Confidence is a mindset. It’s a skill that can be learned, and one of the ways to build your self-confidence is by practicing it.
Even the most successful people lack confidence sometimes. My executive coaching work often focuses on helping clients boost their self-confidence. They’ve gotten (and kept) their high level positions because they’re extremely competent. But a lack of confidence is what holds them back, not their ability.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut at work (or in life) when you’re playing small, and not pushing yourself or taking risks because you lack the confidence. Try these five tips to start building your self-confidence today.
Make a list of your strengths, abilities and accomplishments
Work and life are full of challenges, and sometimes you need to be reminded of your accomplishments and strengths. What is it that got you your job? What skills do you bring to work each and every day?
Make a list now, and don’t forget to include broad competencies like your intelligence and perserverance. Then keep this list handy, whether it’s on your desktop or posted on your bulletin board, so you can be reminded of how talented you are.
Identify your self-defeating inner dialogue
Low self-confidence is often caused by the negative soundtrack in your mind that says you’re not good enough or you’re not ready to take on that project. It’s time to put that inner voice on mute!
For one full day, pay attention to your negative self-talk. Then write down what you caught yourself thinking about your competence, work and worth. You might want to stop and do this a few times during the day so you don’t forget what that voice is saying. (Check out this post to learn how to rid yourself of negative thinking.)
Challenge self-limiting beliefs
Go back and read back what you’ve written, and then challenge any of the thinking that seems extreme or negative. Argue it like you’re in court. If it wouldn’t stand up before a judge, throw it out.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone
The best way to build confidence is to master challenging tasks. Even though you might not feel ready, volunteer for a project or task that requires you to face your fears. If you’re afraid of public speaking, offer to present at the next team meeting. If you’re unsure of your ability to manage a team of people, step up and offer to be the leader on the next project.
Visualize yourself succeeding before you start
Top athletes use visualization as a performance enhancing strategy and you can too. The reason why visualization works is because your brain responds the same way whether you imagine the experience or actually do it.
Set a clear goal, and create a story about your desired feelings and outcome. Then visualize it over and over again. If you want a promotion, imagine yourself in that new role, how it feels, and what you’ll be doing. Using your mind to create an image of what you want and how that feels creates a strong impression on the brain.
Now that you’ve read these tips, it’s time to start practicing them daily. And remember to focus on the positives too (this is a good time to start a gratitude journal).
Change doesn’t happen overnight but I’m confident you’ll see improvements if you continue to practice these steps. Please let me know how it goes in the comment section below.
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