Do you wish you had more confidence? Do you sometimes look at other people and wish you were as confident and self-assured?
One definition of self-confidence is an individual’s trust in his or her own capabilities, another is a belief that he or she can successfully face day to day challenges and demands.
Reflect for a moment on how self-confident you think you are. How confident do you feel around your work? What about your confidence when you are with friends and your family? How confident do you feel about making a presentation at work or talking to a stranger?
If you feel you are lacking and want to strengthen your self-confidence muscle it is important to remember that its takes practice and patience. The first and most important thing is to understand that your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all interlinked. Understanding this connection will help you stop that inner voice in your head that stops you from achieving your goals.
Before I give you some tips on how to learn to have more confidence I want to give you an example how your inner voice can undermine your confidence. Imagine you are walking into a room at a networking event and think “I don’t know anyone here, I will look stupid, everyone will look at me, I don’t know what to say.” Your body fills with anxiety and you might walk the outskirts of the room and avoid talking to others by checking your “email” on your phone.
On the other hand, if you think instead “I don’t know anyone, but I will pick out one other person on their own and go straight over and introduce myself.” Yes you might still feel some anxiety, but the goal to talk to someone else that is alone is a much easier goal to swallow. As a result, instead of trying to hide, you’ve already made a connection. And who knows, that one connection might be able to connect you with others at the event in a much less uncomfortable way.
Below are some tips on how you can start working to improve your self-confidence. I found from experience they work very well with my clients. The key is to keep practicing them, the more you do each exercise the more confidence you are going to build.
Before you are going to face a situation where you want to feel more self-confident, work through it in your head. Identify your true feelings and fears and then try to reframe them in a more helpful way.
Use Positive Affirmation.
Get some index cards and write a positive statement about yourself on them. For example, “I am a kind and helpful person,” “I am worthy,” “I am a great coworker/boss/friend,” and so on. Then read one each day. Leave the cards somewhere where you can see them, so you don’t forget.
Dress Your Best
An easy way to immediately boost your self-confidence is to dress your best. Get your nicest clothes out and feel fantastic.
Practice Speaking Out Loud
Often when someone lacks confidence they speak very softly and therefore lose an audience when they are speaking. This just reconfirms unhelpful thoughts like “No one is interested what I have to say.” Practice speaking a bit louder in front of a mirror. Again, don’t do it just once, do regularly.
Focus on Your Strengths
Once again, we’re talking about the way we think. I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus on and remember your strengths and accomplishments rather than your shortcomings.
Write It Down
Write down three things every day that you did well and you are proud of.
Carrying out those steps will require some perseverance and commitment. The best way to learn new habits is to take one small step at a time.
“Confidence is not a guarantee of success, but a pattern of thinking that will improve your likelihood of success, a tenacious search for ways to make things work.” – John Eliot