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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:

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

      How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life 9 Simple Steps to Set Goals in Life to Achieve Success How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life 10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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      Last Updated on March 30, 2020

      How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life

      How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life

      We all know the feeling—when you sense that you are not completely happy and fulfilled with your life—things are not where and how you envisage them to be. You go through the motions everyday, angry with yourself and the universe for throwing you such an unfavorable dice.

      You can’t help yourself but feel a perennial envy towards those who are smiled upon by karma—the lucky individuals who seem to have the Midas touch and everything they undertake ends up with success, recognition and greater opportunities. Life must be so exiting.

      Unlike yours.

      We call this sensation many names: I’ve hit a wall; I’m not making progress; I’m stagnant; I’m moving in loops; Something is off in my life; I’m off balance.

      Or simply: feeling stuck.

      In this article, we’ll look into the reasons behind this feeling and how to get unstuck in life and live a more fulfilling life.

      Is Being Stuck Really Such a Bad Thing?

      Is it really so bad to be stuck in the status quo? After all, not everyone can be a super-star, right? What’s wrong with living a quiet life, with not many turns and twists and just going with the flow?

      True—there is not much fun in this, but there is not disappointment, anxiety, stress and ill-ambition either. Life is easy and uncomplicated.

      So why do we keep hearing over and over from the greats that staying is one place is not a good thing?

      Tony Robbins gives us an elegantly simple answer to this question:

      “If you are not growing, you are dying. “

      “Progress equals happiness,” he says. “That ’s because reaching a goal is satisfying but only temporarily. Life is not about achieving the goals, life is about who you become in pursuit of those goals.”[1]

      There you have it—staying in one place makes us unhappy.

      We all know that the comfort zone can be great. It’s like a warm old blanket you wrap yourself around on a cold winter night, cuddled in front of your favorite TV show.

      But just because something feels comfortable, does it mean it’s ok to stick to it forever?

      Progress equals happiness, remember.

      You may not even fully be aware of the small voice in the back of your mind that’s been bugging you, but you better learn to listen carefully—because you may wake up one day and realize that your productive life is gone and you haven’t achieved many of the things you wanted for yourself.

      Pretty gloomy picture, indeed.

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      Simply put, what the wise men advise us of is not just some self-help fluff for them to gain more popularity or sell more books. It is true—as you will learn below—that not moving forward, not even making the effort to do better or become better—even if you don’t always succeed in these endeavors—is a mental demise and a waste of your potential.

      The Common “Stucks”

      There are many reasons why you may feel stagnant in your life—some may be completely out of your control even. The main thing, though, is to be able to identify the reasons and then try to take some remedial actions.

      But it starts with an awareness—because you can’t fix what you don’t know about, right?

      Here are some of the main contributors to your feelings of stuck-ness:

      You Lack Purpose in Your Life, or the “Why” of What You Do

      Simon Sinek, the best-selling author and motivational speaker tells us in his famous TED talk that every successful endeavor—be it related to an organization, your career or personal life needs to begin with defining the “Why.” You need to be able to explain to yourself why you do what you do and what drives you.

      It is the thing (s) that gives meaning and inspires you to wake up in the morning and to want to take on the world. It is your reason for being.

      You Like the Status Quo

      You may like your comfort zone. After all, it’s…well, comfortable. But as we established, the good old blanket is not necessarily going to make us fulfilled in life. You can watch so many TV shows wrapped in it before you get bored.

      We, humans, still carry our ancestors’ fighting instincts—for hunting, for self-preservation, for taking actions to make our lives better. Inaction is not what made the mankind create all the innovations we enjoy today.

      The Good-Old Fear of Failure and of the Unknown

      Admittedly, it’s not an emotion to be taken lightly—it can be quite real and powerful for many of us.

      According to a Gallup poll done a while ago among U.S. teenagers, the fear of being a failure and not succeeding in life was at number four.[2] More specifically, this feeling was described as “making mistakes that will mess up my life,” “not measuring up,” “not leaving a mark.”

      So, fear can be a powerful paralyzer and can elicit a “safe-mode” response—i.e. stuck-ness.

