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9 Keys To Confidence

9 Keys To Confidence

You see THEM all around you:

Walking confidently into a bar and asking someone for their number.

Expressing their views in a company town hall meeting.

Asking the dreaded question to their boss. All these folks are reeking of confidence!! Do you wish you had the confidence that they possess, to do the things they do and say the perfect things they say?

When you hear the word ‘successful’ who comes to your mind first? Someone on TV or real life who seems to feel no fear and says the perfect thing and does things confidently, right? Yes, Confidence is tied to success, and vice versa.

There are several assumptions we make about these confident people.
Firstly, we assume confident people are born that way and possess a natural ability to do or say things that you cannot do or say. They can walk into a bar and talk to someone, because it is an innate ability that they possess. Because of their ‘inborn gift’, they can go anywhere, say anything and do anything.

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Fortunately, that is not true! Confidence is a learnable skill. No one was born feeling confident or not confident. We were all born as clean slates. The years of social conditioning and all the other factors make us adopt certain mindsets. Would you be surprised if I told you that you can feel confident this very moment? Yes, you can tell yourself that you need to feel confident right now and you can probably turn it on like a switch. The only difference is that the switch does not stay on forever and will probably flick down in a minute after you adopt that attitude and mindset. The later part of this article will address how to adopt and sustain the confidence mindset.

Another assumption about confidence is that confident people are never scared. Again, this is untrue. Confident people can be scared like the rest of us; they have the same set of limiting thoughts and fears that make them feel not confident at times. What sets them apart is their ability to rise above these fears and forge ahead despite them.

The third assumption is that confident people are confident in all areas of their lives. This isn’t necessarily true. Someone who is confident to ask their boss for a raise may not necessarily feel confident to ask someone out on a date, or vice versa.

Confidence is not necessarily about knowing all the answers; it’s about being able to move forward knowing that you will figure it out. It is knowing that you can handle whatever comes at you.

Here are some strategies and tips for upping your confidence level to make it ever-lasting. Like with all mind-related work, these tools and strategies will produce results only if they are ingrained in the DNA of your being. That begins with consciously practicing them until living in this way becomes a truly ingrained habit.

1. Awareness of your strengths

Not many of us have consciously taken time to understand our own strengths. Being aware of one’s own strengths is an important tool in boosting confidence. There are many online resources and books to help you find your own strengths. StrengthFinder 2.0 is a great book and also provides an online assessment to identify your top strengths. You will be surprised at how spot on it is. The key for success with this strategy is to identify your strengths and constantly remind yourself of them. Make a a list of these strengths and keep it in a handy spot like your wallet, your work desk, or your mirror. That way you can constantly remind yourself of your strengths and play to them. Playing to your strengths will help in making you feel confident about your abilities and provide a constant boost.

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2. Confidence-competence loop

The more you do something, the better you become. When you first started riding a bike, you faltered and fell a few times. But you kept at it. The more you tried it, the better you got. And one day, you were able to ride successfully without falling, to the point that you now thoroughly enjoy riding the bike. This is the same competence-confidence loop that you can employ in other areas of your life.

Try it during situations that make you feel uncomfortable and not confident. If you hate eating alone at a restaurant, do it every day for the next 2 or 3 weeks. It’s going to feel weird and uncomfortable at first. The first few times you are not going to feel confident and the hour could feel long. But by the end of the third week, i guarantee you will feel more confident. If you fear public speaking, do it enough and you will see that fear disappear. Very soon, you will be delivering presentations with confidence and ease. This is also tied to the next tip.

3. What’s the worst that can happen?

Often times, that little voice in our heads stops us from doing something and asks questions like:

“Am I sure? Does this make sense for me? Am I capable of this? Do I know all I need to know to do a good job? What if I don’t succeed? What if people laugh at me?” and so on.

That’s when asking a simple question like “What’s the worst that can happen?” may offer a different perspective and a potential way to turn that voice off. What’s the worst that can happen when you try to ask someone out on a date? They could say no. Is that the end of the world? Filter your thoughts through the lens of abundance. Try the ‘whats the worst that can happen?’ tactic the next time that little voice in your head starts asking questions.

