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 can probably empathise with the feeling of really wanting to do something and being to scared to get started. Living in 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 on how to be more confident you will build momentum towards 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 said “Thank You” out loud you can get to work into growing the 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 and confidence is one of those things. My favourite way of practising being confident is when I meet new people. They don’t you which means you can show them the best, most authentically confident version of yourself. Think about how a confident person would move and speak whilst 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 of mirror, puff your chest up, throw shoulders back, hold your head up and smile a that type of smile you smiled as a kid when you new 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 to 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 new 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 possibilities of positive and 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 the things in the same way that you have always done them doesn’t breed confidence. When I first got into speaking I joined Toastmasters International and I really enjoyed it and I learned so much. However, I began to feel comfortable with the 15-20 people that were there every week. When I was asked to compere a charity event and also be the auctioneer for 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 what many of us do in the negative sense regularly? Have you ever been in a situation that was challenging and presumed that everything was going to go wrong?
I am well aware of this idea 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 where 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 way of magic.