5 Ways to Boost Your Confidence
What’s your confidence level? Is it high? Does it need a boost? Or does it just depend on the day?
This has come up in a couple of recent conversations I’ve had with people – and they’ve been struggling with confidence and a belief in their abilities and themselves.
First – let’s define confidence: it’s that feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of your own abilities and qualities.
Think of a time when you felt confident – on top of the world – like you could do anything! How did that feel? Did you feel strong? Unstoppable? I’ve got this? You could do or handle whatever was thrown your way.
Now maybe, you didn’t always have that ability, but you started out small…. In a low risk situation, and you tried something new. Maybe it worked just fine. Maybe not, and if not, you adjusted and tried again.. until you got better. That grew your confidence!
Here’s an example. When I was starting out reporting in TV news, I started in a small TV market. I worked in the Redding, California bureau for the station located in Chico. As an entry-level market, reporters did everything ourselves – shot our own video, drove our own news car, set up our own stories. And you made mistakes — hopefully not too many, but the audience (at least when I was there) was small, so it was a lower risk environment than if you were appearing on a TV station in New York or Los Angeles.
Then you worked your way up to larger TV markets… as you gained more experience and more confidence. By the time I landed in Seattle, I felt pretty confident in my abilities, and I had great people around me to help me get even better!
The one question I have for you — if you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect anyone else to?
Here are a couple of ways to grow your confidence… and I’d love to hear your ways that you become more confident.
1. Be positive — who do you surround yourself with? When I worked in news.. especially at my stations in Salinas and then in Seattle, I had really wonderful people around me to help me learn my craft. I look at things from a ‘glass half full’ perspective, and I like to think that I’m generally a positive person. People don’t like to work with a grump, and being positive, and practicing positive psychology – expect the best – helps my confidence level.
2. Body language and how you hold your body. How you hold yourself informs your brain how you’re feeling. If you stand with your shoulders back, stand up straight and put a smile on your face — those physical actions actually tell your brain that you are confident. Try it! If you close down your body, cross your arms and frown — you won’t feel confident. Your body language is sending a different message to your brain. It’s like Amy Cuddy in her book Presence, and in her TED talk – not fake it till you make it, but fake it till you become it! Your brain actually believes you when you stand up tall.
3. Limit the negative self-talk. We all have stories we tell ourselves about what we can and cannot do. If you tell yourself you can’t – you’re right. It’s like that old Bob Newhart video — Stop it… and if you haven’t seen it… just click on the link.
You are enough. And if you really want to try something new – do it. You will gain confidence just by trying. Even if you didn’t used to be able to do something (like speak in public), you CAN take steps to move forward, try it, and get better. You will become more confident in your ability to do it!
4. Prepare!!! I can’t emphasize this enough. People totally underestimate the time spent preparing to take on a new skill, or show up as an expert. Prepare… and then prepare some more. Practice!! You have to do the work to get really good at doing something. Mastery is possible. And it creates confidence. Even people who operate at a high level have spent years accumulating the experience to get there. And believe me, there is ALWAYS something new to learn.
5. Finally — do you have a brag book? It’s a secret journal or place where you write down all of your accomplishments and the things you feel most proud of. Keep adding to it… and when you do have those real crummy days – you can pull out your ‘brag book’… read through it.. and suddenly, your thought patterns change, and it helps you return to a more confident and positive mindset!
Those are my 5 tips for creating more confidence. It’s the belief in yourself. Own your abilities. And don’t be afraid to take on new things. That single step alone will grow your confidence in yourself.
Please feel free to share or comment. I’d love to know what things give YOU confidence.