4. Past successes

“The more you acknowledge your past successes, the more confident you become in taking on and successfully accomplishing new ones” – Jack Canfield.

Jack captures the essence of this strategy perfectly with this above quote. Even small successes are successes to be noted and celebrated. Every small step that is accomplished towards a major goal is still a step to be celebrated. Sometimes we are so lost in reaching the end goal, we forget to acknowledge the little steps that we take and the little achievements we reach on our path to the goal. Each of these successes from your past should be resurrected in your memory often, serving as a reminder about your abilities and again injecting you with a confidence boost.

5. Preparation

For certain tasks, just preparing well ahead of time soothes that negative voice in the head and prevents it from popping up again. Preparing for a speech that you do not feel confident delivering, or a meeting with your boss, or anything that can be prepared for, is definitely a surefire tactic for increasing confidence.

6. Say thank you for compliments

When someone compliments you for anything – for your work, the way you did something, the way you said something or simply for the way you look, how do you react? Do you shrug it off and say ‘it was nothing’, ‘I am not sure why I was given this award’, I don’t deserve it’, ‘I just got lucky this time around’… all these are indicators of weakened confidence.

You do not believe enough in yourself to accept compliments.

Switch out that thinking and start accepting compliments graciously. When given a compliment learn to say thank you comfortably, thanking the person for recognizing your efforts and offering support. It is a display of belief in yourself which repeated consciously over a period of time begins to deeply seat itself in your mind- leading to stronger levels of confidence.

7. Fake it ’til you make it

There are 2 opposing views on this strategy. Some advocates strongly believe that ‘faking it ’til you succeed’ can increase your confidence and thereby increase your competence. The opposing view believes that it is not ethically right to fake it in the first place. I suggest an in-between approach.

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You’ve heard of dressing for success. It is a form of faking it ’til you make it. You dress ‘up’ to get the job you want. That does not mean you are not competent or that you are faking it. It means that you want the job and believe you can perform well in that role, and you are displaying that attitude in your external appearances as it relates to the job. You can’t fake being a professional singer if all you do is sing in the shower. But if you are a great singer with true capabilities and experience, looking for better singing opportunities, using a little ’embellishment’ is not wrong. In fact, you are not even faking it at that point.

8. The power of affirmations

Affirmations are simple, positive, and specific statements written in the present tense with the sole purpose of changing one’s thoughts. These sentences help in strengthening and reinforcing beliefs you need to achieve success. Affirmations practiced faithfully rewire the brain and help us break negative thought patterns. The best thing about affirmations is that there is no limit to the number of affirmations you can create and say- and each affirmation can be unique for you and for the thought pattern you are trying to break.

The key to finding success with affirmations is through repeating the affirmations on a consistent basis, preferably multiple times- and saying them with conviction. Give this a power boost by standing in front of the mirror and saying these affirmations as you look at yourself. Some examples of affirmations for boosting self-confidence are:

  • I have confidence in my ability to do whatever I set my mind to;
  • I am discovering more wonderful things about myself with each passing day;
  • I truly like myself and this helps others to accept me for who I am;
  • I believe in myself completely;
  • I believe that I can achieve anything I want;
  • My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless;
  • My potential to succeed is infinite;
  • I acknowledge my own self-worth; 
  • My confidence is soaring.

9. Gratitude

In today’s fast paced society, we are generally lost in the daily grind of life and the tendency is to focus on the negative and the bad things that make life a challenge at times. We forget to think about and appreciate the positive. Appreciating each and every small blessing in our lives becomes a task taken for granted and we even forget that those little blessings are in fact blessings that make our life beautiful in some way.

Another great habit to form is the habit of making time to be grateful. Start a gratitude journal and spend 2-3 minutes every night expressing 3-5 things in your life that you are thankful for. Write them down. The power of the written word has been constantly proven to be stronger than the spoken. What you are grateful for every night need not be something profound. Small things like the smell of freshly baked cookies, hugs from your kids, to big things like a promotion at work, or an hour of uninterrupted reading could be things to be thankful for. Some days, I am just thankful to be alive- healthy and kicking. There is no limit to the number of things you can be grateful for. Make this a daily habit and see a tremendous change in your attitude to people and life. You’ll also see your confidence surging ahead when you realize what a great life you have.

