Self Confidence is a key part of success in business. It is the difference between having faith in yourself and feeling scared out of your wits. It is about having trust in what you know and your abilities to handle the unexpected events that life puts in your path. It is also a belief that you are the one in control of your life and your goals. It is that unexplainable and untouchable attribute that allows you get in touch with that inner self that allows you to express yourself fully.
The good news is that it is a trait that is strengthened so do not give up if you do not feel you have it at this time. In addition, self confidence varies depending on whether you are doing something for the first time or it is something you know well. It can vary due to environment as well. For example, some people are very confident in one on one presentation while others are confident in front of large groups of people. It will not increase overnight but you can work to build it up to the level of your aspiration.
The first step in building self confidence is giving you permission to not give up no matter what the outcome. The key is, to do your best in any given situation regardless of your knowledge or the end result. When this happens, then each small step of progress increases confidence.
The second key ingredient is to set achievable goals. If you are doing something for the first time, give yourself goals to learn each small step. Do not expect perfection in your first attempt. Progress and not perfection is the attitude that builds confidence. If you must be perfect in your own mind, then even the smallest error becomes disastrous to confidence.
The smallest things can improve confidence. Add a smile when you make a phone call and it will show in your voice, increasing a positive response. Straightening posture when meeting someone or giving a warm and confident handshake even if you are trembling inside returns a positive response. When another person responds in a positive manner, you comfort level increases.
The third ingredient to building up your confidence is based on your physical well being. When we eat right, sleep well and get exercise we then feel better. That sense of physical well being comes out in our work, our voices and even our presentations and productivity. These are all factors to building up a sense of worth. Making eye contact, a simple physical event, will actually convey confidence. So no matter how you feel inside, get those eyes up to those who you are speaking too!
The fourth ingredient is to watch your own self talk. Many individuals erode their own self confidence by the negative self talk and the downplaying of recognition or compliments. Monitor how you talk to yourself. If you find yourself discounting your work, your abilities or any other aspect of yourself, tell yourself “Stop.” This word is so ingrained into our psyche that it will momentarily freeze thought. Then replace the thought with something that is positive and opposite of the interrupted thought.
The fifth ingredient to building confidence is to make an achievement list. Make yourself a list of everything you have accomplished no matter how small. We do not give ourselves enough credit for all the things we do right. We could in any given day, do ten things right and still focus on the one thing we have done wrong. Do not let yourself get caught in this trap. It is a self-confidence killer. When you find yourself fixating on an error, review you accomplishments. Then fix the error and move one. Life is too short to spend it beating yourself up for the thing you didn’t do right. Pick yourself up… and get going!
Lastly, if you find a subject you need to know but have no confidence in then take a class, read a book or just find a forum and listen to those chatting about it. Knowledge is power! There is no doubt that just knowing what others are speaking of will increase your confidence and social presence. When you do not feel left out, you again, increase your confidence levels. In addition, when you pursue knowledge on a subject to which you have a need or a passion, you gain the experience of uniqueness which will also increase worth.
Making the decision to work on building self confidence could actually affect the success you find and achieve in life. It is an important decision. It is important to be you. Whenever we are put in positions to pretend to be what we are not, we risk our confidence levels. While there is some truth to the ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality, Life is a much happier journey when you can be who you are and when you can be proud of the skills you have. It is about recognizing your strengths and being able to truly understand that we all have areas of weakness.
If you are an employer or a team leader, remember to recognize the smallest gains from those you supervise. A first sale, a new technique, a first presentation, these critical moments can make or break those you work with. Recognize the strengths of an individual before you point out areas they may want to focus on next. When your team feels confidence, then everyone wins. That is the cool thing about self-confidence. The more it is felt the more there is… it just keeps growing till you have a powerful team that is unstoppable. As a leader, you have nothing to lose in these little recognizable moments and everything to gain. Success and Self-Confidence are intricately twisted about one another, never lose sight of it.