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7 Strategies to Increase Confidence

7 Strategies to Increase Confidence

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.”

Confidence. It’s the one thing we all want, yet the one thing we all struggle with from time to time. These seven simple strategies will help you build your confidence from the inside out. Let’s look at Joe. He has been through some tough times in his life, from the recent death of his mother, to his child having a major medical issue. Like many of us, Joe values his family. His strict travel schedule, un-prioritized lifestyle, and desire for success has kept him from spending quality time with his family. While Joe thought what he was doing was the definition of success, he is now overwhelmed with regret, shame, failure, and is struggling to get through these difficult times.  While many of us share similar stories as Joe, it’s important to reflect, renew, and release what no longer serves us by integrating these seven strategies to increase our self-confidence.

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Healing starts from within.

While Joe could blame himself for not being there when his family needed him most, it’s important to remember that all of us get caught up in life and forget the most important thing. The things that we value the most. Joe, like many of us, needs to look within to heal the hurt, pain, and regret he’s suppressing from having to deal with major life issues like the death of his mother. Instead of blaming himself Joe needs to forgive himself for not recognizing that his pattern of behavior was hurting not only his family, but more importantly himself.  When we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others.

Face your control issues.

While all of us want control over one aspect of our life or another, it’s important to recognize that when we release the control that we have, the universe gives us what we want. While Joe could control his travel schedule, work agenda, and other things, he could not control the fact that his child was born with a medical issue or that it was his mother’s time to go. Most of the time, we try to control the things we can’t control, and in doing so get angry, frustrated, and upset when what we expect a certain result and in return get something else.  By engaging in explosive arguments, you refuse to take responsibility for yourself.  Ask yourself, “What is it costing me?” If the answer is your dreams, identity, or dignity, the cost is too high.

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Give yourself credit.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Give credit where credit is due?” Just take a second and look back on your life and realize how far you’ve come, how many times you’ve failed and picked yourself up, how many successes you’ve had and give yourself credit. For the small successes make a huge difference in the way we look at and treat ourselves.

Understand your history.

Change revolves around learning and all learning creates change.  Your brain and body are a sophisticated communication system.  Your thoughts create inner standards or rules which were developed from the time you were a child.  These standards and rules dominate your pattern of previous and continued behavior throughout life.  While it’s critical to understand your history, it’s more important to re-learn these patterns of behavior to maximize your personal potential while governing your choices and actions with precision.  Joe may have made mistakes in the past that hurt the relationships he had with those closest to him, but by understanding his pattern of behavior he will be able to move forward and progress at a steady pace.

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Behave your way to success.

All too often we claim we are busy and although we might be, the problem is that we are not being productive. Productivity increases the efficiency of an organization. This allows you to get more done in less time. Productivity is much more important than revenues and profits, because profits only reflect the end result whereas productivity reflects the increased efficiency as well as effectiveness of you overall. Moreover, it enables you to find out your strengths and weaknesses. It also lets you easily identify threats as well as opportunities that prevail in the market as a result of competition and changes in the business environment as a whole.

Communicate with emotional integrity.  Empathetic listening is the basis for the integrity of communication that facilitates rapport and understanding. There is nothing people love more than talking about themselves.  In any important relationship, mis-communications and mistakes are very likely to happen between people. What is important is how we work these problems out. Instead of having problems end up damaging relationships and trust, these can become opportunities to learn and grow from each other. The most important skill we have is not what we say, but how well we listen. 

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Charge what you are worth.

Too many times we focus our skills and abilities on twenty different things, spreading our plate thin, and our time even thinner.  And, it is these exact things we complain are not fulfilling our basic needs.  By helping people for free, it is pulling you away from what you are naturally called to do.  While people will always want and need your help, value comes with a price tag.  E-mail, commenting on blogs, social media, etc., it all interrupts and distracts you from more important things that truly benefit both the business and the bottom line. Charge what you are worth, and don’t apologize.

While determining what direction to take in life, many of us make the same mistake. We try to apply the principles of our parents, spouses, co-workers, etc., to our own individual journey. Then, we’re surprised when we’re miserable. The first thing to do when trying to connect to your life’s purpose is to set aside the need to please others or live up to anyone else’s expectations. Be completely honest about what matters most to you. Define your core values, respect, and be yourself. This and this alone will automatically increase your self-confidence.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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