If you were able to maintain a level of self-confidence that no circumstance could shake, what would you be doing differently? Just imagine the things you would accomplish if you were confident that you COULD.
This kind of confidence comes from positive self-imaging, and it is something that you can proactively build for yourself. It doesn’t happen while you wait passively. When you leave it up to external factors, you build your self-confidence on sandy ground. What you need is a rock-solid foundation, and this only comes from building it from within.
Plenty has been written about building self-confidence – creating a plan, setting goals, finding the right mentor, etc. – but today we’re going to take a look at seven ways that are not as widely discussed:
1. Take chances that make you feel uncomfortable.
The moment you doubt whether you can do something, you cease forever to be able to do it. Don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to look uneasy and a little silly in front of others.
Running around in your underwear isn’t the solution we’re talking about here, although I’m sure that would feel uncomfortable and look pretty silly. What we are talking about is growing your inner strength and building your confidence by occasionally putting yourself in situations where you are forced to overcome new and unknown obstacles.
It’s all about your commitment to learning, adapting and growing. Decide that your visions and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations. Dare to try. Step outside of your comfort zone. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. (Read Daring Greatly.)
2. Fail fast and fail often.
You must encounter many defeats to learn how to not be defeated. Failing is a process of learning; it helps you grow and know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still rise after you fall. It is this process that boosts your confidence gradually over the course of your lifetime.
You have to remember that it doesn’t matter how many times you fail or how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop taking steps forward. In the end, those who don’t care that failure is inevitable are the ones that most often achieve success.
3. Be wrong and be OK with it.
You don’t have to always be right, you just have to not be too worried about being wrong.
Just like occasional failures, being wrong from time to time is inevitable. People who take the position of always being right aren’t confident, they’re cocky. They think they know everything and they want you to know it too. Ironically, their need to always be right imprisons them from being able to learn from their mistakes.
To build true confidence, you have to not mind being wrong. You have to take a stand, and then admit it if and when you realize your standpoint is wrong. It’s a process of trial and error that helps you discover what IS right. And finding out what is right is a lot more important than always being right.
Bottom line: When you’re wrong, admit it and be secure enough to back down graciously, adjust and carry on. (Read Carry On, Warrior.)
4. Compliment others and help them smile.
The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion, compassion, humor, generosity and kindness, and using these tools to make the world a happier place.
When we think negatively about ourselves, we typically project these feelings on to others in the form of insults, gossip and incidental neglect. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. If someone looks nice, tell them. If someone does a good job, applaud them. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to compliment those around you. In the process, you’ll help these people smile, which will help you feel good about yourself.
By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.
5. Laugh in the face of frustration.
The best medicine is a strong dose of laughter and letting go.
When things don’t go as planned, laughing or crying are often the only two options left, because they are both instinctive human responses to frustration. Both are OK, but laughing usually feels better.
Sometimes a little self-invoked humor is all you need to lift your spirits and light the path forward. Even in your darkest moments, strive to see the lighter side of a situation and crack a smile. Doing so will help you think positively and reawaken your confidence about all the possibilities that still exist on the road ahead.
6. Ignore what most people think of you.
How would your life be different if you stopped allowing people who don’t matter to poison your mind with their opinions?
Do you have 5K Facebook friends and 20K Twitter follows? Good for you. Do you have a professional and personal social network of hundreds or even thousands? That’s great. Just don’t forget that this massive network of acquaintances pales in comparison to the importance of earning and maintaining the trust and respect of the few people in your life who actually matter – your close family members and real friends. When you earn the trust and respect of these special people, no matter where you go or what you attempt to do, you will do it with a sense of confidence, because you will know the people who truly matter are truly behind you.
Let today be the day you stand strong in the limelight of your own truth, without seeking needless external validation. Accept no one’s definition of your life except your own, and seek approval only from the people who truly matter in your life. (This is something Angel and I discuss in the Relationships and Self-Love chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
7. Begin right NOW.
To resist at the beginning is always the easiest choice to make, and it’s also the only choice that guarantees you will never reach the end result you desire.
Too often we fall victim to our own waiting. We feel we have to wait for just the right moment: To be promoted, to be appointed, to be ready, to be somehow chosen by the powers above, as if there will suddenly be a moment when everything makes perfect sense and the road to our dreams is effortless.
But the truth is, it’s usually just a matter of thinking, “Why not me? Why not now?”
Right now, in today’s digital, interconnected world, you have access to everything you need. You can connect with almost anyone you need to know through social media. You can build your own relationships and professional networks. You can design and create your own portfolio and products. You can use blogging and content marketing to attract attention, customers and funding. You can choose your own path – you can choose to follow whatever course you wish.
Right now, without calling attention to yourself, you can begin to make things happen. You can take a small step forward, and then another, and grow more capable and more confident with every new step you take.
Let’s revisit the question I opened this post with: If you were able to maintain a level of self-confidence that no circumstance could shake, what would you be doing differently?
Also, what would you add to the list? What has helped you build your confidence? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Photo by: Akshay Moon