Exploration: self-confidence - why do you need it and how do you get it?
The second in my series of exploration of who we are and why we act the way we do. I am going to discuss self-confidence and what it will mean to you. It is a trait that everyone desires, with us all feel drawn to those that display it. We often perceive this in others but worry that if we show it, people will see as us arrogant or self-absorbed.
When we imagine someone self-confident, we think of an inspirational speaker or doctor, for example. We feel attracted to them or see something in them which we admire. Confidence is often attached to successful people, and in this article, we'll pick a part of it.
“Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it” - Stan Smith
Self-confidence comes into every aspect of our living day, how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with the people around us. It is how we perceive the world and the place we have in it. It is often compared to others and based on those around us.
Some people will feel that confidence is something which you are born with but, like many behaviours, it can be developed, learnt and enforced into your every day.
"Confidence is not, 'They will like me'. Confidence instead is, 'I'll be fine if they don't'" - Christina Grimmie
In the hands of a leader, it can inspire confidence in others and have people coming to you for your views and opinions. You are more likely to follow and accept what someone is saying to you if they are speaking clearly, with an open body language and openly admitting when they make mistakes. On the other hand, if someone is nervous, jumbling their words or apologising often, you may find it harder to believe in what they are saying.
Self-confidence is not merely just what you say. It is a mix of things such as your body language, the way you behave and how you speak.
Low self-confidence can often come across as negativity or be self-destructive. People that are more confident are commonly much more positive. They have built a belief in themselves and their skills over their lives.
There are two contributing factors to develop self-confidence: self-efficiency and self-esteem.
- Self-efficiency is gained when we see ourselves developing skills we already have or learning new ones. By working hard, we gain confidence that we will succeed and this can often lead people to accept difficult challenges and even persist in the face of setbacks.
- Self-esteem is a general feeling that we can cope with our everyday lives and what is happening around us and accept at our core that we have the right to be happy. This resilience helps strengthen our well-being and develops a sense of self-competence in what we are doing.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength” - Arnold Schwarzenegger
The question I'm often asked, "Is there a quick way to build confidence?".
There is no quick fix, but there are ways it can be cultivated.
The foundation is about building competence. As you gain skills and identify your strengths, you can rely upon this. To a smaller degree, you are also able to produce self-confidence with affirmations and positive thinking. Using sentences like “I will get that new job” instead of “I may get that new job” for example. For some this change of perception can help you see things in a new light.
By keeping focused and having determination, you can achieve your goals. Start to focus on what matters to you and stay determined to succeed, and your confidence will grow. It's like pushing that ball along a path; once it builds up that momentum it will move along with its own strength.
Like any journey, there are steps to moving towards this more self-confident you. Preparation is essential to make that journey smoother.
In this article, I shall highlight some of the things I use with clients to help them prepare:
List all the achievements that you have achieved in your lifetime. Focus on moments where you were at your best or provided a unique skill, strength or talent. Clearly lay out the parts of you that make you unique. Enjoy your successes that you may not have already realised that you have. We often do well at recognising success in others but not so well at celebrating our own.
Pick a modest goal, even if it may seem too minor, that is important to you but also realistic. Don’t worry about what others want or base your goal or what others can achieve. Focus on a goal that is relevant to you and your needs. Aim for something that feeds into your strengths and skills highlighted in the last tool. Give yourself a reasonable time frame to complete that goal and be fair on your estimated time to finish it. Achieve this goal and celebrate that success. Relish in your achievement and little by little you will start collecting your accomplishments.
By working together in life coaching sessions with me, we can start to tackle what self-confidence means to you.
The sessions concentrate on the changes you want in your life. First, we will build the relationship, and I will gain a better understanding of you and your world.
With this understanding, we can discover those changes that matter to you most. I can then help you to put plans in place to build upon your successes and celebrate what is best about you.
For me, it's about empowering YOU to make your own Breakthrough!