Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 19, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Be More Confident

10 Powerful Ways to Be More Confident

Confidence. It’s a powerful word and an even more powerful feeling. Can you remember a time in your life when you felt confident? A time when you felt unstoppable… on top of the world? Now imagine you could feel that way more often. What impact would that have on your health and well-being, your career, your relationships?

Not only does being confident feel good, it helps you seize potential opportunities, take more chances and make that big change or take the next step in your life and career. Life is crazy, busy and beautiful. Figuring out how to be more confident is just part of the journey.

So how to be more confident?

Lack of confidence can stem from many places.

Perhaps, growing up, your parents said a certain career was outside your reach and you could ‘never do that’. Or maybe you have a belief system that says ‘I could never start my own business, I’m not entrepreneurial’.

Perhaps you had a bad experience which opened the door for self-doubt to creep in. Or maybe your inner self-critic is telling you ‘you can’t’ or ‘you’re not good enough’. Maybe (ok, likely) you’re comparing yourself to someone else – a friend, colleague or spouse.

Or perhaps you feel there is something missing in your life – a relationship, the dream job, kids, a degree or title.

In my work with thousands of clients, it seems most (if not all) of us struggle with confidence in some area, or at some point in our lives. Whether that be confidence in our appearance, abilities, relationships, careers, decision making, and social situations.

We all have crises of confidence. Times we are self-conscious and moments of self-doubt. And, if your lack of confidence is keeping you in a bad job or poor relationship — or keeping you from moving forward in your life or career, you’re not alone.

Confident People vs Doubtful People

Confident people believe in themselves and have a positive mindset. People lack confidence feel insecure about themselves and their decisions.

Let’s take a look at this infographic which illustrates the differences between a confident person and an insecure person:

Advertising

    So, how can you be more confident? Here’s your complete, step-by-step guide:

    1. Be Specific

    First things first, let’s get specific.

    In order to tame the demon, you’ve got to name the demon. Where do you lack confidence? When do you feel self-doubt and your negative emotions creeping in? Where do you feel your skills or abilities are limiting you? Where would you like to have more confidence?

    Once you get specific, it won’t feel so overwhelming as you’ll have something tangible to tackle.

    Maybe you want the confidence to go out on your own and start a new business? Or maybe you’d like to go back to school to get the degree you’ve always wanted? Perhaps you’d like the confidence to go on an adventure or take a trip you’ve been thinking about for some time.

    How?

    Take a moment now, identify and put into a complete statement: Where do you specifically want to have more confidence?

    2. Uncover What Gives You Confidence

    This is personal, so it will vary from person to person. There’s no one size fits all approach to confidence and what works for one, won’t always work for another.

    How can you figure out what gives you confidence? Think about a couple times in your life when you felt most confident.

    How?

    Now, think about what was it about those times that made you feel so empowered.

    Was it the environment you were in? Something you were doing? A feeling you had? The more you get clear about this for yourself, the easier it will be to tap into when you need it.

    3. Be True to You

    One of the surest ways to lose confidence is try to be someone else. One of the best ways to build your confidence? Be true to yourself.

    When you’re trying to be someone you’re not, every part of you resists it. You are not everyone else. You are you. And the more you can understand who you are and what you value the stronger you will be.

    Advertising

    When you stray away from who you are, you lose confidence because it’s ‘just not you’.

    How?

    Think about what makes you, uniquely you. Write it down. Think about what you value and what’s important to you. Write that down, too.

    4. Remember You Are 100% Smart

    When one of my daughters was in the 4th grade, her teacher gave an assignment called 100% smart. In this activity, the kids had to make a pie chart and identify what percentage smart they were in each of the following areas; people, self, body, math, word, music, art.

    For example, my daughter was 25% body smart, but only 5% art smart. This was such an insightful exercise for her and something I have shared with many clients over the years. She realized that even though she lacked confidence in art, there were so many other areas where she excelled.

