What is the one common characteristic of today’s great leaders, athletes, creators and doers?
They know they’re the sh*t.
That’s of course is a bit of an exaggeration but when it comes to success, if you’re not confident in yourself, your ability and your potential, you won’t get very far.
That’s as far as I want to go with hyping confidence.
I have read a lot of ‘how to hack your confidence’ articles lately, and they all seem to glamorize and simplify the art of developing confidence. Lot’s of fake it til you make it advice.
Sounds like all you have to do is adopt a power stance, repeat self-affirming mantras to yourself, dress your best and you’ll be more confident than Kanye West!
Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a lot to fake it til you make it and other similar practices you can do to aid in confidence. But in my experience, they are superficial and don’t last.
I have spent the last couple of years in a client facing sales role. This entails daily meetings, entertainment, meeting new people and general schmoozing and “pitching.” If there’s any line of business where having confidence and charisma is a prerequisite, it’s sales.
There’s a lot of pressure in sales to exude confidence.
But a lot of the time, it’s quite binary. You either have it or you don’t.
If you don’t, you need to fake it til you make it, otherwise, your time will be short lived.
I have learned a ton over the past couple of years about what true confidence means and how to become more confident in all aspects of your life.
I have learned that, truth be told, there is no way to quickly hack your self-confidence. There are no life pro tips that will give you outright confidence. The truth is quite simple.
If you want to develop confidence, you need to practice. Plain and simple.
I think the biggest misconception people have about self-confidence is that being confident means having blind confidence in yourself and your ability.
When I first started in sales, I was far from confident. I didn’t have much success to build on, was new in the industry and was thrown headfirst into the gauntlet.
I tried the fake it til you make it routine and projected outright confidence in myself, my product and my company. But it felt forced. And, in retrospect, it was!
To project blind confidence in yourself is just silly.
I have learned that to truly be confident in yourself, you need to be realistic about yourself and your skills.
It’s ok to accept the fact that you might not be the best in certain respects. Accept that, move on and focus on the areas where you have true confidence.
The best way to be realistic yet still have the utmost confidence in yourself without being contradictory is to understand the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem.
Here is how I define it.
Self-esteem is having confidence in your overall worth as a person.
I have worth, potential and value to offer myself and the world
Self-confidence is more action oriented.
I have the ability to do whatever I set my mind to.
The thing I have noticed about today’s great leaders, athletes and doers is that their self-confidence emanates from their sense of overall worth.
Their self-esteem gives them self-confidence. BUT, they are also realistic about their shortcomings. That is true-confidence. It is for this reason that fake it ’til you make it is not an effective means of developing true confidence. If you don’t develop the underlying self-esteem, you are simply building a house on sand.
The great thing about self-esteem is that it is not something you are just born with or not. It is something you can develop and nurture.
Self-confidence is a byproduct of self-esteem.
In my experience, the real key to learning how to become more confident in yourself is to develop your self esteem.
When you have developed your self-esteem, you’ll realize that you are okay with not being confident in certain areas of your life. You don’t adhere to blind confidence. And you’re okay with that!
To develop this, you need to realize that your level of self-esteem is tied to what you believe is possible. This belief is entirely up to you and can be altered.
The best way I have found to develop self-esteem is to ensure that your inner vision is tied to your external reality.
Simply put, if your daily actions and decisions aren’t in-line with who you want to be and where you want to go, your self-esteem will suffer.
You are essentially sabotaging yourself, and whether you realize it or not, it has a tangible effect on your self-esteem,
To ensure this is not happening to you, you have to live purposefully and be introspective. You have to carry your goals front of mind and ponder them when making decisions.
If your day-to-day actions are in-line with these goals, your self-esteem will build.
Your self-esteem is the guiding force you have to gives you the confidence that you are capable of learning and acting. So let’s take a minute and focus on how to increase your daily levels of confidence to mirror that of your self-esteem.
First, be aware that there are several kinds of confidence.
Confidence as a result of skill
Think of today’s top athletes. They are highly skilled, highly practiced and execute on a regular basis. Their confidence is drawn from the fact that they are damn good at what they do day in and day out.
Confidence in self
This is closely aligned with your self-esteem but is more aligned with your daily actions. It is the ability to rebound after failure. To see the glass half-full instead of half-empty. It is acceptance of the scenario and confidence to find the good in any result.
Confidence as a result of success
This one is a given, but confidence breeds confidence. Once you start seeing results and get success under your belt, it feeds your confidence.
Which arena of confidence I have learned that the best confidence comes from doing. Doing is the only way to truly develop confidence.
Here are 4 ways to learn how to become more confident in yourself.
Loosen up instead of trying to be validated by everyone around.
This is the biggest lesson I have learned over the past 3 years.
Knowing who you actually are instead of focusing on some image of who you should be. I’m not talking in terms of goals (in which case you should focus on where you want to go). I’m talking about your personality and characteristics.
By focusing on who you are, you are turning your back on the exterior image of confidence – status, money, career, cars, friends, popularity, etc. Your old mind focused on having these elements in order to feel good and confident about yourself. This is superficial confidence and is developed by accruing shiny objects. Once those things are gone, you have nothing.
Instead of focusing on these external qualities, your focus should be on your internal self.
When this shift occurs, your resilience will become unwavering.
Failed a test, fired from job, weight gain, made fun of, weak… no matter what it is, your inner confidence remains strong.
The only true way to grow this is through experiences. It is through those experiences that you realize that they aren’t lasting and that you will always bounce back.
I call it living in your own bubble. Within that bubble, you are impervious. You are always yourself and you will never feel less than confident.
So, let this be a reminder to be yourself. At all times. Be weird.
Take action without regard to the outcome.
I don’t mean to always go in guns blazin’. What I mean by this is to recognize that no matter the outcome whether it be success or failure, there really is no negative outcome. It is all a learning experience.
Take action and learn as you go. Try new things, learn new skills. That is what will make you confident.
Write down your accomplishments
Perspective breeds confidence. Feeling stuck? Feel like you are not moving forward and this is affecting your confidence as a result?
Take a minute and write down some of the things you have accomplished to date. Write down some of the positive qualities that enabled you to accomplish these items. Similar to gratitude journaling, this is a great way to remind yourself of what you are capable of. Time to get out of that rut and learn to not be realistic about your accomplishments.
Surround Yourself with Inspiring People
If your squad is winning, you’re winning too.
If you want to have and emanate confidence, it is helpful to see what that looks like in practice. Surround yourself with people who exude confidence.
I’d love to know how you develop your own sense of confidence. Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
in your inbox everyday at 10am CST.
No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.
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