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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

5 Steps to Building Confidence That Is Unshakeable

5 Steps to Building Confidence That Is Unshakeable

Building confidence is not about ability; it’s about belief. Ayn Rand wisely said,

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

As evidenced by Rand’s quote above, a healthy sense of belief in oneself can go a long way in making you into a confident person.

Belief and confidence are like the chicken and the egg, inextricably linked in such a way that it doesn’t really matter which one came first because they are both essential to the other’s existence. When building confidence, we must believe, and to believe we must be confident that what we believe is right.

No one is born confident. Your confidence and beliefs are shaped by your lived experiences, including failure and disappointment that can cause you to question everything you thought you knew.

When you question your beliefs, it directly affects your ability to be confident. However, it is almost certain that you will fail and be disappointed from time to time. Therefore, knowing how to maintain your confidence in the face of those low points is paramount[1].

In an effort to help you avoid the destabilizing effects of failure and disappointment, here are 5 steps to building confidence that is unshakeable.

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1. Create a Strong Personal Belief Statement

A strong belief statement, or affirmation, can be a game changer. Your belief statement should be both a distillation of your beliefs and a statement of encouragement that reminds you of your capabilities. You should feel good and empowered when you say your belief statement to yourself.

An example of a belief statement is: “I fearlessly succeed, no matter the circumstances, and remain victoriously affluent.” The statement speaks to an ability to overcome life’s failures and disappointments while still accomplishing whatever must be accomplished.

In order to create your belief statement:

  1. Take 10 minutes to write down some challenges you have faced thus far and any themes that keep coming up in your life.
  2. Spend 10 more minutes generating some possible beliefs statements (1 or 2 sentences each) that sum up your ability to overcome those challenges.
  3. Spend 5-10 minutes saying the statements you have created out loud.
  4. Choose the statement that evokes the most positive emotion and confidence in you.

When you have finished, memorize this statement, write it on your bathroom mirror, or carry it in your pocket to reference when you need a pick-me-up. Frequent recitation of your belief statement out loud or internally will start to lay the foundation for building confidence in the long-term.

You can learn a few other tips on building self-belief in this video:

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

Through repetition we gain facility. The more you practice being confident, the more confident you will be.

There are things that you already know you are good at or are capable of. Those past events can be helpful as you practice being confident, especially when it provides evidence to support the belief that you can do anything((Kingston University: Self-confidence at work: understanding and developing the construct)).

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Any time you believe you can accomplish something or deliver on an expectation, that is an opportunity to practice confidence. Simply expressing your confidence out loud to yourself or others can have a truly transformative effect.

The act of verbalizing your true self-confidence immediately gives a positive belief more weight, and sharing it with others allows them to validate and support you in that belief. When they echo their confidence in you, it will help you in building confidence in yourself.

If self-talk isn’t doing the trick, try tapping into the power of body language with power poses. Striking a power pose has been shown to increase levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol, which, combined, will push you to take more risks and feel less stress while doing so.[2]

Start building confidence with power poses

    You have to strengthen your confidence like a muscle[3], otherwise you don’t stand a chance when life hits you with unexpected disappointment.

    3. Surround Yourself With Confident and Competent People

    You are a reflection of both the people you spend time with and your environment. Therefore, making sure that you’re spending time with people who exhibit confidence in themselves is important. They are modeling behaviors that are beneficial for your growth.

    Watching others exercise their confidence despite life’s challenges will help deepen your belief and confidence in yourself. Their presence will not only serve as a reminder of how to be confident in tough times, but it will also remind you that you are not alone on this journey, which is the best positive feedback you could receive.

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    4. Keep Track of Your Wins

    The internal critic can get pretty loud and aggressive when you are dealing with self-doubt, which can snowball into an all-out assault on your beliefs and make building confidence difficult.

    We tend to be very good at remembering what went wrong but not as great at remembering what we did well. Keeping a record creates an archive of valuable data[4].

    When you have your wins written down, you can always refer back to them as tangible examples of your capabilities, bravery, and accomplishments. Your inner critic will be hard pressed to negate such compelling examples of your confidence in action. These examples are great prompts to reconnect with your confidence and exercise that muscle.

    5. Trust in the Greater Universality of Life

    Trust, here, refers to a deeper knowing that allows you to experience a deep faith that leads to confidence.

    When you trust that there is something greater in store for you and that everything happens for a reason, then you are able to tap into a sense of acceptance when things go awry. This naturally helps you build greater self-confidence and makes it easier to get out of your comfort zone from time to time.

    There is a beauty in your individual spiritual experience that is unique only to you. Many things are unknowable, including the future. However, what you do know is that you are here on this planet with millions of other people, all trying to live their best lives and bring something of value to their community.

    You can trust that you are dedicated to doing what is necessary to move along your journey to self-realization. You can trust that, up until this moment, you have allowed yourself to be guided to where you need to be — whether by intuition or by something else.

