Having self-confidence and self-esteem is one of the best ingredients for success in school, work, and life. When you are confident, people can see and feel it and hence, they naturally trust you more. On the opposite side, when you don’t believe in yourself, people can also feel it and it makes it hard for them to believe in you. And when they don’t believe in you, you feel it and then you have even less confidence in yourself. As you can tell, this is a vicious cycle. Here is the good news. We have discovered some simple yet effective ways for you to start overcoming any fears and taking control of your self-confidence. Here are five tips for you to start building confidence right away!
In order to build confidence, it is important to first understand that a lack of confidence often comes from self-doubt and fears of failures. Basically, you feel like you are just not good enough! Therefore, knowing how to overcome these doubts and fears is the key to building confidence.
1) Understand that you don’t need to know everything and don’t need to be right all the time
Recently, I went to a presentation and towards the end, one audience asked the speaker a question that the speaker didn’t know the answer to. He looked at the audience and said, “Thank you for asking such a great question. I don’t have the answer right at this moment but let’s talk after the presentation.” Even though he couldn’t answer the question immediately, the way he delivered the message was very calm, professional, and with confidence.
Just remember, a highly confident person doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will always be right or will have all the answers to everything. In fact, successful people are often the ones who admit they don’t know or when they are wrong. Confident people don’t feel threatened by others just because they don’t know the answer.
2) Direct eye contact and smile, sit up straight, stand up straight, open gestures
According to research, 93% of our communication is non-verbal and only 7% is verbal. The non-verbal communication is made up of body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%). Therefore, in order to communicate confidently (or at least appear to), your body language is the most important component. One way to use body language to project confidence is to have direct eye contact. There are some cultures who take direct eye contact as rude and disrespectful; however, in most countries around the world (especially in the U.S. and Europe), maintaining positive and direct eye contact means you respect, care, understand, and are interested in what the person is saying. Besides having direct eye contact, sitting and standing straight, using open arm gestures (don’t cross your arms or hide your hands), and having a smile on your face will also help!
3) Talk positively
Okay, this might sound a little weird, but engaging in positive self-talk on a regular basis can improve your state of mind and make you feel more confident about what you do. This is a great tactic to help you change your thought patterns from negative (e.g. anxiety and fear) to positive (e.g. confident and less stressful). Think about the obstacles you have overcome in the past and remember the times when you felt accomplished. You deserve to give yourself some praise and credit from all those memories. Another good way to apply this is to think about what you would say to your best friend if he or she has the same fear and anxiety. You, as a supportive friend, would say all the positive things you could to boost your friend’s confidence and calm him/her down. Say the same things to yourself.
4) Take small steps
One way to help you build more confidence is to train yourself on overcoming fears. Since fears often come from not knowing and uncertainty, one hack you can try is to get yourself familiar with that feeling. Build up your mental strength by doing some small things that put you outside of your comfort zone. A good first step is to create a list of things that you think you should do but don’t feel comfortable doing, and then pick a few easy ones from the list to start with.
For example, you might not feel comfortable speaking in public and you want to overcome that fear. What you can do is volunteer to facilitate a small group discussion or give yourself a goal to raise your hand to answer a question or share your view at least three times a day. Taking these small steps will make you feel more comfortable and confident when it’s time to take a big step.
5) Surround yourself with the right people
As the entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. As you are trying to build confidence and to be a better person, you will experience a lot of struggles and frustrations along the way. It doesn’t matter how smart, talented, or strong you are, you need to surround yourself with positive and supportive people as they are the ones who will inspire you to be a better person. Imagine how difficult it would be to build confidence when you are consistently influenced and affected by negative energy and unsupportive people. Yes, it could be painful, but it would be better for you in the long run if you limit your time (or even cut ties) with the negative people in your life.
Ready to start building confidence?
These five tips are good ways to kick-start your journey of becoming a more confident person. Just like improving any other skills, building confidence takes time and practice. It simply doesn’t happen overnight. As you go through the process, it is important to keep encouraging yourself and keep learning and trying. When you feel like you are hitting the wall, reach out to the positive and supportive people around you and ask for feedback. You will be surprised how many people are willing to help.