Building Confidence comes from taking daily action.
Building strong confidence in yourself is important to achieving your goals in life. When you believe that you can succeed, you are much more likely to reach your goals.
There are a number of things that can decrease or increase our confidence. Some of the things that can keep us from building our confidence and bring us down are negative self-talk, striving for perfection, being too comfortable (i.e. in our comfort zone) and being surrounded by people who tell us not to try, that we’ll never succeed.
To build our confidence what we need to do is surround ourselves with encouragers. For instance, when I started my university degree, the course I began with was basic psychology. I completed my first assignment and sent it in. I was working on the second assignment when my results came in.
When I received my results I eagerly opened the envelope and saw my mark – an “F”. I had made some mistakes in my answers from not knowing a particular Math symbol and the professor thought I didn’t do one of the tests correctly. Immediately my thoughts were “maybe I’m not smart enough”, “maybe I should just give up”.
Luckily my kids were my encouragers. They gathered around and hugged me saying, “It’s okay mommy, you can do it. You’ve just been out of school for a long time.” This was, of course after they had danced around the kitchen singing, “Mommy got an F, Mommy got an F”. When I started to cry they realized I needed support and hugged me. They were 4, 8, 12 and 14 at the time. (By the way I ended up with a B on the course.)
Have you ever noticed that most of what we say to ourselves is negative? “I can’t do this.” “I don’t know how to do that.” “Nobody cares.” Etc. etc.
So what is the solution?
To begin we need to recognize what we are saying to ourselves and to ask ourselves is this really true? Then come up with a positive statement to counteract the negative one.
You may have heard about “positive affirmations” and maybe you have even tried saying them a few times before deciding that they didn’t work. I know I did. But then I realized that they will only work if you believe what you are saying and that you keep on saying them until you have internalized them.
For instance, if I say “I keep everything neat and tidy”, my subconscious would laugh heartily knowing that this is far from the truth. However, when I say “I am becoming more organized. I am putting things where they belong”, I don’t get any arguments.
One way to work on this is to take a piece of paper and write down all the negative things you say to yourself – but write them down in pencil. Leave a few lines between each of the statements.
Next go back and for each negative statement write the opposite in ink. Each time a negative thought comes to mind, go back to read the positive affirmation instead. You may also want to make a list of some positive affirmations that you can read in the morning before you begin your day.
Take Baby Steps
It is important to take baby steps when building your confidence. Don’t try to rush things, but don’t succumb to those negative thoughts. You can do it.
The key to building confidence is taking ACTION. As my friend Pam Hamilton says it only takes 10 seconds of courage to begin.
Pam recently published her book on “10 Principles of Visibility”. She talks about her journey in building her confidence and being willing to become “visible”. It is available as a Kindle book on Amazon. I purchased a print copy and have read it through several times. I am making it part of my morning meditations.
Becoming “visible” is not always easy. It takes courage and confidence to be willing to stand up for yourself in difficult situations. It has taken years for me to become confident enough to speak in front of others and I am still working on preparing to do Facebook lives on a regular basis.
When I was 10 years old I had to do an oral book report. I did mine on Francis Bacon and I was so scared and nervous I swore I would never give a presentation again. And I didn’t, not until I was an adult.
A friend got a group of women together to do some things to build our confidence – one thing was learning about public speaking. I gave a talk about my grandmother and cried all the way through it. I didn’t speak in front of people again until I became the President of a women’s group and had to speak every month.
I made sure to wear a jacket every time as the sweat poured down my back as I spoke. It was only a small group of people, but the nervousness was intense. It was even worse when I had to introduce a group that we were sponsoring to over 600 people in a hall, but I made it through!
Later I spoke to many people as I did workshops on resumes, interviews and other job search related talks. I joined Toastmasters and began to present speeches on a regular basis and have given over 400 speeches over time, plus served on the Executive of several clubs over the past 20 years.
This doesn’t mean that I am not still nervous when I speak, it just means that I have more confidence in what I am doing and saying. I actually gained enough confidence to take on a speaking role in a play.
How about you? What is it that you would like to do that you are afraid of?
Drop me a line and let me know.
P.S. Check out other blog posts on benefits of self-confidence
P.P.S. check out this link for more Self-Talk Books
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