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    Cultivating a deep trust in the universality of life and the things we know to be true is an invaluable anchor for our confidence.

    Final Thoughts

    Building confidence is important for achieving your goals, and many people feel anxious about that process. Ultimately, what we believe about ourselves affects our confidence. We have all heard the old adage,

    “If you don’t think you can, then you won’t.”

    It may seem like an oversimplification, but it’s not. When you believe in yourself deeply, and the belief is rooted in deep trust, there is very little that can shake your confidence. Practices like those above will help you feel more confident and accomplish what is possible every day.

    More Tips on Building Confidence

    Featured photo credit: Xan Griffin via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Awilda Rivera

    Success Coach - Author - Speaker - Yogi - Advisor

    How to Get Your Life Together When You Feel Overwhelmed 5 Steps to Building Confidence That Is Unshakeable How to Stop Comparing Your Life to Others (Step-by-Step Guide) How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now Feeling Out of Place in Life? 5 Ways to Get Back on Track

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    Last Updated on November 12, 2020

    How to Fight Your Irrational Fears and Stay Strong

    How to Fight Your Irrational Fears and Stay Strong

    I could hear my baby crying but was frozen in the doorway, unable to move. The crying got worse and I knew that unless I comforted the infant soon the baby would be inconsolable, and yet my feet wouldn’t move. I didn’t look at the crib but the floor in front, where the venomous hairy monster sat….okay it was a UK spider so very unlikely to kill me at all, and yet still my body was frozen as the tears fell down my face. “What a useless mother you are,” I berated myself as I faced these irrational fears.

    My fear of spiders had not been controlled for years, and I was at the stage where I wouldn’t open a newspaper until my husband had read it and removed the images of spiders. I hated houses that had wooden floors or skirting boards because every knot in the wood could be a spider about to crawl across me.

    At the height of my fear, I tried to get out of a moving car. Clearly this harmless 8-legged creature had massive levels of power over me, but now that the fear is gone, I’m never going to love spiders, but I’m not going to leave the room because of one, and I can read the word without freaking out and sobbing.

    If you think that fear is irrational, what about the fear of going to airports? Or the fear of not asking for help?

    Today I want to look at how our irrational fears impact us, and how they can destroy our success. They can damage our health and even stop us from living our lives. And then I’ll share the benefits of fighting that fear and, most importantly, how you can fight your fears, too.

    How Irrational Fears Impact Your Life

    The thing about irrational fears is that we are not keen to look at the particular object or situation causing them as it causes a great deal of distress. It makes us feel inadequate, weak, and silly because we can’t do things that it seems everyone else can. That gives the fear power.

    Fear loves negative emotions and saps up yours, making your fear bigger and uglier and even more powerful. Not ideal to say the least. Fears can cause us to do any of the following:

    Avoid Certain Situations

    If you know you may have to face your fear, you can find yourself dodging parties, new jobs, or new experiences where you aren’t sure you will be able to protect yourself.

    Hinder Sleep

    We may have trouble falling asleep, thinking the thing we fear will “get us in the night.” For me this was massive, and I stopped sleeping, which had massive implications when my job was to look after a toddler and a baby. I felt half dead most of the time!

    Experience High Levels of Stress and Anxiety

    Stress can be the cause of unhealthy decisions. Drinking alcohol when we shouldn’t, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better…the list of excuses that we hold on to is long so that we can avoid the cause of our stress. These high levels of anxiety can even lead to panic attacks or a long-term anxiety disorder.

    If we experience long-term stress and anxiety from our fears, it can cause health issues that may extend far beyond the times we are actually feeling fear[1].

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    Irrational fears can cause long-term stress effects

       

      Negative Thinking and Mental Distress

      Having irrational fears can damage our confidence. Having coached thousands, I know that a lack of confidence is usually the underlining impactor on most people’s success across all areas of their lives.

      Seeming Aloof

      We risk looking aloof or arrogant because we won’t participate like other people. Our fears can even isolate us in our personal and professional lives, too.

      Feeling Debilitated

      Needless to say, these fears may look irrational and shouldn’t exist to the outside world, but to the sufferer they are debilitating. They can ultimately impact their earning potential, love life, hobbies, travels and personal and professional success.

      Why Bother Fighting the Fear?

      Couldn’t you just ensure you live your life in a way that you don’t have to deal with your fear?

      I had a client that was so scared of flying that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport. I had another who had avoided public speaking for over 20 years and yet now, at the height of their profession, they had no choice. There was another who could never ask for help, and another who feared people finding out who they really were.

      All these fears and many more can be fixed, but only if we can appreciate the benefits of fighting the fear.

      If you’re going to change the way you do something that has impacted your life, thoughts, and actions for years, it can be hard to believe change is possible.

      The first thing you must do is give yourself a big enough reason why. Go back through your life and remember all the occasions that this fear was there.

      Remember the feelings, the actions, the negative feelings you felt afterwards. Really experience the fear. Make it so painful that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders drawing up, and your breath changing. That fear is causing physical change in your body; doesn’t feel good, does it?

