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Last Updated on December 8, 2019

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 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.

      Why New Year Resolutions Fail And How to Set Yourself up for Success 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit 10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck 9 Simple Steps to Set Goals in Life to Achieve Success How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life

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      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

      How to Use the 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness

      How to Use the 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness

      I was 10 and it was a white Lisa Frank journal with a red bubble gum dispenser on the front. It also came with a heart-shaped lock and key which was a must considering I had an older brother living under the same roof who was always looking for new and inventive ways to humiliate me.

      That one little journal (okay…I called it a diary back then) unlocked a world of potential to me which quite literally became my saving grace, my happy place, for the rest of my life.

      Over the years, the aesthetics of my journal evolved, as did my writing subjects and style thankfully. But the one thing that’s been constant is that, no matter how sad I am or how bad things have seemed before I started writing, somehow the world and my place in it always becomes clearer and less noisy after just 5 minutes of “writing it out.”

      In this article, we will take a look at how investing a few minutes a day in the 5 minute journal can lead you to happiness.

      The Benefits of the 5 Minute Journal

      For most of my life, I never really knew or cared why writing for even 5 minutes made me happier, I just knew it worked.

      If I was feeling lost or unhappy, I’d eventually realize I hadn’t written in a while (duh!). So I’d meet myself back at the blank page and word by word, start feeling more like me again.

      To be completely honest, I did (and still do) this forgetting-to-journal dance way more often than I’d like to admit. For the life of me, I don’t know why I don’t keep doing the thing I know makes me happy every day instead of waiting until I’m unhappy to do the thing. Can you relate?

      I’m pretty certain it’s not just a me thing: it’s a human thing. We know we’ll be happier if we eat better, exercise, disconnect from technology, get more sleep, etc. but often times, it takes us feeling unhappy in order to put in the effort to be more happy.

      A couple of months ago, I found myself in that place:

      I’d hit a wall of resistance around my business and a downturn in my health that caused me to doubt what I was capable of accomplishing. I was completely confused and indecisive about the direction of my business and where I should be focusing my limited energy, so I hired a coach to help me sort through my noisy brain.

      As I laid out all of my decisions and endless to-do lists in front of her, she asked me an important question:

      What’s one thing you can start doing everyday that will have a positive impact on all of these things?

      In other words: What if instead of having to worry about ALL THE THINGS to be happier, you could just do ONE thing and everything else would get better too?

      I could start every day with a few minutes in my journal.

      It’s both hilarious and embarrassing that as a coach and a writer (and a coach who works with writers), that I hadn’t thought of this myself. Alas, as the saying goes, doctors are the worst patients.

      Of course, the answer was writing in my journal! Isn’t the answer almost always the most obvious thing?

      But sometimes, the answer is so obvious, so simple, so free and convenient that we convince ourselves that it can’t possibly do that much to improve our situation. Somehow in the busy-ness of life, I’d convinced myself I just couldn’t spare that time to do something so…(cringe) arbitrary.

      Yet, as I thought about my coach’s question and the ONE THING that could positively affect all the things, I realized that journaling for me has always been so much more than a random outlet for exploring my feelings.

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      Sure, nothing actually happened but me sitting on my bed in my pajamas writing. Over the years, from breakups to big moves, my most life-changing moments–like my decision to pursue writing as a career, to uproot my entire life and move cross country, and my finally feeling ready to become a mother–happened in the quiet moments between me and the pages of my journals.

      How to Be Happy with the 5 Minute Journal

      The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about writing this article. I asked her how often she journals and if she thought it made her happier.

      In general, she said, yes, journaling does seem to help her get things off her chest but she doesn’t always feel better afterward. And, in fact, sometimes if she’s already in a negative place, she can spiral even worse while journaling and go to an even darker place.

      She told me that usually with time and perspective, she can see that just the act of writing and getting out of her head is therapeutic but, suggested that for people like her, prompts to help her not spiral into the negative abyss would be super helpful.

      And so, in order to make sure you get the most out of your 5 minute journal, I’ve broken up each writing prompt based on how you’re feeling so you can let your emotions guide the best prompt for you that day to increase your happiness meter.

      1. When you’re burnt out, talk to your inner hero (a.k.a the “real” you).

      What’s the one thing everyone tells you about maintaining happy, healthy relationships?

      You’ve gotta have great communication!

      But what about your relationship with yourself? How do you connect with you? How do you continue being the hero in your story?

      The same way that you have to make the time to connect with the people in your life who mean the most to you, you also have to make the time for you to hear your voice:

      To remember what YOU sound like amidst all of the noise in the world. To listen to your inner hero.

      For me, the only way I know how to do this, the only way I’ve ever known how to do this, is through journaling.

      Our brains can go down negative spirals, especially when we’re tired and stressed.