    This is true for everyone. So, maybe you’re not the best public speaker, but are you a great parent, smart with your money, or creative?

    Too many people spend way too much time trying to improve, change, be more of this or less of that. Instead, what if you spent more time acknowledging your talents, skills and successes?

    How?

    Try this for one week: at the end of each day, write down at least 3 things that you did well, felt good about, or were proud of yourself for. Know your strengths, know your talents and know you’re 100% smart.

    5. Stop Comparing Yourself

    Nothing zaps your confidence more than comparing yourself to others. Especially now, with social media and the wonderful opportunity to judge yourself against so many others! Lack of confidence comes from a gap in where you see yourself and where you think you should be.

    Imagine you are preparing to give a big presentation or speech. So you do your research, which includes watching some of the best speakers in the world doing their Ted Talks. Of course you are going to feel inferior.

    How?

    Stop comparing yourself to others. Just stop. If you still feel a compelling need to compare – compare yourself to yourself. Measure how far you’ve come. See how much improvement you’ve made. Acknowledge your wins and successes.

    6. Realize You Are Enough

    This may sound a little bit corny, but try it. This positive affirmation will resonate at a deep level and have a powerful effect on your subconscious.

    How?

    Every day for the next 21 days repeat this mantra “I am enough.” Don’t just say it, but feel it, deeply, at the core of who you are.

    Advertising

    Want to get more specific? Replace ‘enough’ with whatever word you’d like to ‘be’. What would give you the most confidence?

    I am brave. I am strong. I am smart. I am beautiful. I am confident. I got this.

    7. Acquire New Skills

    Since confidence is often directly linked to abilities, one of the best ways to build your confidence is to get new skills or experience and step out of your comfort zone.

    Growing your skills will in turn grow your confidence. And please, as you work on building your skills and expertise, don’t mistake a lack of perfection for a lack of ability. No one is perfect. But if you’ve got a perfectionist bone in your body (like I do), it can make you think that just because you’re not the best, that you’re not good at all.

    Make sure to check yourself – am I really not good at this, or am I not good as I want to be just yet?

    How?

    Ask yourself: Is there a specific area where you are lacking confidence? How can you expand your expertise in this area?

    8. Change Your State

    Changing your physical and mental ‘state’ is one of the quickest ways to access a feeling of confidence. To do this, you need to know what the state of ‘confidence’ looks, feels and sounds like for you.

    How?

    Here are a few strategies you can use to access that:

    • Remember – Think of a specific time, associated with feeling confident. Sink into that feeling deeply and moment by moment relive every detail.
    • Imagine – Imagine how you would feel if you were confident. How would you act? Feel? Be?
    • Modelling – Think about someone you know who exudes confidence. Imagine what that person would do.

    9. Find Yourself a Cheerleader

    Yes, while I understand confidence is a state from within, you can also boost your confidence by the people you choose to spend your time with.

    How?

    Make a concerted effort to surround yourself with others who provide encouragement, positivity, and inspiration.

    Spend more time with people who ‘get you’ and see all of your greatness – and less time with those that zap your confidence or cause you to feel self-doubt.

    10. Just Do It

    When Nike came up with this slogan in the late 80’s, they knew just how to get the general population off their butts and moving. Turns out, this is a great strategy for being more confident too.

    Advertising

    When you stand at the edge of the water; waiting, wondering, worrying if you can do something, you lose confidence. Your fears creep in and you begin to doubt yourself. But when you take a leap of faith, jump in and get started, your confidence immediately builds.

    Action builds confidence and each step you take builds it further.

    How?

    Think of one step you could take right now that would get you moving in the right direction. Then Just Do It and see what happens. An incredible thing about human brain is that once it realizes something is working, it will keep that momentum going!

      Final Thoughts

      Being more confident starts with one thing — YOU.

      YOU making the decision to take action. And when all else fails, YOU can make a choice.

