Confidence isn’t just about knowing what to do in a specific situation.
It’s about believing that, even if you don’t know everything, you’ll be able to figure it out. So, what can you do to develop a foundational sense of confidence, knowing that you can deal with whatever life throws your way?
Here are 10 Tips for Cultivating Your Quality of Confidence:
Recognize that negative self-talk isn’t reality.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of The Inner Critic: that voice inside your head that tells you that you can’t do something, you’re not good enough, blah blah blah.
A lot of people will tell you that you need to defeat or overcome your Inner Critic. I don’t think that’s necessary. Instead, simply recognize that, just because those doubts are filling your head, doesn’t mean they are true. Sure, you have fears and doubts and insecurities like everyone else. You are also capable of learning and growing. Therefore, whenever the Inner Critic starts whispering in your ear, don’t bother arguing with it. Just notice it and think, “Huh. There’s that voice again. Interesting.” This helps lower the emotional charge so you can keep moving.
Don’t be discouraged when looking at other’s successes.
It can be natural to see other people who seem to have it all and think that there is something special about them. However, there are two problems with this. The first is that you don’t know everything that is going on with that other person. You only see what they chose to share, and since most people don’t share their messy parts, the picture you get is skewed. The second problem is that by placing them on a pedestal, you discount your ability to learn and grow, which leads us to the next tip.
DO allow yourself to be inspired by other people.
If you find yourself intensely drawn to someone, it’s usually not really about them. Instead, it’s an indication of something inside yourself that is yearning to be expressed. Identify what qualities that person has that you find attractive, then focus on cultivating those same qualities in your own life. The more you become aligned with your heart’s values, the more confident you will be in who you are.
Too often we ignore good things that other people say about us, either because we’re taught that bragging is wrong or because That Voice inside us whispers that we don’t deserve it.
But, the truth is that we don’t always realize the positive impact we have on others. If we wanted to do more than we did, we discount whatever we did do. In addition, if something comes easily to us, it’s easy to dismiss its worth, regardless of how much others value it.
So, next time you feel yourself starting to brush off a compliment, pause. Allow yourself to feel the other person’s appreciation, smile, and say, “Thank you.”
Actively look for evidence of your abilities and accomplishments.
We are wired to pay attention to the negative. This goes back to caveman times, when something good might be nice, something bad might mean we get eaten. It takes a deliberate effort to learn how to notice the positive. One way to strengthen this is by journaling. Each night, before going to bed, make a list of what you accomplished and learned during the day.
In time, those nightly journal sessions will stack on top of each other, so you don’t just feel good about what you’ve done, but also more confident about what you can do.
Prepare yourself as best you can.
We can never know absolutely everything about any given situation. However, we can do some homework. If you’re going into a job interview, research the company. What are their goals? Do they have a mission statement? If you’re working on a new project, try to learn as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or help.
Be curious about what you can learn.
We can’t predict outcomes. If we go into a situation thinking that everything needs to be a certain way or It Will Be Awful, we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to learn and grow in a way that will benefit our next experience. Stay open and curious!
Focus on what you can contribute.
Rather than worrying about what others might be thinking of you, think about what you can do for them. When you go in with a mindset of honest, loving service, it automatically pulls you out of your head and into your heart.
We all make mistakes. We’re constantly being pulled by conflicting desires, fears, and expectations, and sometimes we regret our choices. It’s okay. Sure, it hurts, and it sucks to fail, but that doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible human being. Give yourself the same compassion you’d give a dear friend. Acknowledge if you screwed up, do your best to make it right, grieve if it feels right to do so.
Then give yourself a hug, pick yourself up, and keep moving.
Practice being mindful and present.
Too often, we fill our head with worrying about what terrible things might happen. We practice what we’re going to say. We try to get people to like us and monitor every nuance of their reaction in case we do the wrong thing.
I mentioned that real confidence is about knowing that you’ll figure out what to do. By practicing mindfulness, letting go of all those stories, fears, and shoulds to become more present in the current moment, we can become more attuned to the actual needs and gifts of the situation, making it easier to respond in ways that are appropriate and beneficial.
To sum up, your quality of confidence can be cultivated.
If you follow these tips, you’ll soon find yourself able to approach any situation with greater serenity and poise.