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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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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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