Self-confidence is a huge topic and a very complex one. If you clicked on the title of this post it may be because you think you are not that confident or because you would like to be more so. Well, the first thing to remember is that you are most definitely not alone. Most people have struggled with self confidence at some point in our lives.
Although I am by no means an expert, I was inspired to write about this today after my daily Headspace. Headspace is a mindfulness app that I think I have talked about before. I started using it last year when I bought a subscription after using the 10 free sessions. After a while you have access to different modules and the one I am currently listening to is focused on self confidence. I'm a person who comes across very confident on the surface, and at my core I am also fairly confident, but it is that middle layer that I have had to work on, and today I wanted to share my thoughts and the things that have helped me along the way. I hope you find it helpful.
Firstly, I wanted to say that I don't know a single person who is confident in every situation. There are environments where we feel more comfortable and some where we feel like fish out of water. It is perfectly normal and we should never expect ourselves to be so self assured no matter when or where we are.
WHAT HINDERS OUR SELF CONFIDENCE
I think that what tends to make us feel less confident are the past and the future. Past experiences that have been painful or where we have been unsuccessful at what we tried can make us feel like we aren't good at it. You know, you've had a few bad dates and you tell yourself you are terrible at dating. Or you tried to take up running years ago but it didn't last. Just because something didn't work in the past doesn't mean that it will never work again. You may have more motivation this time and you will end up running three times a week, or perhaps you will meet someone you feel very comfortable with!
On the other side of the spectrum, the fear of failure can hold us back as well, and is often a cause for our confidence to be through the floor. What if I can't do it? What if I say what I think and everyone thinks I'm stupid? I would invite you to flip it completely and think: What if I CAN do it? How amazing would that make you feel?
9 STEPS TO BUILD SELF CONFIDENCE
1. For me pretty much everything starts with a bit of reflection. Sit down and think about the situations that make you feel self conscious and not very confident and the reasons why you are feeling that way. Sometimes just realising that something far away in the past is triggering that feeling can make you snap out of it and realise there is no real reason why you should doubt yourself.
2. Now write down the situations that make you feel confident and why this is. A mentor once introduced me to the idea of "appreciative inquiry" and encouraged me to sit down after a good meeting and write down why this was. It helped me realise what I was doing during those moments and recognise my skills and my strengths to build on them, rather than beat myself up about what I wasn't so great at. This simple way of focusing on the positive instead of the negative can make you feel so different about yourself.
3. Write yourself a positive message. This can be a list of things you do well or an inspiring quote that means something to you.
4. Read it often. I have a quote by Tina Fey that really resonates with me right now. It says: Do your think and don't care if they like it. I wrote it on the blackboard in the kitchen and see it every day, and it is a positive reminder for me.
5. Spend time doing things that you are good at. This will inevitably make you feel good about yourself.
6. Take on a challenge, do something that scares you, something you think you're not great at yet, and go into it with an open mind!
7. Accept that you will be great at some things and not so great at others. So is the rest of the world. It is ok.
8. If you get stuck, talk to someone you love and trust: a friend, a family member, a colleague... Often others see our strengths much more easily than we do.
9. Finally, when you do well, give yourself the time to feel good about it!
Hope you enjoyed these tips and please share any others that you may have.