4 Practical Ways to Build Confidence in Yourself
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines confidence as “a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something”. It is a feeling and a state of mind that propels you forward into doing things. It is a strong, intangible force that may determine whether you succeed or fail at something.
Do a quick inventory of the people you know and identify at least 5 people who, in your opinion, are confident.
What do they have in common? What aura and energy do they exude? What are their personalities like? How do you feel when you’re interacting with them?
Confidence affects a person’s self-esteem and the way they interact with people. It influences the way they show up, talk, choose, even the way they eat!
Struggling to feel confident? Here are 4 very practical ways that you can start building confidence in yourself.
Start with the small things
Confidence, as important as it is, doesn't happen overnight. There is no juice, pill, workout, or cleanse that you can do that will make you confident in a snap of a finger.
It doesn't work that way.
Confidence is a skill that you need to nurture, practice and put effort into so you can see results. You build and increase confidence by accomplishing things, by getting things done.
Everyone and their mom were all up in Adele's business when she lost a lot of weight. While people only saw the change in her physical looks, Adele says "it's not even about the weight". She was going through a tough time and she didn't know how to navigate her day but her daily 9 am workouts gave her a semblance of order.
She didn't know what would happen throughout the day but showing up at 9 am and allowing herself to get this seemingly small task done every single day gave her a sense of purpose.
The more you get things done, the more your confidence increases.
Navy SEAL Commander Admiral William McRaven says that making your bed every morning helps you get into the right state of mind for the rest of the day for the simple reason that you’ve already accomplished one thing - you’ve made your bed.
This simple act will propel you towards achieving more simple tasks and prepare you to move on to more complex tasks.
Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself doesn’t just mean buying a whole new wardrobe every time there’s a sale in H&M or Zara. While looking presentable undeniably adds a ton to your confidence tank, investing in what’s inside is equally important as well.
Do you need to be an extrovert to be viewed as confident? Not necessarily.
Confidence doesn't just mean you’re the life of the party or you know the right things to say, rather it is knowing what to say, how to say and when to say it.
How will you know what to say when you don’t know what you’re talking about?
Investing in yourself can be in the form of doing new things, enrolling in classes about things you’ve always wanted to learn, or going to places you’ve always wanted to go.
If you feel good on the inside, then chances are, you’re going to feel good on the outside. Invest in your health and make sure you’re putting in the mental focus and effort to take care of your health.
Practice and prepare
Confidence comes from knowing you are good at what you do.
How do you get better? You prepare and practice. You do your homework because those who don't get exposed very easily.
The “fake it ‘til you make it” culture is not only exhausting physically and emotionally exhausting, but it also lacks finesse and puts your past accomplishments in a precarious situation.
It may work for some time, but building your confidence based on whether you can stomach another round of treatment that you know is beneath you, will have a toll on your self-esteem and mental health.
It may work in the short term, but it's not a strategy you want to put all your energy in.
Building confidence through practice and preparation may be a slow run, but it's sustainable and a win-win.
Not only do you get to weed out opportunities and people who are not the right fit for you, but you also build enough discernment to know what's best for you.
Want to be confident for a job interview? Research the company you're interviewing for. Find out what their culture is like and talk to people who can give you honest insights.
Don't stop there, in order to exude a level of confidence that'll make the hiring manager go crazy about hiring you, you have to treat the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation.
How? Ask sensible, thought-provoking questions! Make them sell their company as a workplace that you’d want to spend your working hours, talents and skills at.
Be your own cheerleader
This one may mean looking inwardly and evaluating years of conditioning, but this is such an important part of building confidence.
Ask yourself these questions:
Why is it so easy for you to applaud someone for their accomplishments, but so hard for you to recognize your own? Why do you always tend to downplay it and credit it to luck or any other reason, rather than from your very own ability to accomplish it?
Why is it so easy to say amazing things to describe someone but a tad too difficult to say something positive about yourself?
Why do you get so uncomfortable when someone compliments your work, or your shirt, or your looks?
Say you’re doing a major project and 90% of the work was done on time, and 10% was late. How is it that you’re too focused on beating yourself up for the remaining 10% but find it hard to celebrate yourself for the rest?
Recognizing that you’re amazing is not being conceited, nor being arrogant. It is an important part of the confidence-building process, therefore shouldn’t be ignored. You can’t say you’re confident, and then beat yourself up for every minuscule thing that didn’t go according to plan.
The next time someone asks you about what you do, speak positively about you and your work. Speaking “positively” doesn’t necessarily mean bragging, especially if you stick to the truth.
The next time someone asks you to do something at work and it’s out of your bandwidth, refuse politely. Standing up for yourself may be difficult, but setting boundaries is important and people should know you’re serious about them.
Most importantly, be patient with yourself. Confidence doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen very easily. It’s hard work and would require you to step miles away from your comfort zone most of the time.
But if you make the first step today, and the second step tomorrow, and so forth, you’ll be surprised at how far you have come.
Hero Image by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash