about and find them doing things right. What you see in others is often a reflection of how you view yourself (Bill Hendrick, 2010). Try a positive to negative ratio of about 5-1; find 5 positive things for every 1 negative. This works for everything.
- Make the best of the first 20 minutes every day: Science reveals that what the brain acknowledges in the first 20 minutes of being awake impacts how it will perform for the day (Safwan,2017). Most people who struggle with confidence, have a poor perception of themselves even though it’s often inaccurate. Practice visualizing a fantastic version of yourself, one where you are achieving your goals. Try reading daily affirmations or practicing mindful meditation to train your brain to think positively about yourself. If you find that your inner-voice resists believing positive things about you, write down what the negative messages are. The first step to obliterating these self-limiting beliefs is being aware of what they are. From there you can question their validity and start to replace them with empowering thoughts.
- Surround yourself with confident and positive people: Being around confident people will modal confident behaviors and their positive energy can be contagious if you let it. We all have people in our lives that are negative and overly critical. Sometimes we don’t have the choice to sever ties with them. In those cases, try and detach and just know that their lack of confidence is hurting them, but it doesn’t have to hurt you.
- Try new things: Stop hiding in a comfort zone, that only keeps you stuck and diminishes confidence. Instead of always doing what you are good at, try something you know you aren’t. It will be uncomfortable at first, but you will be surprised at how good it feels after. No one is saying you should do something that terrifies you, but step just outside of your comfort zone and you will develop a stronger ego and sense of pride.
The best way to overcome fear is to grab the bull by the horns and face it head-on. Do something that scares you every day and you’ll gain confidence from every experience. Challenge yourself by signing up for a dance class, throwing a small party, or applying for a job you are nervous about! Whatever it is that delights but scares you, just go for it!
- Eat well and get regular exercise: So maybe your mom told you to eat your veggies because they’re good for your body, but did she mention they are good for your career too? In short, proper nutrition and regular keep the body in a state of homeostasis, which basically means “stable”. Realize it or not, when we are not in homeostasis, or “stable”, our body chemistry directly affects our moods, thoughts, and behavior. All of these are factors in our confidence, and as discussed earlier, affects every area of our life. This doesn’t mean you have to go train for a marathon or get on some fad diet, quite the opposite. However, if your wellness plan needs to be improved, eliminating some junk foods and taking a brisk walk will make you feel like a new you.
- Be kind: I truly believe that the road to confidence and true self-worth is paved by being the best person I can be. We all get to define what that means to ourselves but allowing others to just “be” permits us to just “be”. Having confidence doesn’t mean that we think we are perfect; it means we know we are perfectly imperfect. Read: Guilt (and shame) Sap Confidence
Run to what you fear!
What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
Most of the time, fear is what keeps us from chasing our deepest heart’s desire. I love the acronym defining F.E.A.R as F#$% Everything And Run!
There are hundreds of possible fears, but here are the top eleven that paralyze us and prevent us from springing into action.
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of public speaking
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of abandonment or rejection
- Fear of getting hurt
- Fear of ridicule or embarrassment
- Fear of death
- Fear of being found out (imposter syndrome)
- Fear of needing help
- Fear of change
No one is without fear. No one. What makes those who look fearless different is that they FEEL THE FEAR BUT DO IT ANYWAYS!
There is a book titled Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers. She describes five truths about fear. The essence of them is here:
· When we face our fears, we grow, but it will never go away because as we continue to grow, we encounter new challenges. Things that do not grow are dead.
OK, this is bad news and good news: The bad news is you’re always going to have fear, sorry. I wish I could tell you that you’ll reach a point in life where there is no more fear or worry, but nope, it’s not happening. The good news is, you’ll become comfortable walking through it. Every time you walk through fear, it will be akin to depositing into a bank account. The more you do it, the larger the balance in the account gets. Instead of being paralyzed by fear, you will feel more energized and alive.
· If you want to move past your fear, go out and do it.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. 99% of what we fear never comes to pass. It’s generally nothing more than a false narrative made up by our minds. Think about a child who is afraid of trolls under their bed; to them, it is terrifying, but in fact, they are quite safe. Our brains make up false perceptions of danger that rarely materialize. Maybe in the past, we had one bad experience and have convinced ourselves that it is the norm and are unwilling to try again, but giving up is giving in, and that is the real failure.
· When you confront your fears, you’ll feel better.
In other words, do it, and regardless of the outcome, you’ll feel better. Like we said above, step outside of your comfort zone and do one thing that scares you every day. Your confidence will gradually increase and you’ll feel great. Don’t do it, and you’ll have given into fear and feel worse.
· Everyone feels fear. Everyone.
It’s easy to misread people who appear calm, cool and collected at all times as being heroic. But the fact is, even they have uncertainties and doubts. Feeling fear is perfectly healthy. Letting fear run our lives is not. Those who look fearless are just moving through it. There are so many tactics they use that you can use too. Public speakers envision their audience wearing their underwear to lighten the intimidation. I worked with a client who went out and TRIED to get rejected 100 times to overcome his fear of rejection. Others turn stressful situations into games.
· Fear leaves you feeling helpless because living in fear is scarier (and more painful) than pushing through them.
You are bigger than your fears. Overcome the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck and walk through them. Even if you have to fake it until you make it pretend you are the courageous and confident person you admire and do as they do. You will become the person you need to be to look fear in the eye and press on because your dreams and goals live o the other side of your fear.
“If you listen to your fears, you will never know what a great person you might have been”
– Robert Schuller
Everyone struggles with confidence issues at one time or another. When chronic feelings of fear or not being good enough interfere with living our best lives, it’s time to get our arms around it and change our thinking. We hope you find these tips helpful! If you feel like you’re ready to be proactive in building confidence and achieving your goals, breaking through limiting beliefs and overcoming negative thinking is what life-coaches specialize in. You can try here, risk-free!