When you fail at something, it is easy to believe that you do not have the ability or you are not good enough. However, the difference between success and failure is rarely due to any lasting ability. Sure, you may lack the necessary skills at that very moment but you can usually learn everything that you need to know. The biggest factor in determining your level of success is often your self-confidence. As Henry Ford said ‘Whether you believe that you can or you believe that you cannot; you are right’. Self-confidence is that important. If you want to achieve your goals and objectives, you absolutely must have enough self-confidence to see the job through. As the size of your goals and ambitions grows, your level of self-confidence must grow to match it.
Self-confidence is not some sort of gift that you are born with. For many people, self-confidence may appear to have come naturally to them but it is more likely that they had confident role models in their life, from whom they learned the appropriate confidence building behaviours. These people will have imitated the behaviour they saw from their role models and, they habitually do them now. By practicing these same actions, you’ll be taking giant strides to building your own self-confidence.
The strategies listed below are very easy to implement and lead to rapid growth in your self-confidence levels. Use these strategies to become more self-assured:
- Present yourself with confidence
How you feel about yourself is reflected in your appearance. If you have an important event e.g. an interview or business meeting; taking the time to ensure that you are well groomed and wearing clean, well-fitting and appropriate clothing, will give you that extra boost of confidence. When you know you look great, you feel great about yourself as well. That little bit of effort goes a long way and, as you notice the difference, you will bring this new approach into more areas of your life.
- Smile and look people in the eye
It sounds obvious to state that a smile will help you build rapport with others. It also sounds obvious to state that when you smile, you feel happier and more confident. Despite this, so many people do not smile. When you smile and make eye contact, it shows that you have a certain ease and warmth about you. This enables others to feel more at ease in your presence, thus improving the quality of your interactions. As you start to interact better with others, your self-confidence grows until communicating with ease becomes a natural process.
- Give genuine compliments to others
When you take the time to compliment others, it demonstrates that you feel good enough about yourself to give positive feedback to others. Don’t mistake this approach for insincere flattery. The compliments should always be genuine and honest. At first, it may take a little time for you to find the positives in others that you would like to compliment, but it becomes easier. By adopting the necessary mindset, not only will you find positives in others, but you will start to see more positives in every area of your life. As you do so, you realise that your life is in better shape than you may have previously thought. As a result, your self-confidence grows.
- Practice appreciation
Sadly, we humans find it incredibly easy to find the negative in our lives. It is not always as easy to identify the positives, though they are there. When you appreciate the positives in your life, you don’t just identify the things that you like; you take a moment to focus on how your life is better because of them. Practice appreciation each day and you will eliminate negativity from your life. You are not trying to develop delusions about how amazing and wonderful your life is; you just want to develop a more realistically optimistic view whereby you can identify and appreciate the positives in your life.
- Play to your strengths
We can all do most things but what differs is the standard to which we can perform the task. Throughout your life, you will encounter tasks which you are not best suited to performing. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about; it’s the same for everybody. If you spend a lot of your time performing these tasks, you are likely to struggle and your self-confidence will be impacted. Instead, focus on doing whatever you’re best at. You will be better able to perform the task and your self-confidence will receive a boost with each task that you successfully complete. You’ll feel like an expert and know without a doubt that you excel in that area. Know your strengths and play to them. Seek work in an area which makes the most of your strengths, knowledge and skill set. Where possible delegate or outsource the tasks which do not suit your strengths.
- Accept your imperfections
Perfectionism is just a mechanism used to inflict pain upon yourself. Perfection is neither a possibility nor a necessity. Nobody has ever been perfect and nobody ever will be. Rather than seek to achieve perfection, you can always try to do your best. Then, you can learn from the experience and strive to do better next time around. This way, you will constantly improve without the stress-inducing pressure of always trying to be perfect. Imperfections only show that you’re human – not that there is something wrong with you.
- Be prepared
Practice allows you to familiarise yourself with the challenge that lies ahead e.g. a presentation. This allows you to reduce the fear associated with stepping into the unknown. As you practice, you realise that you are capable of dealing with the challenge and your self-confidence grows. You’ve practiced in advance to perform whatever needs to be done. If you are really concerned about something going wrong, you can prepare for that too. Identify your worst fear e.g. you forget your speech. Then you can identify a solution e.g. have some notes on standby to jog your memory. You can then practice your presentation going wrong whereby you forget your words and, you can implement your solution. This will give you the self-confidence to believe that you can cope with whatever goes wrong.
- Set effective goals and work to achieve them
When your life has direction and purpose, you know where you’re going and what you are trying to achieve. You then set goals which will help you to consistently work towards these objectives. As you achieve your goals, you can see the progress that you are making towards fulfilling your purpose. You are able to focus better and each day has meaning. With the accomplishment of each goal, your self-confidence receives a little boost, as you see that you can achieve whatever you want from life.
- Embrace whatever it is you love
Love is the most powerful emotion. Sadly we only tend to think of love in terms of that nonsense that you see in Hollywood movies. Love comes in many forms and when you make room for love in your life, you will be happier and more confident. One of the most important things that you can do is to make room for the things that you love in your life. Sadly, when you struggle for time, one of the first things that you cut tends to be your favourite hobbies. However, the hobbies that you love fill you with positivity which helps to boost your happiness and health. It also makes you feel more in control of your life, which adds to your self-confidence.
- Always do your best
No matter what kind of work you do, you can strive to do your best at it. When you know that you have given your very best to the task, you know that you could not have given any more. This allows you to feel relaxed and more confident about your performance. When you always give your best, you also build a reputation with friends, family, colleagues and customers which enables you to receive positive, self-confidence building feedback.
- Accept disapproval
No matter what you do in life, there will always be people who disapprove of you. You could bend over backwards to try and please these people but even if you succeed, it wouldn’t be you they are approving of; it would be the person you are pretending to be. When you value the approval of others too highly, you end up sacrificing your own goals, dreams and aspirations which is a form of self-rejection. This form of self-rejection has disastrous consequences for your self-confidence. When you give up the need for approval, you’ll be free of feeling compelled to put on airs and impress people. Instead, you’ll become more authentic and real with yourself. Prove to yourself instead of to others that you’re competent and confident and others will see it anyway. And if they don’t see it, they are rarely worth worrying about.
Building your self-confidence takes time, focus and effort. It is not a magic trick. While some people make it look easy and natural, their high self-confidence is a result of learned behaviours. You too can learn these behaviours and experience the many benefits of high self-confidence. With your newfound confidence, you will be happier, healthier and more motivated to challenge yourself to be the best that you can be. Implementing the strategies listed above will not cure all your problems but it will take your self-confidence to a whole new level. You will be wondering why you didn’t take action sooner. You owe it to yourself to develop your self-confidence. Why not select one of the strategies, listed above, and start working on it today. Your faith in yourself will grow with every small step you take. Start today and begin living as the person you long to be.