6 Tips To Growing Your Confidence

I find that confidence is one of the most desired qualities that most of us wish they had more of it. We are all born confident – we demand and our needs are met instantly. But then through education, experience and culture, we begin to doubt in our own qualities and abilities. We learn that we should be careful, as otherwise bad things may happen if we take risks. We learn that we shouldn’t ask for things, as that’s selfish and not ‘nice’. We learn that good things happen to those who wait, so why bother doing something outside of your comfort zone? By no means I’m promoting overconfidence, as it can be even more damaging than the lack of it. To me true confidence is a quiet confidence that doesn’t need limelight to thrive. You should know what super-powers you have and be able to tap into these when you need them. At the same time, it’s also important to be aware of your limitations and know how to manage them. Keep in mind that there is no silver bullet and building confidence is a process, so don’t expect the change to happen overnight. However, there are some simple techniques that you can start applying to grow self-awareness and confidence. 1. Keep a gratitude journal Get into a habit of writing down all the positive things that happened to you or because of you. We have a natural tendency to sense threat (real or imagined) and our thoughts often turn negative, which prevents us from taking actions. It is not easy to change that, so do something that you can control. Balance your negative thoughts with positive ones by recording the good events. Even the smallest thing that made you feel good is worth writing down. Devote 5-10 minutes each day for this activity. You will be surprised how effective this can be with building confidence. 2. Find a mentor Having regular meetups with a person you admire, who is perhaps where you want to be one day, is an excellent way to boost your confidence. All you need is an action plan and some guidance to achieve your goals. I know, finding a mentor, when your confidence is low, may seem like a big ask. The last thing you may want is to face someone, who intimidates you, but you will thank me later. There are lots of free to sign up mentoring sites or apps (try Shapr, Meetup, Meet a Mentor) where you can chat online to someone from your field or meet them in person for a coffee. Lots of successful people decide to become mentors because they’ve been in the same position before and now they want to give back. Don’t think too much about it, start that conversation and see how it goes. 3. Liberate yourself from negative people Cut down on your interactions with toxic people, who weigh you down rather than boost you up. I understand there are situations, where you may not be able to (or want to) completely eliminate the negative people from your life. However, you can try to spend less time listening to complaints and instead surround yourself with people with high energy and a positive attitude. That stuff is contagious! Apparently, you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with, so choose them carefully. 4. Schtum your inner critic Ever heard voices in your head? Good, you are sane then! Even the most confident people will tell you they sometimes have doubts about their own abilities and criticise themselves. Sometimes we need that red warning light to think about the consequences of our actions and see into the future. The trick is to manage that voice not allowing it to paralyse you. Try to rationalise your fears, as the problem usually appears bigger than it actually is. Next time you start to be hard on yourself, pause for a moment and have an inner dialog with yourself. Why am I feeling this way? Where is this coming from? What can I do to improve the situation? Once you understand your fears, move on and take action! 5. Visualise ideal outcome To quote Pablo Picasso: “Everything you can imagine is real”. Treat visualisation as a dry run of what you intend to do. For example, if you want to ask your boss for a raise, visualise this conversation first. The more vivid picture you create, the better. So stand up, use your voice and body language, make clear points and visualise a positive outcome. Rehearsing future situations will make you feel more comfortable once you face them. Seeing yourself achieving your goals will engage your brain that will try to find ways to make this vision a reality. 6. Use your body language This is one of my pet topics, as I’m completely fascinated by the power of body language. Despite what some people may say, appearances matter. Even the kindest souls unconsciously judge others by how they look, how they speak, how they make them feel. The first step is to be aware of your body and how you behave in certain situations. The second step is to replace negative habits with positive ones, so you gain more credibility and presence. Perhaps you will notice that you slouch and break the eye-contact when attention is on you. So, as you become aware of your body language, next time try to straighten up (it gives your body a signal that you are ready for a challenge) and keep the eye contact (it improves your credibility). I will cover some useful techniques in more detail in a separate post, as I feel this deserves a much bigger space. The techniques I mentioned above have helped me to boost my confidence. I used some more than others, but I recommend that you give all of them a go. You can then always focus more on one or two that show the best results. This list is by no means extensive, as there are more ways to grow your confidence, like meditation or affirmations. However, it is a good start and I’m looking forward to hearing from you what has worked for you. article by Gosia Szwed-Pruvot