I don’t suppose it’s possible to write enough about having self-confidence. Not having confidence can hold you back, as mentioned in my previous post. It’s such an important part of any goals or aspirations we may have. Without confidence, we may as well bury our head in the sand and forget about our intentions to succeed.
Self-confidence, or a lack of it, handles a lot of events in our lives–some that we don’t even realize. A perfect example of this is the tendency of telling ourselves that we should delay our plans. Think about it. How many times have you told yourself you are going to wait? Wait for the right moment, for the right conditions. We talk ourselves into believing that delay is necessary. In reality, what’s happening has more to do with confidence that it does with waiting for an ideal moment.
We delay because we don’t trust our ability to make things happen. We tell ourselves to wait because we don’t want to fail and we don’t trust our capabilities.
Eventually, I hope sooner rather than later
It will become clear that there will never be an ideal moment to act. In fact, consider the words of Mark Victor Hansen when he said:
“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”
In order to realize the words of Mr. Hansen, we need to deal with issues we harbor regarding our ability to be confident in ourselves, and affirm what we are capable of.
Once you realize that timing or whatever excuse you give yourself isn’t the issue, then taking steps to boost your confidence should be your utmost priority. This post does not encompass everything you can do to reverse low self- esteem, but it’s a good place to start. Continue to read, and discover a few steps you can take that will boost your confidence, which could lead to better goal realization.
First, Let’s Do a Simple, powerful Capabilities Exercise
Using a journal or just a piece of paper, create a list of your achievements and the things you are good at and proud of. One purpose is to identify and acknowledge your strengths. Another reason for this exercise is classifying what you are good at forces you to consider your capabilities. As easy as this exercise may seem, it isn’t. It’s not so easy to praise yourself when you are doing the praising, unless you are an egotist.
The Seven Strategies
Acknowledge & Embrace Your Imperfections
A lot of the hang-ups we have when dealing with self-confidence issues relate to things we want to change about ourselves, but assume we can’t. We let our deficiencies dictate the aspects of our lives we find inadequate. In reality, perfection doesn’t exist. Each of us posses flaws and insecurities that’s a part of who we are. How we deal with those traits, how we react and compensate for them, is key.
So how do you embrace your imperfections? It’s subjective for each of us, but there are general steps you can take. One major step to consider is to not just embrace your imperfections, but use them to guide ways in which you can improve yourself. Having a flaw isn’t a detriment. But it requires acceptance. Such as admitting to yourself what you can do and what you can’t, while compensating without self-ridicule.
Let’s use starting a business as an example. Even if you have an MBA, there will be things about running a business you will find tedious or way beyond what you are good at. What do you do in such an instance? Do you berate yourself for not being able to build that website, or crunch those numbers? Or do you compensate? Acceptance is such an important part of building self-confidence, and if we can learn to assent to what we identify as a fault, embrace it, compensate for it, and then move on, we will be one step closer to boosting self-confidence.
Be Aware of Outside Influences
When we are insecure about any aspect of your life, the last thing you need is outside factors contributing to your negative mindset. Outside influences of any kind can either build you up or tear you down. The media, friends, co-workers, family members, they all influence what you think and feel. If you want to change your perception of self, start by examining the people in your circle of influence.
Consider the friends you grew up with or even work with. Good friends are not always excellent mentors. When you lack the ability to have faith in yourself, it’s never a good idea to seek the support of friends who don’t have faith in your abilities. Sometimes their lack of support has more to do with their own inadequacies and nothing to do with your capabilities. Just because your friends don’t give credence to their capabilities, it doesn’t mean you should experience the same.
Your friends, family and anyone who crosses your path can influence your psyche and will either guide you towards your goals, or push you further away from them. Pay attention to the type of people you associate with and remember they affect who you are or hope to be.
Your Mindset Is A Contributing Factor
What you conceive is what you project. Your thoughts can either strengthen you or they can weaken you. If you are not making the type of progress you want, it’s not an excuse for self-pity or to think negatively. Your mindset can be a big detriment to building confidence. Watch your thoughts and don’t let frustration guide your choices. Do your best to not only project a proactive attitude internally and externally. Your thoughts are the building block of anything you want to achieve.
Build Your Knowledge Base & Your Self-Confidence
We all experience fear on some level; it’s a part of human nature. Unfortunately, some of us let fear incapacitate us and prevent the type of growth we want. I found this quote by Rabbi Levi Brackman on Fast Company’s website… “To start something new, leave something behind. There is a fear of the unknown. The first step is to overcome your fear.” To not be victorious and let fear dictate our lives, a rippling effect of inaction and procrastination will occur. You’re afraid of what may or may not happen, so we don’t take risks. Which brings us back to Rabbi Brackman’s quote above and dealing with the unknown.
Even more pervasive is an inability to identify fear and its effect. We don’t always recognize fear stops us from moving towards the goals we set, hampers our efforts to have a quality life, and, worth saying again, influences our capacity to act. We don’t always fear and it’s impact on our lives because of how we identify our emotions. Is the emotion anxiety, stress, shyness, nervousness or well-concealed fear?
Fear is not selective. We all exhibit it. How we deal with it is the defining factor. For some, fear is a motivator, for others it paralyzes. It’s worth acknowledging the major differences in how different people deal with fear. For example, consider debilitating fear. The feelings may be the identifying factors mention above: nervousness, stress. For those who view fear as a motivator, the inclination could be excitement, eagerness. How we choose to define fear determines its power. One surefire way to reduce your ability to be confident is to let fear overcome you.
Tackle Goals Incrementally
A part of building self-confidence is to achieve success from our efforts. Immediate success can happen when we pursue goals incrementally. With incremental process, goals are more achievable and seem less daunting.
It’s never a good idea to expect overnight success or to tackle any goal quickly or all at once. While it is possible to be successful with this technique, it’s also very possible to fail–which will cause feelings of uncertainty, which will erode your confidence.
One of the hardest things to attain is absolute confidence. We each have instincts of confidence in some areas of our life and not in others. Unfortunately, in order to be truly successful in any endeavors, it’s important to build and sustain confidence throughout all areas of our lives. Yes, confidence is a key ingredient to success, and taking steps to boost it will only contribute to the efforts you make every day to reach your desired goals.