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Last Updated on October 30, 2018

How to Be More Confident (the Definitive Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Be More Confident (the Definitive Step-By-Step Guide)

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.

The good news is, there are steps to building confidence that you can take wherever – and whenever you feel you’re lacking it. Often, it’s already within you and you just need a few strategies to uncover it – and I’m going to reveal these strategies to you.

Why Some People Lack Confidence

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.

What Makes Confident People Different from Others

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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    How to Be More Confident (A Step-By-Step Guide)

    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.

      Featured photo credit: Arnaud Mesureur 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 Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 2) How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 1) How to Deal With an Emotional Breakdown After a Devastating Loss Why New Year Resolutions Fail And How to Set Yourself up for Success

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      Last Updated on May 21, 2019

      Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

      Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

      People who have low self esteem are always hard on themselves. Sometimes they even cannot truly accept compliments because they would second guess people’s intentions.

        In this article, we’ll look into the symptoms of a low esteem person and what you can do if you find yourself having self-esteem issues.

        Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem Person

        Common Symptoms

        • Unable to trust your own opinion
        • Always overthinking
        • Afraid to take challenges, being worried you wouldn’t overcome them
        • Hard on yourself but lenient with others
        • Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil

        Lesser-Known Symptoms

        Being a workaholic

        At work expectations are set clearly. Even if there’s pressure in the workplace, compared to relationships or the social world where so much is unknown and uncontrollable, work is more straightforward.

        It’s easier to meet the expectations and perform well at work. Therefore, some people with low self-esteem would shift their focus to work and put all their energies there.

        Overachieving or underachieving

        Many of us have already heard that people with low self-esteem tend to be under-achievers as they’re too afraid to take new challenges and not confident enough to fully utilize their talents.

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        However, there’s another extreme. Some of them are too anxious of failure and being rejected, so they will try their very best to be outstanding to prove their worth.

        Causes of Low Self-Esteem

        Most of the time it stems from our childhood. Here’re some negative early experiences that lead to low self-esteem:[1]

        • Frequent punishment
        • Frequent neglect
        • Chronic abuse
        • Harsh parental standards
        • Being bullied/boycotted
        • Being on the receiving end of someone else’s stress or despair
        • Lack of praise, warmth and affection
        • Staying in a family or group where other members are prejudiced towards

        Childhood is when we form our “Bottom Line” and “Rules for Living” which affects the way we think, that’s why all the negative early experiences can have a very long-lasting effect on our adulthood.

        How “Bottom Line” Affects Your Self-Esteem

        “Bottom Line” is how you usually feel about something, based on your early experience. For example, “how you felt when you first left home becomes the emotional bottom line for when you leave other things in your life.”, according to therapist Robert Taibbi [2].

        When we talk about self-esteem, the bottom line is about how people around you treat you, as we grow up taking the voices of people who are significant to us. Did they say you’re adorable, or you’re always not good enough? Did they neglect you that made you feel worthless?

        That largely affects the way you view yourself and hence affect your self-esteem.

        How “Bottom Line” Determines Your “Rules for Living

        Based on the “Bottom Line”, we would form our “Rules for Living”, which are the strategies for dealing with life. For example, if you have the belief that you are always inferior to others, your Rules for Living would be “better not to speak up and to keep a low profile”.

        How Low Self-Esteem Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

        So what are the consequences of having low self-esteem?

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        It Makes You Confuse Love with Low Self-Esteem

        Having a low self-esteem, you expect people to treat you badly.

        When people are being just quite nice to you, you feel overjoyed and have unrealistically good feelings for them. This can be easily mistaken as love and also scare people away who might be just interested in being friends with you (at first).

        It Makes You Have a Lower Hand in the Relationship

        As you think your partner is too good for you, you bear things that you shouldn’t stand for.

        Sometimes you even confuse love with self-esteem. Are you giving in really because you love him/her so much or you just dare not to speak up and bargain?

        It Makes Your Employers Feel That You’re Not Talented

        People with low esteem sometimes are actually gifted. But they don’t know how to show it and “sell” themselves.

        During meeting, they keep quiet, during presentation they speak weakly, during daily conversation they say “sorry” and “maybe” too often…As a result, employers and other colleagues perceive people with low esteem as people without much talents.

        It Can Lead to Depression

        Over time, low self-esteem can lead to depression according to a study done by University of Basel researchers.[3] Psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen added that low self-esteem is “a key factor in both the development and maintenance of depression”.

        How to Improve Self-Esteem

        As we can see, low self-esteem is a deeply rooted issue and leads to lots of consequences. To solve it, it’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. The key is, to use the right ways.

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        1. Ignore All Those “Positivity” Advice

        Very often, we hear people say “Stay positive”, “Hey cheer up!”. People with depression know all these do not help. It just makes them feel worse.

        Same for low self-esteem, simply telling people “To me you’re wonderful!”, “You’re actually awesome”, “Why don’t you appreciate yourself more?”, or even worse “Hey you should be more confident” does not improve their self-esteem. Instead, they would feel inadequate or even guilty of their behavior.

        2. Focus Elsewhere

        “Healthy self esteem needs to emerge subtly.”[4]

        Same as happiness, you don’t immediately feel happier when you tell yourself to be happier. You need some concrete ways to do so like pursuing a goal that truly matters to you, like spending quality time with your loved ones.

        When you want to improve your self-esteem, don’t try too hard on thinking of ways to do so. There’s no direct way to improve it. It should be a by-product of our overall life’s satisfaction.

        According to psychologist Abraham Maslow,[5] to live a fulfilling life, you should take care the 5 levels of human basic needs. To help you understand more about this psychological model we made a video to explain it:

        Or you can refer to the graph below:

        5 Levels of Human Basic Needs

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          To focus elsewhere, we’ve summarized the above items and put them into this list for you:

          • Deep connection with loved ones
          • A healthy body
          • Sense of control
          • A meaningful life purpose
          • Recognition and respect from others
          • Sense of security
          • Creativity

          As you gradually equip yourself with the skills to fulfil the above needs, you’ll forget about self-esteem and suddenly you’ll find that you just feel proud of yourself when you know so much that others don’t.

          Resources to Help Increase Your Self Esteem

          To help you gradually build your self-esteem, here’s a list of the best self-help books that can help you fulfil the goals:

          1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
          2. Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
          3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
          4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
          5. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health
          6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Busines
          7. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
          8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
          9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
          10. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

          The Bottom Line

          If you find yourself having low self-esteem, don’t be hopeless. Have faith in yourself that you can regain self-esteem and become a confident and successful person.

          How?

          Understand the root causes of your low self-esteem and overcome these causes with the advice in this article.

          Featured photo credit: Joe Gardner via unsplash.com

          Reference

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