10 confidence killers and how to avoid them
We demonstrate the confidence and belief we have in ourselves in a number of ways; our behaviour, our mood and even how we carry ourselves. Whilst some people are blessed with natural confidence, often, it doesn’t come naturally - so we need to work on it sometimes.
Below are 10 possible confidence pitfalls to recognise and avoid:
1. Negativity around you
What I mean by this is the things we are exposed to: the things we read, watch and the people we hang out with. Unless you are very resilient, staying positive and confident around negativity can prove a challenge in itself. If you restrict seeing people in your life that make you feel negative, that doesn’t mean that you don’t like them. It just means that you respect yourself.
2. Language you use
There’s a lot of evidence that language can impact how we feel and behave. If you feed your mind with negative language, don’t expect to feel positive, motivated and confident. Build your awareness of what language you feed your mind with. Is your language generally empowering and positive, or weak and disempowering?
Do you say to yourself “I am not good enough”, “I don’t deserve it” or alternatively “I know I can do it” and “I feel good about myself”? Once you are aware of your narrative, you can work on improving it and increase your confidence.
3. Body language
You can tell a lot from looking at someone’s body language. You don’t have to be an expert in body language to tell just by observing someone’s body posture, eye contact (or lack of) and handshake, whether they are self-conscious or confident. Similar to language, body language has a huge impact on how we feel and act.
If you want to feel more confident, change your posture to reflect confidence. Take your eyes off the floor, smile, breathe deeply, have an upright posture with shoulders back. Making these small changes can make a huge difference to your confidence as well as how others perceive you.
4. Worrying about things you have no control over
It’s normal to worry sometimes. Unfortunately, most people worry about the past and future - things you have no way of controlling. I even know people who worry about worrying.
You are not going to feel good and confident if you worry, especially about things you have no control over. You have no control over your past and future (to some extent) but you are the only one who can control your emotions and how you react to a situation. Your attitude determines your aptitude!
5. Not treating mistakes and failures as learning
Going back to the previous point, how you react to a situation will determine your results. Let’s say you’ve just received a phone call saying that you didn’t get the job you had interviewed for. You have two choices. You either can react by saying: “I am such a failure”, “I am just not good enough”, “I am never going to get this job” etc. Or by saying: “Never mind, at least I had a chance to practice my interview skills”, “Next time I will be better prepared”.
Failure is an ongoing process and, if we are growing and taking risks, then failing isn’t abnormal. Your mistakes, but most importantly your attitude, can either break you or make you stronger. The choice is yours alone!
Some people are more confident than others and one thing that distinguishes confident people from those who lack confidence in their beliefs about themselves and their capabilities. They take responsibility for their thoughts and don’t allow negative beliefs to compromise their confidence.
Those who lack confidence often react to their limiting beliefs with feelings and emotions rather than react rationally. They talk themselves into believing in whatever they choose, even when it’s harmful rather than helpful. As Henry Ford used to say, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t – you are right”. So pay attention to which beliefs are getting most of your energy.
There is nothing wrong with striving for perfection. It only becomes a problem if you can’t move on or take action because you are bogged down with details and things that you think are not good enough.
When do you stop listening to your inner critic? Where do you draw the line?
If you don’t trust yourself to do something because of your perfectionism, then you are not going to feel confident. Confident people take action not because they think they are always right, but because they are not afraid of being wrong. Don’t let the fear of taking action prevent you from taking any action at all.
8. Always staying in your comfort zone
You can be amazing at what you do but, if you only do what you are amazing at, you can lose your confidence in doing other things. Most of us prefer to stay in a comfortable, secure place, doing things we know rather than stretch ourselves to do things that challenge us.
The more you push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone, the more it will expand each time you do. Challenge yourself, even if it’s not pleasant to start with, increase your flexibility and confidence a little more every day. What’s the worst that could happen?
9. Resisting change
Whether you love or hate change, the chances are, at some point, you will be exposed to it. Change is only bad if you believe it is bad. If you are not happy about whatever is happening in your life and if you avoid change, things will stay the same. To get different results, outcomes and feelings, we need to try something different. Work on developing your flexibility and positive outlook about change so you feel confident to approach it when it strikes.
10. Worrying about what others would say
People have their opinions about things and people, just like you have your opinion about others. Confident people don’t let the opinion of others define what they can or can’t do. They know that people don’t always agree on things, but that doesn’t make them wrong. Confident people listen to their intuition and trust themselves, rather than taking negative comments made by others too personally or trying to impress others.
Concentrate on building quality relationships with people who support you, trust you and respect you and the opinions of those who don’t really matter to you will become less important.
If you need extra help and support to build your confidence, you may want to consider life coaching.
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