4 Keys to Build Up Your Confidence
Confidence, we all want more of it. But what is it? The myth is that others tend to be naturally confident throughout their lives and the rest of us are predestined to watch in awe as we question our every move. With social media being so prevalent, this feeling seems to be exacerbated. The good news is that, even though some individuals are predisposed with optimism and self-esteem, confidence is, in fact, a mindset that we can all develop and strengthen.
Confidence is our ability to believe in ourselves, to trust ourselves. To gain credibility we must prove ourselves trustworthy. But what makes someone or something trustworthy?
For me being trustworthy means four things: authenticity, resiliency, reliability, and accountability. For the purpose of this article, let’s take a closer look at these four traits as the foundations to your confidence-building plan.
1. Be Authentic: Know Yourself
To be honest and true to yourself, you must be self-aware. Knowing yourself can encompass everything from naming your favorite color to recognizing your failures and accepting them. It is more than memorizing a list of strengths and weaknesses for a job interview; it is being able to openly talk about how you failed that job interview without resorting to denial or blame, or recognizing when your goal to quit smoking is too challenging to tackle on your own.
Self-awareness is understanding your weaknesses and strengths so that you are able to assess and reassess who you are today, who you want to be tomorrow, and the challenges that will be unique to you along the way.
2. Be Resilient: Handle Any Obstacle
The key to resiliency is to understand yourself, understand how a difficult situation came to be, forgive yourself, and assess the best path forward. Keep your eyes on the long run and accept challenges and obstacles as part of life.
In order to forgive yourself, play the scenario back in your head. Try to figure out: what emotional state you were in, what prompted your reactions, and finally why you acted the way you did. You will find that most times, even when you are not proud of a specific action or reaction, you will “understand yourself.”
For example, you might have lashed out at your boss and now your job is in danger, but understanding that your action stemmed from years of feeling undervalued because you get paid considerably less than your coworkers can prompt an honest conversation with your boss, and encourage you to reassess your career goals.
3. Be reliable: Set small goals and achieve them
You have probably heard the mantra, “under-promise and over-deliver.” The reason it works is because it sets you up to exceed expectations. You should strive to set a measurable goal and give yourself plenty of time to prepare for and achieve it.
In a previous post, How to Get Past Fear and Achieve your Goals, I talked about fear, uncertainty, and other obstacles to achievement. I proposed a four-step plan of action: address your fears, break down overwhelming goals into achievable tasks, take action, and learn from the process. As you practice these steps, you will become more comfortable with taking action, facing challenges, and accomplishing goals.
While success does not equal confidence, practicing achievement is a great way to start building a sense of reliability in yourself.
As you assess, set, and achieve goals, you will start seeing yourself as reliable, and others will too. And, if you feel up to it, monitor your progress and record your “wins” so you can refer to them in the future for inspiration.
4. Be accountable: Embrace the good and the bad
The hardest part of building confidence is rebuilding it when things do not go as planned. If you cause pain in others or yourself, it helps to call things by their name and accept your mistakes. Give yourself permission to be wrong and give others permission to forgive you and lend a helping hand.
Your mindset is key in developing your self-confidence, so it is important to understand that you are a work in progress. Instead of seeing a mistake as a failure, it is more productive to see it as a learning opportunity. Instead of sulking in a negative state, you can try to ask yourself: “What can I do differently next time?”
As you take risks, set goals, and increase your confidence, you are likely to be admired. Be accountable for your successes too. Accept the compliments as they come; they will be well-deserved.
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