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      When the irrational fear is challenged and destroyed, it can’t have power over you. New opportunities can come your way, and instead of fearing them, you can be open to new hobbies, more travel, or expanded job opportunities. You can plan on being happier, healthier, and more confident.

      How to Stop Irrational Fears

      In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I cover 12 of the biggest fears that I see impact success and happiness. Not all of these are obvious, but they all have far-reaching consequences.

      Here are some of those ideas to help you fight your fear and get more of what you want out of life:

      1. “Why I’m Awesome”

      Creating a 2-page handwritten document of why you are awesome can help. This document will be packed with achievements, successes, overcoming adversity, and all of those will be full of positive emotions, actions, and feelings. It is not easy to write; however, it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish something.

      2. Draw out Your Emotions

      Earlier, we looked at how irrational fears can damage every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow the negative spiral down, you can follow the positive spiral up again.

      I draw these individually for clients, and with each action, thought, or feeling, we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is an automatic thought process, then we can start to see that we need to think, do or feel something different.

      3. Acknowledge That You Need to Change

      It’s not easy to change, and that is a belief that many hold. Remember that when you want to do, think, or feel differently, you’ve already achieved the first step, and that is recognizing something must change (you don’t need to know what).

      Then, it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting it, but feeling that it is yours to take on and change.

      There will be times when you fail. Instead of berating yourself, just start again and take a look at the list you made in step 1. 

      4. Choose Your Words Carefully

      Any thought that gives power to your fear takes away power from you to fight it. Therefore, choose how you word your goal to overcome your fear carefully[2].

      Think thoughts like “I remember when I achieved X, and that reminds me I’m far tougher and more capable than I give myself credit for.”

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      Talk yourself up to overcome fears

        You can practice cultivating positive self-talk with this article.

        5. Believe That You Have the Control

        The only person that can control what we think and feel is us.

        If you really think about that for a moment, can you see that you have the right to think and feel anything you want right now? I’m certain you wouldn’t choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what would you choose to think about your fear?

        6. Put up Physical Reminders

        Physical reminders or visuals can be great for reorienting the mind toward overcoming irrational fears.

        For example, the CEO who was petrified of public speaking but could handle a conference call with 300 without a second thought imagined the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the positive thoughts and ideas we’d created.

        The client that always worried that they were an imposter and “someone else can do this better” pinned on their office wall a tag cloud of all the words that made up their “Why I’m awesome” document.

        They had a daily reminder. They were the right one for the job, and they could do it.

        What would be your visual clues to remind you that you can overcome this?

        7. Change Your Environment

        Music, natural environment, and even smells can impact the way we think and feel. Know the music that makes you feel alive, calm, and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel positive and energized. Even choose your work environment or clothing to empower you.

        Giving yourself physical reminders toward action can help power up your emotional state, too.

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        8. Don’t Go It Alone

        The fear to ask for help is very real (and has a whole chapter in my book), so I know people really struggle with this. The fact is we all need people. We are not insular by design, and as such it can be tough to admit that you have irrational fears that you need help with.

        However, sharing your intense fear with a trusted friend, colleague, loved one, or mental health professional can mean that when you are feeling the fear, you can talk to someone. It could be that you share with them the contents of your tool kit and ask their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how to best support you.

        It’s not a sign of weakness to tell people about your specific phobia. It takes massive levels of strength to say, “I have this fear, and I want to get rid of it.”

        9. Pay Attention to Your Body

        One of the reasons that a fear can escalate is because we have come to accept that response. Our body reacted in a certain way, repeated the behavior, and formed a habit that was accepted.

        Challenging a fear can be done using our body when we appreciate that fear is actually a reaction inside our bodies. We don’t need to understand where in our brains or what chemicals are racing through us to use our physicality to help us challenge our fears.

        When I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose[3] was proved and disproved by various researchers around the world 3 times. Whether it’s real or not, the fact is the way we stand, the way we breathe, and even the speed at which we speak can impact us, as well as those around us.

        If you have a fear of public speaking, or a fear of people thinking you are stupid, or a fear of what people are thinking, you can look at how you speak, stand, and move. If you compare these with people you deem confident and happy in these situations, how do you look? What can you learn?

        The research around placebos reinforces the idea that if it feels like it’s working, then keep doing it! What could you use to help reinforce your power and fearlessness?

        Final Thoughts

        A little fear can be good. However, when irrational fears become debilitating, it’s time to take a long look at what you can do to undermine their power over your life.

        Despite having an absolute hatred of public speaking 10 years ago, I now love an audience, and yet I have a healthy level of fear. That level of fear ensures that I prepare well, do my best to understand my audience, and push myself to deliver a great speech. Those thoughts are all sensible.

        As you aim to reduce your irrational fears, cultivate a healthy sense of fear to help you achieve success.

        More About Fighting Fears

        Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

        Reference

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