      Your Crowd

      We all know the famous adage that we are the average of the five people we rub shoulders with. So, if your in-crowd is similarly stuck as you are, although it may be consoling at times, you won’t be motivated to make much progress yourself.

      It’s called a social proof bias—if everyone around you is doing (or not doing) something, then it is ok for you to follow suit.

      Comparisons to Others

      While comparisons are not always bad, according to the Social Comparison Theory,[3] they have to be handled with caution.

      Faring against others can make you very unhappy with yourself. Failing to recognize that your path is not the same as others’ and that there are many ways to get to an end-point (goal) can be very discouraging to taking the first step to unstuck-ness.

      Personality

      Our temperaments can also contribute to a sense of feeling stuck. For instance, you may be more of a passive, dreamy kind of person who prefers observing to taking action, pensiveness to gregariousness, solitude to venturing out in the world.

      That is, you have more of a slow-burn personality vs. a fiery one—therefore, it takes you longer to contemplate all alternatives before taking the plunge.

      And that’s ok. But you need to recognize that this may also be the reason why you are not progressing as fast or as much as you would like towards your goals.

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      And while changing who you are is hard (impossible even, according to some psychologists), there are things that can be done to make it so much better for yourself, which I will discuss a bit later.

      A final point to note here is that, paradoxically, it is possible to feel both stuck and unstuck at the same time. For instance, you can have a great career, but your family life may feel a bit stale, or wise versa.

      As our personal and professional lives constantly fight for the top spot on our attention list, the feeling of stuck-ness may also depend on where you are on your life’s trajectory.

      For someone who is younger and single, stagnation may be felt more vividly in their professional lives, as opposed to someone who is in their mid-life, where family takes priority—such individuals may not feel as down-hearted that they are not progressing quickly enough professionally.

      How to Get Unstuck in Life

      The neat thing about your path to becoming unstuck is that it follows the so-called Principle of Equifinality,[4] which states that the end state can be reached by many means.

      It’s not just one thing that can help you to start moving forward again. There are many avenues you can explore to find out what works for you and with your own story and personality.

      1. Show up and Be Willing to Do the Work

      Woody Allen has famously said that “80% of success is showing up.” That is, you need to begin with the right motivation and willingness to take action towards unstucking.

      You must want to improve your current state. And you must follow through.

      2. Self-Reflection

      Spend some time alone. You need to figure out why you are stuck—that is, what is the root of your discontent. Meditation may help here too. But this step is essential:

      Packing on some self-knowledge and awareness on why you are where you are in life can help you discover a whole new universe of ideas on how to make it better for yourself.

      It is as the saying goes: Identifying the problem is half of the solution.

      Start to do self-reflection with the help of this article: The Power of Self-Reflection: Ten Questions You Should Ask Yourself

      3. Break a Sweat

      There is an avalanche of research on the benefits of exercising for the body and the mind. The latest research tells us that if you want to put your mind in the best possible focus shape, a 15-minute jog will do the job better than 15 minutes of relaxation and meditation.[5] It also clears your thinking, improves your attention spans, and can generally make you feel like a “brand new person.”

      4. Find a Purpose

      As I already touched-upon, the “Why” behind your actions is a prime driver of self-progress. If you link your goals—be them personal or professionals—to a “bigger-than-me” aspiration, then it will be so much easier to convince yourself to keep moving.

      According to recent research,[6] we all have a specific purpose-seeking style—similar to our own way of writing, dancing or speaking.

      There are four types or “Whys”—creative, prosocial, financial and personal recognition. The prosocial approach to finding meaning, though, which is based on kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others, is the best one in the long-run—it was shown to lead to greater caring, integrity and personal growth.

      Here’s How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person.

      5. Find a Passion

      It’s barely a secret that if you enjoy something, you will want to do more of it and it won’t feel like an obligation. You will have an internal motivation to keep going despite setbacks, despite the stress or the tiredness you may experience at times.

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      So, find what thrills you and makes you come alive and strive to become better, the best even, at it. The more progress you make, the more confidence you will have that you can apply the same passion and dedication to all other parts of your life that feel stagnant.

      Learn How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life.

