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If you have ever let your lack of confidence or self-doubt stop you from making a decision, from talking to someone, or from pursuing your dreams, you’re not alone.
It’s easy to start comparing ourselves to others and letting that determine whether we’re good enough. When we do this, it chips away at our confidence and makes us lose faith in ourselves. Thankfully, there are techniques to help you learn how to build confidence and improve your self-esteem.
1. Get to know yourself, regularly
To have more confidence in yourself and your abilities, you need to know both your superpowers and your kryptonite. Think of it as going on a date - but with yourself. You want to present your best self, but also, your most honest self.
Tell yourself what your strengths are, what it is that you like to do, and what areas you need to improve on. Are your limitations ‘actual’ limitations? Or are they things that you have led yourself to believe?
By identifying your strengths and weaknesses, you can clearly see the amazing value you bring. At the same time, you can be ok with, and more confidently say ‘no’ or ‘not yet’, to areas where you still need to work on or that don’t bring you joy.
2. Think positive and squash the negative
Self-confidence comes from changing your beliefs about yourself. Start by noticing when a negative thought floats into your mind and set up a permanent red stop sign for them. Take a moment to acknowledge them, breathe, and then let them go.
Try to actively replace your negative thoughts with more positive ones. For example, when you’re thinking “I can’t go talk to those people, I have nothing interesting to say” replace it with “I can do this, I just have to walk over and say hi, and then I can get to know them.”
Here are some tips to help you bring more positive thinking into your life:
Start your mornings with three things you are grateful for. Focus on the daily things, like, “I am grateful to wake up in such a good mood today”. You could write these down to remind yourself on the bad days of everything to be thankful for.
Say positive things about yourself to yourself. For example, “You are awesome, and you are going to kick-butt today!” - make them your own.
For every negative thought, think of five positive ones to counter them.
3. Empower your mind
One of the best ways to build confidence is to equip yourself with knowledge. The more you know and understand about a topic, the more confident you will feel. For example, if you want to be a better presenter, you need to start by learning how to do it. What are the traits of a good presenter? What areas do you need to work on? How do you apply these learnings when you are presenting? Then, once you have done your research, practice! Don’t be worried if you need to practice 5, 10, 50 times even.
Mastery takes time and practice. There is no shortcut to skills.
4. Get yourself moving
Another great way to build confidence is to introduce regular exercise to your life. According to the American Psychology Association, exercise has a powerful positive effect on the mind. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger positive emotions and help lift your mood.
If you can stick to this healthy habit, you will start to notice how it affects your confidence. As a bonus, you will see physical improvements in your health and body too!
Self-confidence makes you feel better and enables you to take risks. After building your confidence, you may no longer, for example, hesitate to apply for that hard-to-get dream job. And who knows? You just might get it! You can be sure that there will be many other situations like this. Your new self-confidence will create opportunities that wouldn’t be otherwise possible.
If you’re interested in learning more great techniques to help you increase your self-confidence and shift your mindset, check out these courses: