Nobody will tell you this:
What if a little, wicked voice in your head is telling you the truth? That you are not good enough to succeed in whatever it is you want the most.
"You're not good enough of a writer to make your living writing.”
"You're not a good enough athlete to win in competitions."
You're not smart enough. Beautiful enough. Strong enough. Focused enough. Hardworking enough…
What if you don't have what it takes to live the kind of life you wish?
And people don't see you as a confident and accomplished person who instills respect?
You can always shift your dial to something you ARE good at. There's no shame in it.
But if you don't want to, never doubt this:
Even if this annoying fear is 100% right: You'll get much, much closer to accomplishing your goals if you believe you can!
Self-confidence may not be what you think
Self-confidence is at the core of our success (or failure). How much we believe we are capable of achieving our goals, influencing the various outcomes in our lives and handling unexpected situations.
Being confident doesn’t mean you have all the knowledge or the skills to accomplish the goal you’re after. It means you know you can learn the skills you need and adopt the knowledge you lack.
When we believe in our abilities, we are more likely to embark on difficult tasks and push the envelope.
Despite the obstacles we face.
Also, when we radiate self-confidence, we emit positivity and people trust us, like us, feel safe around us and help us on our way to success.
Not that you should believe your abilities are limitless. Or that you’re better than others. And that you can just do whatever you want because you’re you.
That’s just being arrogant.
But yes, sometimes we confuse self-confidence with being cocky, pretentious or being a smart Alec.
So, how do self-confident people act?
The Internet is bursting with advice on how to boost your confidence in a jiffy. And some tips do work - if you’re looking for instant gratification. They have their purpose, but, we’ll come to that later.
But if you are curious to learn what genuine, deep confidence from within is, so you can work to improve yours, here is what you should aim for:
Self-confidence is quiet. A confident person won’t bury you in stories of their past successes nor smother you with promises of the future ones. Quite the opposite. Confident people are careful listeners and they don’t brag. They will listen to what others think and feel before they form their opinion and only then speak.
Confident people are not afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is often regarded as weakness. Yet, it’s quite the opposite. Relationships, connections, and collaboration give birth to success and confident people know this.
Self-confident folks make mistakes and get things wrong as much as anybody else. But, they won’t cover it up, disguise those errors, or act defensively. They will simply admit it, apologize, fix whatever they can and learn from it.
Confidence is also about boundaries. All of us have our limitations when it comes to time, energy, money, etc. The difference is, self-confident people know their limits and respect them. They know how (and when) to say “no.” Maybe they’ll only do a couple of things a day, but they’ll do them well.
Self-confident individuals don’t seek the spotlight. Because they don’t need approval, nor credit from others. While the chances are they would be comfortable at the center of attention, they would rather celebrate positive outcome of their efforts in quiet. And let others reap the applause.
Confidence is about action. Confident people won’t wait for somebody to give them an opportunity to thrive on a silver platter. They will take risks and they will fight.
They will choose their own way and pursue it no matter what.
This is how you build solid self-confidence. One brick at a time.
Now that you know what real self-confidence is, what can you do to improve yours?
Actually, you can boost your confidence in more than one way.
Instant confidence boosters like superhero stance (my favorite), acting confidence, celebrating your victories daily, (and others) earned their place in your list of things you can do to improve your self-confidence.
Yet, they'll serve you better in the face of immediate action. The one you’re getting ready to take. Like, performing a surgery, preceding the meeting or embarking on a new project.
They also work great as a filler. A mortar that binds more essential confidence building blocks together.
The best approach is to pick a couple of your favorite instant confidence boosters and include them in your daily routine.
But if you're serious about building foundations for rock-solid, deep, healthy self-confidence from within, get ready for some soul-searching and investing a bit more serious effort.
The most important confidence blocks to build in are:
1. Know what you want
As you achieve the goals you’ve set, your confidence grows. The more you string your successes, the less you’ll doubt you can accomplish another. But your accomplishments and your successes count for nothing if they don’t get you closer to where you want to be in life.
So you want to figure that out first. This is not an easy task. It takes time, commitment and contemplation.
You need to disregard what others expect from you and be honest with yourself. Because it is you who need to approve of you. No one else.
So, who are you?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Be creative and allow yourself to dream crazy dreams. Who do you want to become? How do you want to live? Shape up your perfect life and imagine as many details as you can.
But don’t let this step intimidate or discourage you. The direction you set and the conclusions you arrive at while shaping up what you want, are not final. You can change them, adjust them and bend them any way you like or as the circumstances shift.
