I consider myself to be a highly confident person. I thank my parents for this. From a very young age, they enlisted me in activities they felt could help build my confidence. I took dance and gymnastics, played sports, and was part of our local theater company. In my late teens, I added modeling to the list.
All of the extracurriculars I engaged in have four essential variables that influence one’s confidence:
- The ability to develop new skills and experience what success and winning feels like.
- Losing and rejection. As an athlete, losing is part of the landscape. Theater and modeling are ripe with rejection. You don’t get the job or the part a lot of the time!
I didn’t just wake up one day and have my “confidence cape” on; I went through the worst awkward stage in my pre-teens, looked like a boy, and towered over my peers. It took many years for me to experience real confidence. I faked it very well before that, but as most of us know, when we fake anything we never really enjoy the full the benefits that can positively impact our lives.
The other thing about confidence is you may feel an abundance in some regions of your life and lack it in others. For me, I was confident in my athletic and work abilities, but not as much in my intimate relationships, my looks, and specific academic subjects. I had to put a lot of attention in these areas to eliminate the self-doubt I was carrying around.
So, how do you continue to strengthen your confidence factor and strike a balance in all concentrations of your life? Here are ten practices I think can help:
- Set small, realistic goals. So many of us focus on the big picture and our “ultimate goals” that we delay the feeling of success. When you create small benchmarks and you achieve them, you have something to celebrate and pat yourself on the back for. The more times you can do this for yourself the more accomplished and confident you will feel. For example, you may have a goal of working out three days a week – something you haven’t done in a long time. Don’t just dive in, and burn yourself out. Instead, set a goal to work out one day, for 30-minutes for the first two weeks. Next, increase that to 1-hour for two more weeks. Then, work out two days a week for 30-minutes at a time; repeat the 1-hour two-day routine for two more weeks. After this, you’re now working out three days a week for 30-minutes. From here you can add on time and incorporate different types of exercise. Maybe you start with walking and work your way up to join a CrossFit gym. Whatever you choose, anything in small doses will help you enormously.
- Bask in your glories. This relates to reflection. Think about all the moments in your life when you felt your best. Maybe you won an award, attended a conference, bought your first home, or went on a dream vacation. Let those feelings from those moments filter into to your current state of consciousness. When we allow ourselves to experience these memories in the now, we’re creating joy, which creates happiness, which creates positive thinking, which leads to confidence. How many times have you gathered with friends and gone down memory lane? The statement always starts with, “remember when…”, the story is told, and laughter erupts. In these experiences, you’re generating positive energy. The more you can do this for yourself, the more jolts to your confidence you will receive.
- Preach what YOU want. Do you find it’s often easier to give the people in your life the encouraging words or actions they need to help them feel confident, but it’s a challenge for you to do the same for yourself? If so, start to practice what you preach. To do this, you have to speak positively to yourself. Whether it’s out loud or in your head, work on changing negative feelings into positive ones. Rather than say “They wouldn’t hire me anyway, so I’m not going to submit my resume,” frame it this way, “I’m going to submit my resume. I may not get the job, but maybe there will be another position they will consider me for. Either way, I know I tried.”
- Rise above and remove negativity. Negative people are toxic and detrimental circumstances can crush you – if you let them! Examine your circle of family and friends. Are there people who bring you down, or make you feel bad about yourself? If so, you either need to remove them from your life completely, or limit the amount of time you’re going to let them infiltrate your life. There are people in my life I can’t detach from completely, so I limit the amount of time I spend with them. If someone is compromising your well-being in any way, you need to take control of your exposure to them. LET HATERS HATE! Never, ever let your haters get the better of you. They’re acting this way because they’re jealous of you, lack securities and confidence, and live with a negative paradigm. If your negative influence is an environment – your home, or work – is staying there worth desecrating your confidence and self-worth? We all get one life. Do you want to spend yours in negativity? I’m sure the answer is NO. If you feel stuck, helpless, or confused, you need to ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
- Challenge yourself by trying something new. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but are too scared to try? Does your schedule preclude you from introducing something new in your life? If so, you’re not making yourself a priority. You can’t put yourself last or limit your possibilities if you want to advance your confidence. One thing about me is that I’m not very graceful. My limbs are long, I lack flexibility, and I walk into everything. This has not stopped me from teaching myself BALLET – a 45-year old woman teaching herself a dance that requires all the physical characteristics she lacks. I’m doing this so that I can join an adult ballet class in January. I look ridiculous and my daughter hoots at me every chance she can get. I don’t care because I love how I feel when I’m doing it, and I love the challenge. I’m making my body move in ways it’s never done before, and that’s exhilarating.
- Face a fear. We all fear at least one thing. What is a fear you can focus on tackling? Pick just one, and dedicate as much time as possible working to overcome it. The first thing I recommend is to figure out why you have the fear in the first place and where it manifests from. You may need professional help to get these answers, but it will be worth it! If you fear speaking in public, take a class or practice it with colleagues or family members until you know you can walk into a room of strangers and captivate them with your words. If you fear flying, learn everything you possibly can about planes. Here’s a thought: learn to fly or skydive. I’m pretty sure these actions will help you squash your fears.
- Never stop learning. Knowledge is power, and it increases confidence levels; when you feel confident in what you know extraordinary things begin to happen. More doors open, you’re able to create opportunities instead of waiting for them. Learning about planes may become a passion. The passion may inspire you to become a pilot. The more we know, the stronger we become. If you feel like you have nothing left to learn then you won’t continue to develop and discover.
- Fail and forgive. Every one of us is going to have failing moments in life. It’s inevitable. It’s essential that when this happens, you forgive yourself quickly. When we fail, we have an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and make positive changes in our lives. Failure can be beneficially transformative. If you beat yourself up over your failures, you close yourself off from the benefits that come from them. Be gentle with yourself, and move on to greener pastures.
- Incorporate affirmations and create a mantra. When we read and speak the things that we want – emotions we want to feel – ways we want to live, we strengthen the way we view ourselves and our interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. Find a time in your day – every day – when you can peacefully be affirmed. It needs to become a habit for it to make real change in your confidence. I find the evenings are best for me; after everyone has gone to bed.
- Surround yourself with smart, inspiring people. We’re judged by the company we keep, right? We know this, so with this wisdom find times to engage with people who can teach you something, challenge your views, and offer a different perspective on things. Are there people in your world who inspire you, and that you have deep admiration for? If so, replace them with the negative nelly’s you’ve kicked to the curb. Great people, make people feel great!
Need help with your confidence mojo? Learn more about my life mentoring program, and contact me for a complimentary consultation. I’m here to help you be the best YOU possible!
With all the love in my heart!