I am often asked how to increase confidence. My usual response is to ask how did you become confident in something you already do well?
I get a variety of responses to my question. Usually though the general idea is that they started to do something by initiating a first step. In most cases, they admitted to actively choosing to take a first step, then another, and another even though they were some what afraid. Practice often played a significant role in helping to build their confidence.
There are some basic physiological things you can do to help you be confident. For instance, remembering to breathe slowly and deeply is a way to calm yourself and bring more oxygen to your brain. This helps you make better choices and decisions when you run into problems or challenges.
Visualize the end result of what you want to accomplish. Then notice how you feel and act. Seeing yourself having successfully completed an important task acknowledges your strengths and resilience as you approach a new challenge. Then see yourself being confident as you complete each of the steps needed to be successful.
Listen to what you are telling yourself. Are you being positive and encouraging? Do you say things to yourself that indicate you believe accomplishing your goal is possible even if you make some mistakes or have to ask for support or help? Negative or put-down thoughts will only create fear and doubt.
In addition, here are five basic tips that will get you started:
- Recognize that no one knows everything. Regardless of how harshly a manager or another person may criticize your errors, be assured he or she has made plenty of them. You may even remember a few if you try to.
- Experiment with presenting ideas about which you are less than 100% confident. See what happens when you express something about which you are only 90-95% confident. Give yourself a chance to learn that you can be successful without being 100% certain.
- Take realistic, strategic, calculated risks. Study your surroundings for cues about the culture in which you find yourself. Observe how others act and interact. Assess the potential costs of being incorrect in a particular situation. Compare these to the costs of inaction.
- Have faith in your ability to improve and perform. The success you have achieved thus far is not an accident. You would not be where you are unless you were competent and knowledgeable. Remind yourself of this fact.
- Be willing to tolerate discomfort. Taking a risk means stepping outside of your comfort zone. Realize this and choose to be confident anyway. People who take risks are people who have fear under control.
I hope you will choose several of these ideas this week to begin building your confidence in an area that is important to you.
What other ideas do you have to increase your confidence?
Until next time,