As mentioned earlier, all these strategies and tools involve conscious effort and repetition until they become ingrained into your life. But the effort is well worth it when you see a constant upsurge in your confidence levels.

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What other strategies do you use to up-level your confidence?

Featured photo credit: http://www.imcreator.com/free/business/suit-and-tie-2 via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live a Stress Free Life in a Way Most People Don’t

How to Live a Stress Free Life in a Way Most People Don’t

Learning how to live a stress free life may seem impossible, but the truth is that there are specific things you can do to begin eliminating sources of stress.

No, it doesn’t look like a made-for-television movie. No, it doesn’t look like something only people with extra time and money can do. It looks like your life—but without any self-created stress triggers.

Here are 11 ways to help you live a stress-free life:

1. Stop Overanalyzing Situations That Haven’t Happened

The first step to living a stress-free life is to stop overanalyzing imaginary scenarios. It’s easy to spend time in the world of worst-case scenarios. People tend to cultivate this world for one of two reasons.

First, because if you know what the worst-case scenario is, then it won’t surprise you when it happens. Second, if you know what the worst-case scenario is, then you can do everything in your power to control the universe so the worst case never happens.

If that’s really the world you want to cultivate, then become a professional risk assessor. If not, then ask yourself how you are benefiting from continuing to live that way.

Does it make you feel better about yourself and your life? Does it make you want to leap out of bed in the morning, eager to embrace the worst-case scenario? Does it bring you joy or fulfillment?

If your answer to these three questions is no, then stop living in the future and bring yourself back into the present.

2. Don’t Take on Other People’s Problems

The whole advantage of other people having problems is that they aren’t your problems. When you frequently take on other people’s problems, you get into the habit of enabling.

Let’s get crystal clear about the definition of enabling: enabling is the art of continuing to take responsibility for other people, thereby disallowing their personal responsibility[1].

It is of no service to other people to take on their problems because they can’t/won’t/don’t know how to fix the problem.

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It is of service to empower others to take responsibility for themselves and their lives, to encourage, teach, and motivate others to address their own problems. So stop enabling, and start empowering.

3. Get Present in the Moment

Being present in the moment involves being in your body and feeling your feelings—two things that lots of folks actually don’t know how to do.

Ask yourself these two questions: What does fear feel like in your body? What are you afraid of?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you probably aren’t present in the moment. Being present involves vulnerability, humility, and openness[2].

How to live a stress free life by being present

    The past and the future stop being so relevant and intriguing when you’re able to get in your body and feel your feelings. When you can do these two things, you actually want to be in the present moment.

    To get started, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and watch your stress levels drop. Then, try these tips: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying.

    4. Focus on What You Have, Not What You Don’t

    The easiest way to stop focusing on what you don’t have is by not watching TV commercials. Marketing teaches us to focus on what we don’t have, and advertising campaigns spend millions of dollars convincing us that we must have what we don’t yet have.

    Can you think of a marketing campaign that teaches you to enjoy what you already have without buying something to enhance it? Odds are you can’t.

    In a world dictated by Super Bowl commercials and Facebook ads, it takes stalwart focus to recognize what you have more than what you don’t. If you want a stress-free life now, get stalwart, and stop letting other people dictate your focus.

    In order to do this, try cultivating a gratitude practice to help refocus your mind toward what is good in your life. You can get started with this guide.

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    5. Stop Surrounding Yourself With People Who Don’t Make You Happy

    Honestly, what kind of people do you really like to be around with? People who get you, who see you clearly, who accept your flaws and all; people you can be yourself with; people who have shared interests?

    How many of those people are in your life? What characteristics do all of the other people in your life have?

    If you find that the people in your life aren’t adding anything positive, it may be time to make some changes. If you find that other relationships you have are downright toxic, start working to cut out those relationships immediately.

