Confidence. We know it when we see it. We see it when the well-prepared student sits to take an exam. We see it when the highly trained athlete steps to the line. We see it when the well-educated and knowledgeable business person enters a meeting to offer a presentation.
Confidence. We see it in others, but sometimes have trouble finding it in ourselves. Why do they walk boldly into the lion’s den while you find yourself trembling outside? Why haven’t you been able to gather the confidence you need to be successful?
Here are six steps that will help you see yourself realistically and improve your confidence.
1. Take Stock
Sometimes, our lack of confidence can be because we don’t have a real picture of who we are. We let a past weakness or failure overshadow all of our strengths and successes.
Try drawing a line down the middle of a piece of paper and write your strengths and achievements on one half of the document and your weaknesses and failures, perceived or real, on the other side. Is it as unbalanced as you thought it would be?
Ask a trusted friend to look at your list. Do they agree with your assessment of yourself? Sometimes we are so busy focusing on our weaknesses that we forget our successes, or underplay them. We say “that was nothing” because we don’t want to appear proud or boastful. Be proud of your achievements.
2. Make a Plan
We all have weaknesses, but we don’t have to accept them. Go back to your list, and draw up a plan to improve one of your weaknesses. Do you wish you could run your own charity? Talk to someone running their charity to find out how they started. Do you wish you knew a different skill so you could find a better job? Talk to people doing that job and find out how they got there. Can you learn on your own? Take a course to help develop the skills you desire. Speak with your manager; let management know that you want to take on more responsibility; develop your skills.
There so many things you desire are within your power to achieve.
3. Do It!
Making a plan is an essential first step, but now it is time to strengthen the weaknesses you identified from your project. Visit the people you planned to visit. Read the books you need to read to learn that new skill. Register for a college class to get a certificate. This is the time to be bold, break out of your old shell and learn the skills and make the connections you need to be successful. Nothing breeds confidence like success, so after you feel you have fully achieved one of your goals, tackle another. Get in the habit of assessing yourself, making a plan and bringing about change.
4. Change your Body Language
Sometimes, someone walks into a room, and we see confidence. The way we hold ourselves affects how we feel and how confident we appear to others. So start walking tall – shoulders back, no more slouching.
Eye contact is also critical. You make eye contact with your friends, so why not with everyone else? Making and keeping eye contact shows confidence. The right amount of eye contact produces a mutual feeling of likability and trust.
Also, pay attention to your personal grooming. Clean, smart clothes and well-kept hair will help people perceive you as successful and confident. It will also make you feel good about yourself – when you feel good, you walk tall.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
5. Get rid of the Negative Voice
You know that negative voice in your head which tells you that you can’t do it, GET RID OF IT. Every time it says something negative, counteract it with two positive affirmations. Defeating your negative thoughts will increase your confidence.
6. Think About Your Friends and Acquaintances
The people we surround ourselves with can have a positive or negative impact on our confidence and our feelings of success. Are the people around you helping you achieve your goals or holding you back? If you are around people who are forever complaining, it can be hard to maintain a positive attitude. If you are around complacent people who are not interested in improving themselves, it can be challenging to be disciplined in following your plan to success. Try at all time to be around people who are supportive and encouraging. People who will motive you to be successful in your endeavours. You will find that as your confidence increases even more positive people will be drawn to you.
You deserve to be confident. Take control of your life, and you will be.