      6. Nudge Yourself

      The Nudge Theory[7] has been around for a while and has shown some wonderful results in positively influencing people’s behaviors—from making us conserve more energy, to improving the payment rates of fines, to making job-seekers more engaged and involved.

      Small things as daily reminders in terms of micro-goals you can set on your phone, for instance, can have a profound favorable effect on becoming unstuck.

      Nudging can also help overcome some of these personality traits we talked about—like passiveness or acute proneness to procrastination.

      7. Seek Different Experiences

      Even if you are in a happy relationship, you may still feel stuck—i.e. you may be unfulfilled, uninspired, or bored even of doing identical things over and over. The same rings true for your professional life.

      The end-point is that you need to feed your brain different experiences if you want to get unstuck. If you repeat more of the same thing, you will end up with more or less similar outcomes. Change requires taking the path less trodden, experimenting, learning new ways, seeing new places, reading, travelling—it’s an endless list, really, to personal growth.

      According to research covered in Psychology Today,[8]

      “Activities that lead us to feel uncertainty, discomfort, and even a dash of guilt are associated with some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of people’s lives. Happy people, it seems, engage in a wide range of counterintuitive habits that seem, well, downright unhappy.”

      8. Leave Behind the Things That Are Not Constructive for You

      Arianna Huffington put it in a great way:[9]

      “You can complete a project by dropping it.”

      Assessing the things that make you feel stagnant is important. But equally valuable is to recognize that just because it may be hard or even impossible to get something that you really want, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or that you are necessarily stuck.

      Maybe it’s simply not your thing. For instance, you may want to become a professional golfer. You practice and practice but you can’t quite reach the level of Tiger Woods that you aspire to. Perhaps it’s time to take stock of your life and shift your focus.

      9. Compare Wisely

      Comparisons can often make you feel down and create a sense of stagnation, which may not always be valid. You must realize that your pace of progress differs from your friends’, neighbours’, siblings or even significant others’.

      Just because you are not a millionaire by the age of 30, or haven’t started your own business, or written your third bestseller yet, doesn’t mean that you are not moving forward.

      So, mind how you measure your progress and your state of stuck-ness. Your perceptions may differ from reality.

      Besides, it’s never ever too late to start things over! Here’s how:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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      10. Ask for Help

      Finally, remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. If you feel stuck in your personal life, you can speak to your close ones and find a solution together. Maybe they feel the same way.

      At work—raise your hand, speak to your manager, volunteer to do things that can help you learn and become more valuable.

      You don’t have to come up with all the answers right now. The most important thing, going back to the first idea, is to be willing to make a change.

      When Is Enough Enough?

      Seeking progress is a great thing. Who wouldn’t want to become a better version of themselves after all?

      But the pursuit of growth should be handled with caution. It can become very addictive and sometimes even be counterproductive.

      It’s true—you may experience a “runner’s high” and success can make you overflow with dopamine, but the constant chase of “more” can toss you into a never-ending spinning wheel.

      You will never be happy with the status quo and won’t accept things as they are—which, naturally, can open a Pandora box of mental health issues.

      That is, too much of a self-improvement drive may leave you unable to enjoy your life, to be fully present in the Now and to appreciate the person that you are.

      And this is not necessarily a good thing.

      So, should you strive to improve yourself, so that feel unstuck and free again? Absolutely.

      But remember to take a breather and be grateful for what you have.

      Summing It All Up

      The feeling of being satisfied or unsatisfied with one’s life is very personal. Similar to its cousins—happiness and success, it is best measured by and depends on our individual histories, personalities and paths—i.e. my trajectory is different than yours and what makes me feel content may not create the same feeling for you.

      For instance, you may be happy to be in a position where you help others and their gratitude is sufficient enough reason for you to wake up in the morning. But for someone else, this situation may create a sense of stuck-ness.

      The main take-away here is that you shouldn’t compare your story to anyone else’s because you may end up feeling constantly stuck. And this, speaking from experience, is not the best place in the world to be.

      Progress is great, but don’t forget that your life is here and now.

      So, try to enjoy yourself some too, while making your grandiose plans to take on the world, will you please?

      Featured photo credit: Camila Cordeiro via unsplash.com

      Reference

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