    6. Find a Job That Makes You Feel Good

    You don’t have to stay at a job just because it pays the bills. Most people spend more time working than sleeping. The average person spends 40 to 80 hours a week—or 2,000 to 4,000 hours a year—working. That is a significant investment!

    If your best friend or child told you that they were going to spend 4,000 hours giving their emotional, mental, and physical energy to something (or someone) that wasn’t going to value them, give anything back to them, or pay them what they were worth, what advice would you offer? Give that same advice to yourself. You won’t be stress-free unless you don’t learn this[3].

    Here’re 11 Signs That You Should Leave Your Job.

    7. Only Take on What You Can Handle

    Busyness is an addiction. Slowing down can actually be terrifying because it causes you to notice that you have feelings that you now have time to feel.

    I get it.

    By the time I slowed down, I had decades of busyness under my belt. I went into a tailspin depression because I didn’t understand how to be in the right relationship with my own emotions.

    When I finally figured out that feelings are just feelings and allowing them to express themselves is healthy and natural, I stopped experiencing withdrawal from my addiction to busyness and started figuring out the pace of life that felt best for me.

    Remarkably, I discovered that I don’t actually like being busy. What will you discover about yourself?

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    8. Let Go of Grudges and Anger

    For me, it took 20 years of adulthood to figure out that holding on to grudges and anger only hurt me. Lucky for you, though, you can benefit vicariously from my experience just by reading one short paragraph!

    No one is holding your feet to the fire, demanding that you hold on to grudges and anger. The energy of anger slowly eats away at your body, mind, and spirit, until one day you wake up more resentful than optimistic.

    One day, people no longer want to be around you because the stink of negativity is oozing out of your pores. One day, you even get tired of hearing yourself get angry. And the person or people you are angry at or holding grudges against probably haven’t been affected at all.

    Who gets hurt the most in that process of repeating negative thoughts? You do.

    Some good advice for you here: How to Let Go of Resentment and Anger

    9. Stop Reliving Your Past

    To live a stress-free life, you have to stop reliving your past. I know it seems like fun to compare everything in your present to your past, and to experience the present through past-colored glasses, but it actually isn’t.

    When you wear past-colored glasses, you can’t truly experience the present for what it is. Your boyfriend or girlfriend gets compared to a list of expectations and failed relationships rather than recognized for the unique blessing they are in your life.

    Your boss gets compared to all the bosses who came before her/him. Your friends’ ability to parent gets compared to your parents’ ability to parent.

    People, including you, deserve to stand on their own past-free merit.

    10. Don’t Complain About Things You Can’t Change

    There are always going to be people elected into office whom you don’t like, taxes that you don’t want to pay, idiot drivers who refuse to move out of the left-hand lane, and a person ahead of you in the check-out line who won’t stop chatting with the clerk.

    The great benefit of being human is that we get to experience all of what life offers us. To live stress-free is to learn to deal with this fact.

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    Dwelling on your frustration with something that can’t be changed doesn’t do anything other than drag you down. You are the only person who will ultimately decide how to respond to what is.

    11. Stop Living Through Other People’s Lives

    Someone else’s life is not your life. Your life is your life.

    What that means is you get to live your life in the way you want. You get to make ridiculous mistakes, take leaps of faith, and stuff things inside your handbag of fear just as much as the next person.

    Going through stuff is the whole great messy adventure of being human! Being alive and living life is terrifying and glorious and everything in between.

    Stop living through social media, trying to soak in all of the experiences everyone else is having. Focus, instead, on what it feels like to be you in this moment. You may find you like it.

    Final Thoughts

    An astounding thing happens when you reduce stress and anxiety, get into a relationship with your body, mind, and spirit, and just be yourself without judgment.

    Your life literally slows down. You stop wishing for the weekend. You begin to live in each moment, and you start feeling like a human being. You just ride the wave that is life, with this feeling of contentment and joy.

    You move fluidly, steadily, calmly, and gratefully. A veil is lifted, and a whole new perspective is born through improved mental health. And this is how you live a stress-free life.

    More Tips on How to Live a Stress-Free Life

    Featured photo credit: Drew Coffman via unsplash.com

    Reference

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