      In my last Lifehack article about finding motivation, I walk you through some questions you can ask yourself about whether you’re playing the role of victim or hero of your story. Definitely check it out if you’re really on the brink, or in the midst, of some serious burn out.

      Essentially, if you’re burnt out, you’ve somehow let your circumstances take control of your life. In other words, you’ve started to act like the victim instead of the hero.

      Luckily, just 5 minutes in your journal can help you find your inner hero (your true voice) and reclaim your right to live your happiest life.

      Write down these questions in your journal and answer them one at a time–permission to be 100% honest granted:

      • What do I believe is the #1 reason I’m feeling burnt out?
      • Who or what did I blame in my last answer?
      • Taking 100% responsibility for my own life and decisions, and casting blame on no one (including myself), how can I improve this situation?
      • What decisions am I currently making to stay in these circumstances (how am I choosing them)?
      • What new decisions can I start making to get closer to where I want to be?
      • What do I need to let go of in order to get my energy back? What do I need to say “no” to?

      When you start to own your role of hero, you start to realize how your current choices and limiting beliefs may be holding you back from living the happiest version of your life.

      The great news is once you realize your past choices have brought you to your current circumstances, you also realize that you can make different choices to bring you to a happier place.

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      2. When you’re doubting yourself, write off the gremlins.

      Whenever I’m feeling down on myself, it usually has less to do with what’s happening on the outside, and more to do of what’s happening between my ears. In other words, how “I’m” talking to myself.

      We all have little shame gremlins (I call mine “Mean Girls”) who live inside of our heads and tell us we’re dumb and ugly and worthless. The only way to combat those noisy buggers is to expose them for the liars they are.

      Writing down these lies makes them powerless. Once they’re out of your head and on paper, you realize how ridiculous they truly are (even though they were completely owning you just moments before).

      I like to write out all the nasties and put them in their place (which is on the page and out of my head, pronto). Then I can go back to living my happy truth.

      Here are some powerful questions to ask your inner gremlins (perhaps better known as you being a real jerk to yourself). Write down each question and answer them in your journal.

      Ask your gremlins:

      • What are you saying about me? (Don’t hold back. Really write down all of the terrible thoughts you’re having about yourself)

      Then ask:

      • Is anything true about each of the things I just wrote?
      • Repeat this same exercise for each of the nasty things your gremlins are saying about you and expose them in their lies once and for all.

      When you’re done, answer these powerful questions:

      • Knowing what I know now, what’s one thing I can do to improve each of these areas of my life?
      • Knowing that the voices of the gremlins are strong, what are 3 new beliefs or positive affirmations I can say daily about myself to drown out their negativity?

      For example, let’s use a fictional character of a guy named Sam. Sam’s gremlins are telling him “you’re a lousy parent, a terrible spouse, and mediocre at work.”

      If Sam asks himself, “Am I really a lousy parent?” Maybe his answer is “No, I love my kids and I’m doing the best I can. I just wish I could be more attentive when I’m with them instead of so distracted by work.”

      So maybe Sam decides to not bring his work computer home with him anymore and really unplug once he leaves the office so he can give his kids his full attention.

      Sam decides that his new daily affirmation is: “I’m a loving father and am fully present for my kids. I save the best of me for my family.”

      Imagine how much better you’ll feel when you start to take back control over your self talk and program in the messages that empower you and get you closer to the person you strive to be.

      3. When you’re indecisive or afraid, talk to your fear.

      Those same shame gremlins or mean girls inside of our heads feed off of fear. It’s like a good piece of gossip they can’t help but spread and exaggerate.

      Luckily, when we write out how we’re feeling and what negative thoughts are spiraling, we can generally recognize when it’s actually just our fears talking.

      You’re probably wondering how to tell if it’s fear talking or your intuition, right? This is where exploring your feelings comes into play.

      Are you feeling powerless? Are you feeling anxious or sad? Everyone’s response to fear is different but it’s never a positive feeling.

      If you’re at peace and calm but feel nudged that something isn’t right, that’s most-likely your intuition talking. But if you’re in a glass cage of negative emotions, you can bet fear is the culprit.

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      Don’t hate on fear too much though. Our fears are just trying to protect us from something–the rub is they also usually keep us from something even better in the process.

      I like to use journaling as a way to have a little talk with my fear, understand where it’s coming from and then decide if it’s worth listening to.

      Here’s your journaling prompt for hashing it out with your fear:

      Again, write down these questions in your journal one at a time and answer each one:

      Ask your fear:

      • What are you trying to protect me from?

      Once you answer that, ask:

      • What are you preventing me from having if I listen to you?

      If the thing you really want is on the other side of your fear, then you know what you have to do next (luckily journals are a great place to make to-do lists as well)!

      My last and favorite questions to ask fear is:

      • What’s the absolute worst-case scenario?

