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9 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

9 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

Finding that extra dose of confidence in times of personal uncertainty is a tricky thing to master. And even when you’re able to find it, it can be even more difficult to maintain. Confidence is, however, one of the strongest personal traits we can posses. It has the remarkable power to help you maintain positivity and happiness in your life at a consistent rate.

Building confidence is a never-ending uphill battle, and cultivating it is a gradual process. But here are 9 easy ways to boost your confidence and help you feel like the worthy person you already are:

1. Don’t obsess over others

I used to believe that happiness and confidence was only for the famous or well-liked, but that’s not the case. Comparing your life to others is dangerous because it normally leaves you feeling worthless in some aspect. They have something you lack or they’re leading a life that you think you want. Keep in mind that everyone is human, and part of being human is dealing with things that aren’t always pleasant. Even LeBron James and Jennifer Lawrence have personal issues that challenge their confidence daily. Instead of focusing on what you lack, focus on your goals, talents, and the things you enjoy doing most. Cultivate your passions instead of trying to change them.

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2. It’s okay to work in silence

For whatever reason, our culture is led to believe that the loud-mouth, showoff, pompous people are the most confident of the bunch. We believe worth goes unnoticed if you’re not socially recognized for something. This, too, is not the case. It’s often the ones with the most humility, who prefer work out of the public limelight, who are the most confident. Someone who shows a true display of strength, depth, and pure self confidence is the one who can continue pursuing a dream without a constant stream of public appraisal.

3. Everyone isn’t out to get you

I promise, it’s not just you who thinks you’re a walking target. You’re not the only one worrying about how others think about or perceive you. We all do it. Sadly, and thankfully in this case, we’re all pretty self-absorbed. Our internal dialogue, when we’re not petrified that others are judging us, usually defaults to the bills we have to pay, the chores we wished our roommate did, or the spaghetti we’re eating for the fifth time this week (…and it’s only Wednesday). Everyone else is fixated on something personal that’s looming, not the haircut you think looks bad or the small stain on your pants.

4. It’s okay to laugh it off

Everyone messes up from time to time. It’s pretty unavoidable unless you annex yourself somewhere deep underground or far into the woods, which would be a fairly anti-social existence. An easy way to boost self confidence is to accept your flaws, foibles, and failings in stride, with the understanding that mistakes build character. Every rejection or face plant is an opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed on the next try. Even if you can’t muster a chuckle when you fall, try at least smiling.

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5. Let go of what you can’t control

Everyone wants to be in charge of their own life. The things that happen, the people they meet, the way things play out, anything and everything in respect to our life we want to control. Sadly, this just isn’t possible. In an effort to avoid a theological debate, no one can control everything that happens to them. What you can always control, no matter what happens externally, is your attitude and reaction. To echo the previous point, take negative happenings and occurrences in stride with the hope of growth and thankfulness for the learning opportunity.

6. Compliment others

Being internally negative often results in outward negative habits like gossip, insults, and passive aggression. An effective way to help change your negative internal dialogue is to consciously change your habits of praising others. Take a stand against focusing on irritating things other people do and look for the best in them instead. Also, honesty and sincerity go a long way with compliments. People can tell when it’s forced or fabricated. If you try to actively bring out the best in others, you will in turn be well very well-liked.

7. Collaborate with others

We’re all consistently too hard on ourselves. When we initially take on a project, or try to do something, we feel alone and solely responsible for the outcome. This, in turn, causes us to focus on the parts of the project we’re deficient in, lowering self confidence further. So, what if you were to gather like-minded people who share specialized skill sets to make something really great? This will allow and encourage you to focus on something you’re really good at. You’ll not only contribute to something you believe in, but your talents will also be recognized and praised by others.

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8. Take yourself out on a date

We’re existing in the most interconnected period in the history of mankind. With the advent of social media networks, it feels like we’re always having six conversations at one time. Even though a slew of likes, comments, and post shares can elevate your self esteem, it can also leave us feeling worthless in times when we’re not getting any social media engagement. Sadly, lots of people, especially millennials, are letting their happiness run parallel with the amount of likes their latest Instagram post received. This is far from healthy. Try taking a step back, leaving your phone in a safe place, and spending some time alone doing one of your favorite activities.

9. Be kind

A simple idea that’s often the hardest to practice. One of the easiest ways to elevate your self worth is to do worthy things for others and yourself. Going the extra mile to help a friend in a pinch or staying an extra hour to bail out a coworker on a huge report will instantly make you feel confident. And, much like the sixth point above, kindness and “good vibes” always seem to find their way back to you. Simply put, if you act in accordance with the Golden Rule, you’ll start to think more highly of yourself.

Confidence is evasive, but you can find it. Utilizing the tips and steps listed above is a great place to start. Confidence isn’t built when the answers are known, but instead when you’re ready to face the questions.

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Featured photo credit: Smiling Girl Wallpaper via wallpaperseries.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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