      YOU can choose to be confident. YOU can choose confidence over fear and self-doubt.

      Your mind believes what you tell it. If you continue to tell yourself the story that you are not confident, you will believe it and your self-doubt will continue. But if you tell yourself you can do it, that you got this, your mind will believe that too.

      Remember, fostering a strong sense of confidence is critical to experiencing overall levels of health, happiness and success.

      And once you get started you’ll be unstoppable. Be brave. Be confident. You got this.

      More Tips About Building Confidence

      Featured photo credit: Church of the King via unsplash.com

      More by this author

      Tracy Kennedy

      Lifehack's Personal Development Expert, a results-driven coach dedicated to helping people achieve greater levels of happiness and success.

      The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day Toxic Positivity: Why Being Positive Could Be Bad Sometimes What Am I Doing with My Life? Find Your Answer Here Feeling Off Track in Life? Here’s How To Stay True To Yourself 10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck

      Trending in Mental Strength

      1 Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective? 2 13 Reasons Why You Should Fail Fast to Learn Fast 3 10 Things to Do If You’re Feeling Hopeless About Your Future 4 5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength 5 Feeling Like a Failure? 10 Simple Things to Help You Rise Again

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on July 3, 2020

      Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

      Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

      It has been said that rarely am I short of words, and yet I’ve rewritten this article on positive and negative reinforcement five times. Why?

      It’s not as if I have a lack of thoughts on this subject. It’s not as if I don’t spend my days enabling people to communicate powerfully and get what they want in life. So why the rewrites?

      I’ve found myself thinking about the diversity of people I’ve coached and how different we all can be. Usually when I write for Lifehack, I’m able to see instant commonality in the subject that means I could share some ideas that would resonate wherever you are in life, whoever you are, regardless of what you were looking to achieve or what adversity you may be facing.

      However, with this, it’s a “How long’s a piece of string?” answer, i.e. I could probably write a whole book’s worth of words and still have ideas to share.

      Let’s look at some key points:

      • You will have times in your life where you need to get someone to do something.
      • You will have times when someone needs you to do something.

      Let’s look at how positive and negative reinforcement would work. In both of these situations, you can face some big obstacles:

      • Someone may resist your desire for them to change.
      • Someone may challenge your authority or leadership.
      • Someone may be at risk of getting hurt.

      The important thing to remember is that, in life, we all have to be influenced and influence those around us, and some ways will help us get the result we want, and others won’t. However, that may differ on where you are, who you are talking to, and what you want to see happen!

      So, how do we know when positive reinforcement is effective[1], and can there ever be a time when negative reinforcement is good?

      Worryingly, if you get positive and negative reinforcement wrong, you can risk your career, your business, your relationships, your reputation, and your brand.

      Positive and negative reinforcement each have their merits, so it’s imperative to know when to employ them. Interestingly, despite a ton of evidence to the contrary, we still rely on the wrongs ones in society, business, and even in parenting.

      Advertising

      The 4 examples below showcase the use of positive and negative reinforcement, and whether they personally apply to you right now or not, they will resonate and be very useful to you personally in every area of your life.

      For each we will look at:

      1. What’s the problem?
      2. What have you tried?
      3. Now what?
      4. The results!

      The Boss

      Okay, you may not be a boss, but everyone will have times in their life where they need to get people organized and working together to get the best result. Often, leaders say things like this to me:

      • “I’ve told them until I’m blue in the face not to do that!”
      • “They constantly refuse to use the new system.”
      • “They just don’t listen.”
      • “They don’t respect me.”

      What Did the Boss Try?

      Often, I hear “We’ve tried everything!” No matter who is reading this, trust me, you’ve not tried everything. (That’s the first thing to accept.) When you accept that, you then need to look at what you have tried to move forward.

      The boss has tried:

      • Giving the person training.
      • Spending time with them and showing them how to do it.
      • Telling them it wasn’t good enough.
      • Telling them we aren’t doing that any more.

