Are you a confident person? Do you know how to build self-confidence? How can you tell?
Is it because you value and love yourself? Is it because you make sure you have all your ducks in a row all the time so you know what to expect?
Back in the day, if you had asked me, I would have said “Hell, yes! I’m smart. I know my worth and I know I’m an awesome person so yep… I’m confident.”
But, like most folks, I would have been confusing self-esteem with self-confidence.
See, self-esteem is your evaluation of yourself and your worth. I knew who I was, and I didn’t allow any man, woman or child to treat me any less than I deserved. So, self-esteem? Yep, I had tons of that.
But, self-confidence is a whole different story.
It’s not bravado or cockiness as those relate more to insecurity. It’s not throwing your weight around or talking over everyone in a ‘look at me, look at me!’ type attitude.
Confidence is quiet and more subtle than that. It’s that trust in yourself and your abilities that move you to action.
And I didn’t realize I was missing that until I punked out on a chance to be the registered badass expert during a system outage at my job. All the big wigs and my peers were trying to solve the problem and I had a possible solution.
But, I froze.
“What if they think it’s stupid?”
“What if they think I’M stupid?”
“Better to have no opinion than having a wrong one and look like a fool, right?”
I’m wishing I could tell you that I stood up and spoke my idea, but you already know how that ended.
I kept my mouth shut because I was scared to be wrong. I doubted myself, knowledge and abilities. And I felt like a jackass for being scared to open my mouth- like I’d die if I did.
Maybe this has happened to you, too, and you can relate to the missed opportunity of greatness because of self-doubt. Or maybe you already know that your confidence can use a boost.
Wherever you are, know that this doesn’t have to be you. It doesn’t take much to stop doubting yourself. In fact, it just takes a few tips and constant practice so you can get to the place where you can let your badassery fly and just trust yourself and your ability to blow the mind off those around you.
Here’s how to build confidence.
1. Spend a day being decisive
Try spending one day where everything you say is prefaced with a decisive tone.
For that one day, banish unsure phrases, like ‘I’m not sure’, ‘I think’ and ‘Maybe’ from your vocabulary.
Removing such wishful tones from your speech is incredibly powerful, positive and affirming. It forces you to be sure of your decisions, opinions, and choices. Even if you aren’t totally convinced, saying something out loud with a commanding tone helps convince you of your own ideas.
This isn’t some fake-it-until-you-make-it trick. It’s removing your fear of what others may think- a common cause of self-doubt.
You already know what you want and what you think. Sometimes, we just need a cheerleader to tell us that our idea isn’t too crazy. This exercise will teach you to become more decisive and your own personal cheerleader.
2. Take care of your body
When you work out, feed your body well and get good sleep, your body gets flooded with endorphins. You know, those feelings of accomplishment that flood over you when you do something kickass and your body is feeling happy, relaxed and unstoppable.
When your body is running at its optimal level, you are more productive, able to absorb more experiences around you and more capable of proving to yourself that your body can accomplish more today than it did yesterday. And that’s what builds confidence – collecting successful experiences and believing you can do more than you did yesterday.
3. Rock a Gangster Lean
Did you know that certain poses, like standing with a wider stance, are argued to increase testosterone, lower cortisol and make you feel more powerful and confident?
Sometimes you just need a little nudge. Just like speaking with power and decisiveness, you just need to ‘deliver’ with boldness so you can stop worrying about the impression you’re making on others.
And there is real science behind it. Harvard Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, teaches that power poses can help liberate us from fear in high-pressure moments. They can help us perform at our best and connect with and empower others to do the same.
So, try smiling, standing up straight with your shoulders back and chin up and with a more open relaxed pose to help put on more confidence.
Change Your Motivations
4. Aim to fail every day
Most of the time, we never try anything because we are afraid that we’ll fail. We worry what people will think and what they’ll say. We fear that we’ll be ridiculed.
But, here is a little secret.
No one is watching you or waiting to see if you are going to fail. No one is waiting to laugh at you.
Because people are worried about the exact same thing! They are too busy worrying about themselves, chasing their own fears and running their own insecurities in their mind.
So, what would you try if you knew that no one would be watching you? The best way to overcome that fear is to aim to fail every day. Aim to fail at least once every day because failure is the real evidence that you’ve tried something new.
Order that Tai Latte from Starbucks you’ve been wondering about. Wear heels to the office or call about that house you’ve been eyeing. Walking around with little fragile hearts avoiding failures means we are avoiding action and life in general.
Failure and mistakes are needed and expected if you want to move on with life. They are lessons that can teach us to look inward, refine our goals and affirm our desires.
5. Reach your bliss point
Ever notice that when you are in a good mood, everything seems to fall into place? It’s not that suddenly the universe opens and people want to give you good things.
