Do you want to feel more confident in 2018? The good news is that confidence is a skill. This means confidence is something you can learn and build upon. It means confidence is not something that you were born with or a quality that you either have or don’t have.
Confidence is shaped by past opportunities and experience, and it is also shaped by new experiences and a new approach. This is exciting because it means we can all grow and expand our confidence.
Ready to build some confidence? Follow these eight steps:
1. Choose your confidence goal. Take the first step. Instead of defining confidence as feeling more confident in general, think about what area you want more confidence in? Is it something new? Perhaps you have a career goal or want to make a fresh start? Make a note of it and be as specific as you can.
2. Get specific. Define the things you want to be able to do or tasks you want to be able to achieve if you felt more confident. Do you want to feel confident when performing or public speaking, or feel less anxious about interviews? Do you want to try something new but feel too afraid? Do you want to feel more confident as a parent?
3.Review your current skill set. Confidence is your perception of your ability to perform a task. Reviewing your skill set is important because if you don’t have the skills you need it will be difficult to feel confident. I’m a confident clinical psychologist but I have no confidence in my ability to lead a skydiving class tomorrow because I don’t know the first thing about skydiving. I’ve never even taken a skydiving class. False confidence is no good for anyone. Think about your goal and break it down into skills that you have and skills that you don’t have.
4. Fine-tune your skills. Now that you have made a realistic appraisal of the skills you need, it’s time to fine-tune and practice them. So often people stop when they think they don’t have the skills. This is the very point you need to keep going to increase your confidence. By learning new things, taking on new challenges and then practicing them we build confidence as our successes increase. If we don’t try new things it reinforces a view of ourselves as lacking and we don’t get any proof that in fact, we are able to do new things.
5. Change your thinking. Is your thinking holding your confidence back? Thinking is one of the points that can keep confidence stuck. Check carefully the things your mind tells you about you, your abilities, and your confidence. Listen closely. If it says things such as: “I’m not a confident person” “I want to but I can’t see myself doing it” “As if you could do that” “It’s okay for (insert name) she has already done it before” or “because I’m nervous I can’t do it,” your thinking is probably getting in your way.
Thinking is very closely linked to belief systems, so do a little investigative work and identify which thoughts belong to strong beliefs. These might be beliefs about you, women, or how the world works. Challenging those thoughts and replacing them with healthier thoughts can help. Alternatively, learn to detach from thoughts that dampen your confidence, viewing them as a story rather than a fact.
6. Remembering past success. Thinking about memories of past success and confident moments helps build feelings of confidence. Remembering the feeling after you did something confidently, the way it felt in your body and the thoughts you had about yourself is a habit of confident people. These memories don’t have to be related to your confidence goal, they just need to be about you feeling successful and confidently completing a task. Maybe you spoke at a friend’s wedding even though you were nervous, maybe you finished a course that was challenging, maybe you got great feedback at work, maybe you climbed a peak that at times felt undoable and you felt proud of yourself at the top.
7. Find your cheer squad. Becoming more confident is easier if you have a supportive team behind you. Having people who boost you rather than bring you down or encourage self-doubt is important. These are people who can allow you to change and want you to succeed. Make a list of people who support your confidence. Choose confidence-boosting people as your go-to people for sounding out ideas, help with problem-solving, and realistic feedback.
8. Time for action. At this point, it’s time to take action. You’ve worked out the skills you need and practiced them, you’ve addressed barriers in yourself, you’ve got your cheer squad in place. Now what? Usually, you will find nerves. Does this mean you are not ready? No. It is normal to have a combination of nerves and anxiety when you tackle something that is important to you. Use your calming strategies and keep going.
Here’s to a more confident you in 2018. No more waiting and wishing for confidence to come. Instead, you can learn and build your confidence with planning and action. For the latest from my join the unshakeable calm mailing list.