      For example, let’s say you’re terrified of breaking ties with a client who is making your professional life miserable. You may answer this question with something like “My client blacklists me and smears ugly rumors about me all around town and not only do I lose one client but my entire business goes down.”

      Eeesh. That does sound scary. Now ask yourself:

      • What are some steps I can take to ensure the worst case scenario doesn’t happen?

      And then:

      • How likely is it that the worst-case scenario will actually happen (especially if I use the plan above)?

      Maybe, when you think about it, the client is actually preventing you from bringing in new business because they’re taking up so much of your time.

      And maybe that client doesn’t even have the best reputation so the chances of them being able to bring you down are pretty small.

      What if you spent one hour a week for the next 3 weeks working on bringing in new business to replace the the income you make from that client, and figure out a way to end the contract in a very respectful, classy way to hopefully make the odds of them making a stink minimal?

      Now you have a plan! But there’s one more question to ask yourself:

      • If the worst case scenario happened, what would you do?

      Maybe you realize that if you really needed to, you could always go back to your previous job; they loved you and beg you to all the time. Or you could get by for a couple of months until you were able to bring in some more clients, especially if you cut back on expenses.

      Once you stare your fear in the face, it magically loses its power. Left inside of your head, it can destroy you; but taking a few minutes to look at it and use it as a friend who’s showing you where you may need to implement a plan in order to protect yourself, you can take back the reins of your happiness and realize that fear really isn’t all that scary at all.

      At this point, it needs to be said that journaling isn’t only good for getting out the nasty feelings, it’s also super useful for recording the good stuff of life which leads me to the fourth writing prompt.

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      4. When you’re in a funk, focus on gratitude.

      Just about any happiness book or article you read will tell you that being in a state of gratitude dramatically increases your happiness. For me, having a place to get down to the truth of my life and what’s actually going really well and what I’m grateful for helps put everything into perspective, especially when I’ve got a case of the blues.

      Here are some of my favorite gratitude prompts to help get me out of a funk and focusing on the sunnier side of life.

      Write down these questions in your journal one at a time and answer each one:

      • What is something good that happened today?
      • What made me laugh or smile today?
      • Who am I grateful for today?
      • What am I grateful for today?
      • With my “gratitude glasses” on, how do my problems or the funk I’m in look in relation to all of the good things I have in my life?

      Take a look at this article too to learn more about keeping a gratitude journal: How a Gratitude Journal and Positive Affirmations Can Change Your Life

      Shifting out of a funk and into gratitude shifts your energy out of “woe is me” and into “yay for me” which means, based on the Law of Attraction, you’ll begin to attract more of the things you want and less of what you don’t. Seriously, yay for you!

      5. When you’re uninspired or bored with the status quo, let it flow.

      One of the best and easiest ways to tap into your inspiration and feel a little bit of creative magic in your life is through stream of consciousness writing.

      I dare you to put your pen on a blank page for 5 minutes and do nothing but make sure the pen doesn’t stop moving.

      No thinking. No judgements. The only thing you’re not allowed to do is overthink or judge your writing. It’s all good. Everything that comes out is good (even if it’s total crap).

      When I was in grad school, I took this awesome class on creativity and in it read a book called From Where you Dream by Robert Olen Butler. The book is mostly about fiction writing but essentially, he says that the best time to tap into your subconscious (where your “flow” lives) is when you first wake up in the morning. Since you’re fresh from dreaming, your brain is still tuned to that frequency, so to speak, and not clouded by “reality” from your day-to-day life.

      So my last and final 5-minute journal prompt for you, uninspired one, is to wake up and let yourself keep dreaming on paper.

      Here are your instructions:

      1. Set the timer for 5 minutes.
      2. Open your journal.
      3. Pick up your pen.
      4. Keep your pen moving until your timer stops.

      What I love about this is it requires releasing all expectations and giving yourself creative freedom to let whatever needs to come out come out.

      Become Happier in 5 Minutes (or Even Less)

      Giving yourself a safe space to not expect anything other than to just show up and be honest is incredibly liberating.

      In a world where there are endless things we are supposed to be doing, and ways in which we’re supposed to be doing them, I love showing up to a blank page with no requirements other than to just let my hand move.

      It’s free and requires nothing from me other than just showing up wherever I am–talk about an endless source of grace!

      Plus it gets my myriad thoughts out of my head and allows me to release them from my body, which research at top universities has shown can dramatically reduce stress.[1]

      You don’t need to change EVERYTHING in your life all at once (it doesn’t work anyway, trust me, I’ve tried).

      Start with giving yourself the gift of reflection in your journal every day and see how your life starts to change. I guarantee you’ll feel more connected with yourself in the process and over time everything in your life will start to be a better reflection of you and what you value.

      And that, my friends, is the key to lasting happiness.

      More Journaling Ideas

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Health Publishing: Writing about emotions may ease stress and trauma

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