When you’re happy, your perspective changes. You become more positive and, instead of seeing difficulties in opportunities, you see opportunities in difficulties.
Your boss asks you to work on a project outside of your given skill set? While others see that as a frustration, you see it as an opportunity to learn.
Think about your bliss point and try to reach it. It’s your sensory profile where you optimize your ‘feel good’ vibes.
The way to do that is to give yourself little pleasures. Stop waiting for the weekend, your success or retirement and start giving yourself a taste of what’s to come.
Whatever you like that can change your perspective, do it.
De-clutter your space, add a fresh coat of paint to your walls, rearrange your furniture, wear a new scarf, get your hair done- whatever blows your skirt up and makes you happy, do it.
The sillier or more frivolous, the better. Happy people are hopeful people. Hopeful people are fearless people.
6. Build your competence
If you want to stop doubting yourself, then you need to have a reference to draw your knowledge from. You can’t speak on what you don’t know. And if you aren’t sure, you are less likely to speak anyway.
So, if you want to build your confidence and improve the delivery of your message when you interact with others, then you must have competence. Go deep spending time studying your craft and go broad when improving yourself.
Whether it’s parasailing, candle making or outdoor hiking, develop new interests and skills that can improve your life and make you interesting.
We are not binary individuals that have natural strengths and weaknesses. We can grow and improve in anything at any stage of our lives.
If you are uncomfortable with public speaking, then read a book, take a class or join a club. Continue working on improving yourself and that’s one of the best ways you can start learning how to build self-confidence.
Mold Your Mind
7. Disappoint your parents
If you are wondering when you turned from fearless to fearful, then look at your childhood. Try to recall how your parents or guardians responded when you did something great or when you failed at something.
Seriously, you can totally pull the ‘blame your parents’ card for this one.
In their effort to protect us from sadness and disappointments, they taught us what they knew and how the world works by their standards. It is usually to lower your expectations and avoid risks.
Years later, you probably noticed that little voice in your head, giving you all the reasons/excuses why you can’t do or try what you want. That is a clone of your parents.
But, don’t be fooled! Your beliefs are incredibly powerful!
If you always wanted to be a writer and the people around you all told you that you can’t write books because you were too young or too dumb, then you might believe that and never even try to write the book of your dreams.
But, what if you hear the stories of J.K. Rowling, Oprah and Les Brown who are wildly successful despite facing difficulties, you might start changing your own beliefs and exploring new experiences.
Think of all the reasons why you ‘can’t’ do what you want and reflect on whether it’s true or not. If it’s not true, then choose to change your thinking and create a new narrative. If it is true, then determine what you need to do to change that.
So, how about we plan to disappoint our parents by dumping many of their teachings to form our own beliefs? Don’t worry, you have my permission.
8. Be child-like
When you were a kid, anything was possible.
Chocolate milk comes from brown cows. The moon is made of cheese and if you climb a ladder high enough, you can get there and see for yourself.
Get that mindset again and adopt the attitude of “why not”.
What’s the worst that can happen if you give it a try? I mean, really?
Most of the things we imagine won’t happen and, if they do, it won’t be as bad as we think.
So, take the pressure off. You don’t know and can’t control what anyone might think, so why not just see how far you can get? Instead of spending your energy thinking of why something won’t work, focus on gaining experiences.
You literally cannot go wrong, because, no matter what the outcome is, you are on the right path to where you need to be.
9. Ride the rainbow
When you succeed, bask in the awesomeness that has occurred from your hard work.
Smile, think about it and remember how hard it was to get here. Post it on Facebook or just tell your friends. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate your success or shrug it off as luck or chance.
Like Spencer Johnson says in Who Moved My Cheese, “Smell the cheese and celebrate the cheese often!”
Each victory helps you to win another and is a testimony you can use to renew your spirit when doubt creeps back in. It also provides evidence that you can achieve if you stay persistent.
10. Renew your mind daily
Confidence isn’t built in a one-time activity. That’s because doubts and fears are likely to creep in all the time. They are like weeds you must pluck every day.
So, bear this in mind:
Continuously taking risks, learning from failures and reaping rewards is how confidence is made.
Get Ready for Awesome
Just imagine not being shy about voicing your ideas – even if it’s not fully formed. Imagine never feeling fearful of what people think and doing what you want because you want it. Imagine waking up tomorrow morning feeling empowered as your feet touch the ground, looking forward to the day ahead and not dreading it.
Sound impossible? No, they’re not.
These simple tips on how to build self-confidence have dramatic effects on your belief in yourself. Do the work, try a new tip every day and flush out the stories that say you are any less than awesome.
You’ve got your road map. Now, all you need to do is follow it. Your new life of being a badass awaits.