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How to Be Confident Without Being Cocky

How to Be Confident Without Being Cocky
Picture of a man that is over-confident
    What? Me, cocky?

    You are a people pleaser. You are someone that doesn’t know how to speak your mind. You are someone that is afraid that your opinion isn’t important. You let people treat you however they want and don’t give them consequences for their actions.

    This is the exact same way that I felt six years ago. I couldn’t overcome the debilitating fear that I wasn’t worth anything. I had no confidence. Over the years I did develop confidence and a realistic view of what I am capable of, but I didn’t want to go the opposite way – becoming cocky and full of myself instead of being “sure” of myself.

    Here is how you can become confident without becoming cocky.

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    Know your strengths

    This is the exact thing I didn’t know that led me to believe that I wasn’t worth anything. It’s important to be able to identify what you are good at in your life, if only to choose that something as the thing that you devote your time to. When you find your strengths you can accomplish things in your life with much more confidence.

    There are a few good ways to find your strengths. A simple way would be to find the things that you like to do and the things that make you feel “strong”; that is, find the tasks and actions you do on a regular basis that make you feel good about yourself. These tend to be your strengths.

    More importantly, know your limitations

    While knowing your strengths is important, to make sure that you are only confident and not cocky, you have to know what your limitations are.

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    If you scoff at the notion that you have any limitations, you need more than ever to realize that you do. Everyone sucks as something. In fact, everyone sucks at most things. The thing is that we need to know which ones they are to avoid the “Superman Syndrome” or the idea that everything you do or can do you are instantly good at.

    Get a crew

    Nothing is better than having people around that can keep you accountable and can speak up when you are becoming too full of yourself. Having people that are honest and not afraid to show you the reality of any situation are some of the best people to have as friends and confidants.

    Having others around that only support you and lift you up and don’t show you where you are misstepping is certainly a good way to become cocky. I’m not saying to have people around you that make you feel like crap; you need people around you that aren’t afraid to tell you the truth about yourself and your situations.

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    Log your successes and failures

    A good way to gain instant confidence is to take a look at all of the important things you have accomplished over the weeks, months, and years in some kind of log format. Doing so will further solidify the idea that you are by no means worthless and that you can truly give something to society. On the opposite end, reviewing your past failures will keep your cockiness at bay and show you that you actually can screw up, no matter how awesome your past accomplishments are.

    A good way to log these would be in a simple spreadsheet or even two text files (successes and failures).

    Be mindful and stay grounded

    Being mindful is one of the best ways to stay grounded in reality. The practice of mindfulness will help you see yourself (as well as others around) for who and what they truly are; no more and no less.

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    You don’t have to be a meditation guru to do this, simply stop every so often and take stock of your current situation by becoming aware of your surroundings, your feelings, and your actions. In fact you could set up small reminders to do this throughtout the day to keep yourself on track. Although that isn’t very “buddha-like”, it will definitely help you to remember to be mindful throughout your day.

    Review and repeat

    To make sure that you are confident without being cocky in the long run you have to consistently “check yourself”. Take out your success/failure log and look it over, ask your “crew” if you are being overly-confident (or even if you are not being confident enough), and stop every so often to become mindful of reality.

    By following the principals above you can ensure that you are confident without being cocky.

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    20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a daily plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a time limit to each task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    Google Calendar is great – I use it. It’s even better if you can sync it to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are.

    Here’s more tips about how to use calendar for better time management: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    Check out these Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools and pick the ones that fit your needs.

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    5. Know your deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to be early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time box your activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a clock visibly placed before you

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set reminders 15 minutes before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    Find out more here about how reminders help you remember everything.

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track your time spent

    Egg Timer is a simple online countdown timer. You key in the amount of time you want it to track (example: “30 minutes”, “1 hour”) and it’ll count down in the background. When the time is up,the timer will beep. Great way to be aware of your time spent.

    But besides Egg Timer, you can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that fits yourself the best.

    14. Don’t fuss about unimportant details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch similar tasks together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate your time wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off when you need to

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave buffer time in-between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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