A draft version of your dream life and intentions will work just fine.
And then, when you know what you want in life, you’re ready for the next step.
But take a moment to note how your self-confidence improved. Maybe, you’re still not sure you’re getting where you’re headed, but setting the direction is a humongous chunk of being confident.
2. Set your goals and don’t be afraid to fail
I read somewhere that winners in life are the greatest losers of all. Because they’ve tried and lost so many times. Before they finally succeeded.
And the thing is, you don’t even need to be self-confident to plan your goal. Big or small. As long as it’s within the direction you’ve set.
Take the leap.
Despite how afraid you are.
Despite that you may disappoint. Just jump.
Embrace the risk, invest the time and effort you need, commit to achieving your goal.
(I admit - it’s a tiny bit more complicated than “just jump”).
But being confident means you’ll finish the tasks that make out this goal and then wait to see the outcome.
It also means you rely on yourself to adjust your goal as you see fit, or completely replace the set of tasks to accomplish it.
If you happen to fail that’s OK.
You’ll either try again, or re-evaluate your steps and attempt something different.
But if you succeed! Yap, yap hurray! Tap yourself on the shoulder and celebrate your victory.
Feel your confidence growing.
And be sure, setting your next goal and taking the next plunge will be so much easier!
3. Mold your mindset
Nurturing your mindset to be confident is not the same as being confident per se, but it sure is an important step on that path.
Here is a short list of tools you can use to mold your mindset. As you would use the pottery wheel, chamois, needles and fettling knives to sculpt beautiful pieces of ceramics:
Recite positive affirmations
Affirmations will keep your focus on being confident. They will motivate you to watch over your behavior and emotions. You will “see” yourself a self-confident person.
And as you do, you will transform into one quicker and easier.
Practice positive thinking and self-talk
People can really be hard on themselves. The little, wicked voice I mentioned earlier can torment you and tell you awful things:
“This is a disaster! You’ll mess up this project, they will get you fired and you’ll end up living under the bridge in a cardboard box!”
“You get nothing right!”
“You’re ugly and stupid and you shouldn’t even bother.”
When we “hear” these things, we are often tired and stressed out, overwhelmed and frustrated about something.
So thoughts like this are, what? The pep-talk we give to ourselves?
They directly undermine your confidence. So you need to stop these lines as they come and replace them with positive self-talk.
When you notice you get angry and frustrated with yourself, imagine you’re two people instead of one. The first, your exhausted, frustrated, angry voice and the second, your inner child, the one trying his best to do well.
See, you can’t tell: “You’ll blow it again, you idiot,” to a child. Saying: “Wow, you’ve tried really hard. Why don’t you take a break and continue tomorrow, you’re doing fine!” sounds much more natural.
It’ll take time and practice to shut down the nasty thoughts and words and replace them with nice ones. But be patient. You’ll get there.
Learn to accept compliments
Rejecting compliments is also a negative self-talk. And because we express those feelings out loud and to someone else, the effect doubles up.
So, instead of saying: “Oh thank you. It was nothing, anyone could do this,” and rejecting the praise, go with: “Thank you. I invested a lot of effort into this work and I’m glad it turned out so well.”
Have a gratitude journal
People focus on the negative things. They obsess over the problems they have, issues they face with goals they’ve set. They dwell on the past. Negativities build up in our minds and it becomes easy to doubt we can overcome all the setbacks and hindrances and reach the success we’re after.
The gratitude journal is an amazing tool to keep us on the path of success. Because it makes our mind cast out the negative thoughts and moods and shifts our focus to our accomplishments, positive outcomes in the past, things, people, and events that make us happy.
So make a habit of writing a few things you’re grateful for. Every single day. And remember, the trick is not to rush through like it’s a chore. But to embrace the joy that fills you up as you write down all the beautiful things you’re grateful for.
So, how do you do this? Where do you start?
How do you start work on your self-confidence?
I suggest you bookmark this blog post or another. More even. And compile a list of your own confidence boosters. Both the building blocks and mortar to bind them. Take your time and pick carefully. Decide on the tasks you will undertake and include them in your schedule. There will be bad days, but try to be as vigilant as possible. And then, after a while, go back to either this article or the other ones you liked and read about the traits of the confident people.
And you'll see.
Even though it might not seem that way day in day out, you will recognize more of these characteristics in yourself.
Also, you'll realize what aspects of self-confidence you still miss.
But, the difference is, you'll be certain enough you'll get there.