(The second of a 2-part article)
If you missed part 1 of this two-part series on self-confidence, click this link to catch up: “The number 1 culprit of low self-confidence and how to fix it” . The first article focused on the most important factor affecting self-confidence, how to overcome this and conquer your low self-confidence.
Once you have had time to practice the recommended activities in part 1, this second article builds on your skills and provides 7 more influential ways to increase your confidence.
1. Improve your feelings of self-worth
Confident people value and believe in themselves. How do you feel about yourself? How kind and compassionate are you to yourself and how easily do you forgive yourself when you get things wrong?
Learning to trust yourself is a good first step. It does not mean that there is no risk to your decisions, but acknowledging that there is no single best solution will help you feel confident that you are making a choice and moving forwards. Tell yourself that your decision will be fine. If it does not work out that will also be OK.
Another quick and simple thing you can practice is to learn to accept compliments. You will be surprised at how powerful it feels when you just smile and say, “thank you” (without adding an apology or anything more to your response).
2. Expect good things to happen
The power of positive expectation is a well-known phenomenon. When we expect things to go well – they often do, and when we expect things to go badly the outcome is more likely to be negative. The effect is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Choose to tell yourself that things will work out well, even if you don’t fully believe it at first. Over time your thoughts and emotions will become more positive.
Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t, pretend that you do and, at some point, you will”.
The well-known phrase ‘fake it until you make it’ works in this context. When I’m playing tennis, I try to believe that my partner and I have every opportunity to win. I refuse to entertain a losing mantra at the start because I know it will affect how I play. Regardless of mistakes, I work hard to stay positive with myself and my doubles partner. This has the effect of helping us relax and play well. If we lose, we know that there will be another time and another opportunity to learn from our mistakes and go for it again.
3. Use positive anchors
This might sound a bit abstract, but it’s not. It is very practical. Positive memories from the past can evoke positive emotions and increase your sense of wellbeing and confidence. Fear of failure or rejection undermines self-confidence. ‘Anchors’ are places and things you can ‘go to’ for a source of energy, inspiration, and positive feelings.
Feeling validated and appreciated in one aspect of your life can boost your confidence and the way you feel about other areas. Hence, reflecting on past successes, achievements and happy times reminds you that you are talented and capable. As you recall them, make a list, and review it anytime you are feeling the need for a confidence boost. Typical anchors include:
Anchor moments – are successes and positive things that have happened – your moments of happiness or triumph! Sounds, smells and sights can all help recreate a positive moment.
Anchor people – are those who think you are great, make you feel good, believe in and support you.
Anchor objects – mementoes, trophies, certificates, keepsakes, photographs, thank-you cards, artifacts etc. Things that make you feel good about yourself. Keep them in sight to remind you of good times and successes.
4. Stop worrying about what other people think or say about you
How do you feel about what others think or say about you? We all want to be liked and appreciated. However, be realistic! There are 7.8 billion people in the world. Some will not like you and never will! Move away from these people and stay close to those who are kind, thoughtful and supportive of you. This will certainly improve your confidence.
5. Be open to feedback and learning
Whatever your level of knowledge and skills, there is always room for improvement. If you make a mistake or get it wrong, consider it a learning opportunity. If your skill level is not where you want it to be, remind yourself that it is work in progress.
When you receive feedback, notice and listen to the positive as well as the negative – don’t make the mistake I sometimes make with my tennis shots (see previous article)! Regard feedback (negative or positive) as a gift. However, if you think the feedback is unfair, malicious, or inaccurate, like all gifts you do not have to keep it if it does not fit!
6. Set goals
Setting and achieving goals is a great way to develop your confidence.
Make your goals ambitious but not so big or distant that they feel unreachable. Break down big goals into small steps which feel doable. Your confidence will increase as you tick off each step or action. You will see your progress and reflect on how far you have already come.
If you are unsure how to set goals that will work for you, download my free goal setting guide.
7. Seek help or support when you need it
It is a mistake to believe that we can go it alone. We all need help at times. If you are struggling with something and your confidence is low, find someone you trust who can help you and ask for their support.
Find genuine ways to help others. Helping is an interesting phenomenon. It is good for both the giver and the receiver! It makes us feel good and is frequently reciprocated. Complimenting others (colleagues, friends, children) works in the same way. It fosters a culture of support and well-being and makes it easier for others to compliment and support you.
Conquering self-doubt might feel difficult, but it is highly achievable. Like all skills it requires practice, tenacity, and perseverance. Rome was not built in a day! Commit to practising the recommendations above and you will soon notice a difference and start to transform into your confident self.