How To Boost Your Confidence
Confidence is not something that can be learned like a set of rules; confidence is a state of mind.
Positive thinking, practice, training, knowledge and talking to other people are all useful ways to help improve or boost your confidence levels.
Confidence comes from feelings of well-being, acceptance of your body and mind (your self-esteem) and belief in your own ability, skills and experience. Confidence is an attribute that most people would like to possess.
What is Self-Confidence?
Although self-confidence can mean different things to different people, in reality it simply means having faith in yourself.
Confidence is in part, a result of how we have been brought up and how we’ve been taught.
We learn from others how to think about ourselves and how to behave – these lessons affect what we believe about ourselves and other people.
Confidence is also a result of our experiences and how we’ve learned to react to different situations.
Self-confidence is not a static measure. Our confidence to perform roles and tasks and deal with situations can increase and decrease, and some days we may feel more confident than others.
Low-confidence can be a result of many factors including: fear of the unknown, criticism, being unhappy with personal appearance (self-esteem), feeling unprepared, poor time-management, lack of knowledge and previous failures.
Often when we lack confidence in ourselves it is because of what we believe others will think of us. Perhaps others will laugh at us or complain or make fun if we make a mistake.
Thinking like this can prevent us from doing things we want or need to do because we believe that the consequences are too painful or embarrassing.
Over-confidence can be a problem if it makes you believe that you can do anything – even if you don’t have the necessary skills, abilities and knowledge to do it well. In such situations over-confidence can lead to failure.
Being overly confident also means you are more likely to come across to other people as arrogant or egotistical.
People are much more likely to take pleasure in your failure if you are perceived as arrogant.
Performing a role or completing a task confidently is not about not making mistakes.
Mistakes are inevitable, especially when doing something new.
Confidence includes knowing what to do when mistakes come to light and therefore is also about problem solving and decision making.
Whatever you do, aim to become as good as you can. The better you are at doing something the more confident you become.
Being assertive means standing up for what you believe in and sticking to your principles.
Being assertive also means that you can change your mind if you believe it is the right thing to do, not because you are under pressure from somebody else.
Assertiveness, confidence and self-esteem are all very closely linked – usually people become naturally more assertive as they develop their confidence.
There is usually a correlation between confidence and calmness.
If you feel confident about a task then you will likely feel calm about doing it.
When you feel less confident you are more likely to be stressed or nervous.
Trying to remain calm, even when you’re under stress and pressure, will tend to make you feel more confident.
To do this it is useful to learn how to relax. Learn at least one relaxation technique that works for you and that you can use if you’re feeling stressed.
This may be as simple as taking some deliberate deep breaths both in and out.
Arrogance is detrimental to interpersonal relationships. As your confidence grows and you become successful, avoid feeling or acting superior to others.
Remember – nobody is perfect and there is always more that you can learn. Celebrate your strengths and successes, and recognise your weaknesses and failures.
Give others credit for their work – use compliments and praise sincerely. Be courteous and polite, show an interest in what others are doing, ask questions and get involved.
Admit to your mistakes and be prepared to laugh at yourself!
Developing Your Self-Confidence Skills
Self-confidence can diminish over time if you don’t practise your skills or if you hit set-backs.
As you become more self-confident you should continue to practise your skills to maintain and boost your confidence further.
Set yourself ‘confidence targets’ that require you to step out of your comfort zone and do things that make you feel a degree of nervousness or apprehension.
Potential confidence targets may include:
Start a task or project that you’ve been putting off for a long time. Often, we put off starting important tasks because they seem overwhelming, difficult or awkward to complete.
Simply making a start on such a task can boost confidence and make you more inclined to complete it.
Make a complaint in a restaurant if there is a problem with your order. If you would not usually complain about a problem then doing so is a good way to improve your confidence and assertiveness skills.
Stand up and ask a question at a public meeting or in a group.
By doing this you are making yourself the centre of attention for a few minutes.
Volunteer to give a presentation or make a speech. For many people speaking to a group of people is a particularly scary prospect.
The best way to overcome this fear and gain confidence is with experience.
Introduce yourself to somebody new. This could be somewhere where people have something in common – like at a party or a conference, making it potentially easier to have a conversation, Or you could talk to a complete stranger in a lift/elevator.
Wear something that will draw attention – such as a garish colour. Personal appearance is an important factor in self-esteem and people with lower self-esteem tend to try not to be noticed.
Make a statement and stand out in a crowd! Join a group or class in your community. You will potentially benefit in lots of different ways by meeting new local people and learning new things while improving your confidence. CLICK HERE to know why your comfort zone is killing you
Take an unfamiliar journey on public transport. Travelling to a new place using an unfamiliar route and with random people will make most people feel at least slightly uncomfortable.
How do you feel about each of the ideas on the list above? Perhaps some gave you minor feelings of butterflies whereas others filled you with dread.
Although the list uses common examples of potentially confidence boosting tasks none may be right for you.
Think of some confidence targets that are right for you – then start with easier ones and build up.