      Now What?

      The above situations create tension between the two as you constantly battle to maintain your position on the situation. If you are looking to get someone to do something, and they constantly resist, you need to stop and ask yourself some questions:

      1. What have we tried? This helps you to understand what they are good at, so you can utilize that in the conversation.
      2. From their viewpoint, what could prevent them from doing what I’ve asked? What could they fear, and how will we allay those fears?
      3. What do they want? Seeing their viewpoint enables you to use their terminology and language so they feel listened to.
      4. What do they believe? Do their beliefs prevent them from seeing the benefits? Beliefs can be changed but not by force—coaching is very powerful for this.
      5. How do these answers differ from my beliefs and views? Bridging the gap helps you to see both views and communicate more powerfully.

      In my experience, rarely does a boss or leader need to say the word “No.” If someone is not doing what you want them to, the quickest way to see results is to ask questions and listen. Often, when you really listen, you discover a big gap between what you think you are saying and what the other person is hearing.

      The reasons why someone is not doing what you want can include:

      • They don’t know how to do what you’ve asked them to do.
      • They are scared to get it wrong.
      • They fear what people will think of them.
      • They don’t have the confidence to come and tell you they need help.
      • They are scared that someone will tell them off.
      • They don’t understand where the boundaries are.

      People tell me, “But I said that to them!” If you are too close to the situation, then how likely are they to take notice from you? Here’s what you can do:

      • Get out of your usual environment – Neutral environments make difficult conversations easier. They can take you both off your guard, which can be good.
      • Start by making that person feel safe to say anything. Start with ground rules like “This is a confidential conversation” and “I won’t make any judgement on what you say, I just want to understand.”
      • Be prepared to say “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t realize.” When you do this, positive and negative reinforcement can be used.

      Learning how to coach people instead of tell people is key. Enabling the other person to see the benefits of what you want for them (and not you) is quicker than trying to dictate action.

      Advertising

      • Lay out expected outcomes.
      • Create boundaries.
      • Explain what support and help you will provide.

      The Results

      This style of reinforcement is about utilizing both positive and negative reinforcement. It enables someone to feel safe to explain why they’ve not been taking action and helps them to overcome the limitations they feel while safe in the knowledge that they will get the support to change with the positive results explained in a way that matters to them.

      The Young Child

      If you’ve ever found yourself on the wrong end of a relentless tantrum of a small child, you will know it can feel impossible to get through to them. While many elements of The Boss scenario could work, there are times where you may need some negative reinforcement.

      What’s the Problem?

      My children are now 15 and 18. I can honestly say that, while we have had some challenging behaviors, our parenting means I have two children I’m very proud of–great communicators, great work ethic, kind, funny, considerate. The point is that, for my children, this stuff works. And, to be honest, when I’m with other people’s children, they often say “How did you get them to do that!”

      Young children are amazing. It’s like they’ve just woken up in a new body and have been told to go touch, feel, experience everything–every emotion, every taste, smell, experience, texture, the lot! They are curious and keen to know more. They sap up everything, and a lot of that we don’t want them sapping up!

      When they go to put a pencil in an electric socket, or let go of your hand as you cross the road, it’s imperative they get the learning and knowledge they need fast. I once was talking to a parent that said I was wrong to say no to my children. I asked, “At what age would you like me to introduce them to that word?” to which they had no answer.

      While I agree that there are usually a lot more words than just no for children, “no” is a word that kept you and I safe when we were small.

      What Have You Tried?

      While young children are incredibly intelligent, explaining the merits of your preferred course of action is not going to keep them safe. Tying them to your waist isn’t working. Punishing them and telling them there’s no more park time until you walk next to me doesn’t work either. So how do you say no and keep them safe?

      Now What?

      Sometimes negative reinforcement is essential[2]. For instance, my son (who adored Bob the Builder when he was little) was playing with his plastic tool kit and discovered an electric socket…I didn’t stop to explain the merits of how that could be dangerous. I said calmly, “No, that’s dangerous!”

