The Secret to Building Self Confidence
You see a power couple walking down the street, she is tall and striking, he is dark and handsome, they exude confidence as they strut down the street. “I wish I had that kind of confidence.” you think as you move to the side to let them pass. You can have that kind of confidence. Confidence is not something you are born with, it’s something that is built up over the course of your life. Building self-confidence takes time, but you can do it.
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Everyone has Doubts Sometimes
Even the power couple in the first paragraph will have doubts about something they are doing or something they are planning to do. No one goes through life without questioning themselves. However, there are a few key things that people with self-confidence know that allows them to combat those doubts instead of being paralyzed by them.
- People who have self-confidence realize that failure is not the end of the world. Failure is something you need in your life. It motivates you and teaches you and people who have self-confidence know that if they fail at something life will go on.
- People with self-confidence are not embarrassed by their self-doubts. They do not hide them from others but rather discuss the issue with a friend or colleague. This allows them to see if their concern has any actual merit. (I am not talking about self-aggrandizing compliment hunters, I am talking about people who discuss the actions they are taking verses “does my butt look big in these jeans”.)
- People with self-confidence can laugh at themselves, even in public. Ever seen someone do something amazingly awkward on stage, then laugh it off and keep going? That person has enough self-confidence to know the people in the audience are laughing because it was funny, not because they are being mean-spirited.
A Few Rules of Thumb
This type of advice is great for any situation, but it is essential when you are building your self-confidence. These 3 things are something you really need to keep in mind if you are in the beginning stages of building your self-confidence.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. You have no idea how they got where they are, or what challenges they have faced.
- Surround yourself with people you look up to. Building self-confidence isn’t easy but when someone you look up to tells gives you advice or tells you your awesome, it is an instant confidence booster. Don’t shy away from these people. Let them help you, it will build their confidence too.
- Get rid of negative Nellys. If you have a friend that is always telling you why you can’t or shouldn’t do something, ditch them. Negative people drag down the people around them. It is their way of building themselves up. Don’t be someone else’s crutch, get rid of the negative people in your life.
Building Self Confidence: The Snowball Effect
So how do you start building your self-confidence? This part is mentally hard but probably physically easy. The secret to building your self-confidence is to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Not a huge challenge, you don’t want to go from 0 mph to 100 mph in one day, but going 0 mph to 10 mph will start you on the way to building self-confidence. Once you are comfortable with 10 mph, you can try 15, then maybe 20. Your confidence snowballs as you push a little farther and a little farther out of your comfort zone.
You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. Each step gives you the confidence to go a little bit further in your life. That first baby step might feel like you are stepping off a cliff, but you have to have a little faith in yourself and take that first little step. When you find you did not die, the world did not end and hey you can actually do this, smiles and confidence come naturally.
When Your Confidence is Shaken
Everyone has ups and downs and there are circumstances in life that can shake us to the core. Getting up and rebuilding your confidence after one of these incidents is tough. If something knocks you down you have to get back up, but you can use these things to take a minute and see what happened.
Evaluate Your Situation
What went right, and what went wrong. Give yourself a little bit of time to reflect and figure out where things started to go south. What action could you have taken to change the outcome for the better? Come up with a few things you could have changed so you will know how to handle the situation in the future. After you come up with a few ideas, get back out there and try again.
It is okay to take a step back to try and regaining your footing, but don’t avoid the situation altogether. Maybe you were at 50 mph, stepping back to 40 mph might be the right thing to do to regain a little confidence before pushing forward. We all have setbacks in life, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again.
Employ a Professional
Sometimes in whatever we are doing in life, we need a little help. If you decide to take up rock climbing, you are probably going to take a few lessons from a professional before you go out and try and climb anything. Why wouldn’t you do that with the rest of your life? If you are having trouble in any aspect of your life, professional or personal, there is someone out there that gets paid to help you out. There are business classes, computer classes, life coaches and business coaches. If you are really stuck, do not be afraid to hire someone to help you out.
The Avoidance Parable
Once upon a time, a girl bought a horse. She had dreamed of owning a horse her whole life and was so excited to fulfill her life-long dream. One day she was out trail riding and the horse spooked at a deer and the girl fell off. The girl thought about what she could do differently and she figured if she just didn’t trail ride, the horse couldn’t spook at the deer.
The next day she came out and got on her horse and rode him in a big sunny field, a bunny hopped away as they came toward him and her horse spooked and she fell off. She thought about it and decided that if she just didn’t ride in the big field, the horse wouldn’t have the opportunity to spook at the bunny.
The next day she came out and rode the horse in the small ring, a dog ran by the ring, the horse spooked and she fell off. She thought about it and decided she just wouldn’t ride at all. She drove home dejected, feeling like a bruised up failure.
In this little parable the girl with the horse could have started in the small ring and built herself up to trail riding, she could have taken lessons to improve her riding or she could have hired a professional rider to help her out. Avoiding a situation will kill your self-confidence faster than anything else. Avoidance is not an action!
A Few Additional Resources
Building Confidence: Get Motivated, Overcome Social Fear, Be Assertive, and Empower Your Life For Success. This book covers a lot of ground, not only for building self-confidence but for motivating you and inspiring you to do more. After each chapter author and life coach Barrie Davenport gives you exercises to help you build your self-confidence.
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. This book is a guide to getting out of a self-hate spiral. While not exactly about self-confidence, this might be the first baby step you need to take. You can not have self-confidence if you are drowning it self-hate messages. This book is on the Amazon best sellers list and gets great reviews. The author has traveled all over the world and done some amazing things, but in his eyes “Learning to love myself was the most important” Love yourself first, then you can move on.
If you aren’t ready to dive into a whole book, this article from life hack might suit you better. A list of 63 quick ways to boost your self-confidence you can implement today.
You Can Do This
Building self-confidence is something anyone can do. In fact, everyone probably needs to do it. So step out of your comfort zone and give yourself a little challenge. If it doesn’t work out quite how you expected it, reevaluate. Take a failure or a mishap as an opportunity to learn. Learn to laugh at yourself when you fall down, a little humor always helps. Employ a pro if you are really stuck. Whatever it is, get out there and try. My Mom always told me that life would not serve me everything I wanted on a silver platter. I had to get out there and try. As usual, Mom was right.