Have you ever sat back, observed the most significant achiever in your field, and wished you could be like them? For a split second, you even entertain the idea that it is possible, but then you remember all the reasons it could never be you. You are not smart enough, skilled enough, rich enough, famous enough…and, on the list goes. In this train of thought, fear of failure prevents you from moving forward. However, did you know that, most often, failure is more related to a lack of confidence than to a lack of ability?
So how do we do it? How do we believe in ourselves enough to put our best foot forward and start down that path to success? Here are six tried and true ways to build your self-confidence.
1. Change your self-talk. Instead of telling yourself all the reasons you cannot do it, tell yourself why you can. Say, “I was already successful at __________, so I know I can succeed at ___________.”
Often the number of steps to success can seem more like hurdles than strides. In times like these, stay realistic but determined with your goals. Say, “Regardless of _(not having the needed experience for the promotion I want)_; I will _(take on volunteer leadership roles)_ until _(I have a year of leadership experience)_.” In this way, you are realistic about limitations but optimistic about finding ways to overcome these confines.
2. Wear confidence. You have probably heard the saying, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” While that method is not exactly the most authentic form of connection, a slight variation of it may serve you well. Before you walk into that interview or pitch your idea to the management team, strike a confident pose. Stand like you are confident. Walk like you are confident. Smile into a mirror like you are confident. Try it on. See what it looks and feels like.
According to a study done by Amy Cuddy and Dana Carney of Berkeley*, spending just two minutes of power-posing lowers cortisol levels (stress) and raises testosterone (confidence). “Our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves. Our bodies change our minds,” says Cuddy.
3. Clarify your value. Right now, right here, cut out the word “just.” I am just a cashier. I am just a single mom. I am just an unknown dreamer. The “just” word is just downright degrading. It is a comparative word that says, “I know I should be at the top of the ladder, but I am six feet under it.” It is not what you do, but how you do it, that sets your brand.
Sit down and list out the value that you bring. What makes you unique? What do you have to offer that others do not? What are your strengths? What skill sets do you possess? Recognize that you have value to add to this world and then leverage it to your success.
4. Prepare and practice. Seems like a no-brainer, but don’t forget to have your ducks in a row before you take on a new or intimidating feat. Be adequately prepared and practice what you will say or do. An athlete never crosses the finish line in first place without putting in hours of training and practice. Business success is no different.
5. Keep self-care a priority. You will feel the most confidence in yourself when you invest in your wellbeing. Stay active, hydrated, and well rested. Put these things at the top of your list, as if your success depends on it because it does.
6. Have a contingency plan. Failure may not be an option, but let’s face it, sometimes it is a possibility. Refusing to recognize the likelihood of failure can be just as crippling as continually focusing on failure.
Having a plan B in place provides you with the confidence that, even if your attempt does not give you the desired result, you have no reason to fear. You will already have a detour plan to direct you around the roadblock. You have turned your failure perspective into an opportunity you are excited about.
If you have tried all these methods and the weight of overwhelm seems so heavy that you cannot shake them off, perhaps it is time to find a mentor or coach who specializes in guiding individuals to success. If you think you might need this, schedule a free 30-minute consultation today.