      Here’s the important point: It’s not just about your words. With young children, it’s important that your body language clearly says the same.

      The Results

      I did feel like the luckiest parent on the planet to have two children sleeping through the night, but that didn’t tell the full story. I can remember spending a few weeks calmly picking my daughter up with no eye contact, no overly big hug, no conversation, just saying, “Sorry darling but now’s bedtime, so back we go.” And yes, being the strong-willed girl that she is, there was sometimes a good hour of that until she got the message that Mum really isn’t going to play, turn into a dinosaur, sing, or read a story.

      Advertising

      The thing with positive and negative reinforcement is that you need to have faith it will work, and you are doing the right thing.

      Of course, when I went in to get her from her cot the next morning, I had a big grin on my face that said, “Wow, what a grown up girl you are staying in your bed all night!” I used positive reinforcement to get the day started.

      The Teenager

      What’s the Problem?

      If I’m honest, I don’t have problems with my teenagers. However, I think that is in no small part to my style of communication. Having respect for them is key, and appreciating how much change is happening in their lives really helps–as someone who helps large teams of people deal with change, I know how hard it can be.

      However, when I wrote the article How to Enjoy Parenting Teens and Help Your Kids Thrive, I was inundated with stories of hellish behavior from other parent’s teenagers, tales of staying out all night and not phoning home, abusive behavior towards parents and teens–I really felt for all involved.

      What Have You Tried?

      The problem with teens is they know exactly how to wind you up like a little clock-work toy. And if you’ve had a tough day, the last thing you want is to have to deal with someone who can’t even communicate with words, let alone put their dishes in the dishwasher.

      Losing it is never the option, but it can easily happen. Shouting, bribery, and doing it yourself because it’s just easier really don’t work in the long run.

      Now What?

      If you consider everything we’ve covered, you can see that you need to communicate using positive and negative reinforcement. In life, there are consequences to all actions, and teens have a ton of stuff to learn to become effective, successful, happy adults.

      Before you embark on any course of action, consider how the other person perceives the world. What are they going through?

      You may have loved being a teen, but that doesn’t ensure your children will. Likewise, in life, there are things you love that others will loathe–seeing the world through other people’s eyes really helps you to understand the best way to communicate.

      The only big difference for teenagers is to use emotion with caution. I personally let my children see all emotions–I’ve not hidden my tears when I’ve lost a loved one as it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. However, if a teenager in a foul mood can spot a weakness, they may just take advantage of it.

      Advertising

      The Results

      My kids love to tell everyone I’m a scary mom. I’m not, I just have high standards, and I’m not prepared to drop them.

      We shy away from telling people what we expect and then wonder why we are getting as stressed as the other party because no one knows where they stand.

      I’m happy for my children to take over the TV room and eat far too much sweet stuff and binge on a box set. Just don’t put cups on the carpet, we have places for drinks. It’s having the confidence to say this is the rule.

      People think negative reinforcement is a bad thing. However, how can someone change if they don’t know what they are doing wrong? And that’s the issue: so many of us are fearful of saying “Stop doing that!” If you lack confidence, find your voice because people aren’t mind-readers.

      Final Thoughts

      Before you start considering whether positive or negative reinforcement is best for others, ask yourself what you respond better to.

      Personally, I respond far better to negative reinforcement–I can improve and be more successful and happier if I know what I’m doing wrong. Furthermore, I know that sometimes negative reinforcement works better with some clients who really don’t want to look at the issue–but it’s always done with respect and love.

      Coaching people is also a great representation of when positive and negative reinforcement is best. We are looking to find ways to increase the positive action with positive reinforcement and ways to reduce the negative results with negative reinforcement–and usually my clients keep those changes for the rest of their lives.

      More on Positive and Negative Reinforcement

      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next