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The Truth About Confidence (and How to Have More Of It!)
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” ― E.E. Cummings
Sal, a marketing manager, recently quit his job and was looking for a new one. After a few weeks of job hunting and getting a lot of rejections, he was feeling down on his luck.
Then one day, he got a call from one of the companies he had his eye on even before quitting his old job. His heart raced as they told him they could squeeze him in for an interview the next day.
“I’ve gotten turned down so many times already… and I really need this job. I don’t know if I can do this,” Sal said to himself.
The following morning, Sal showed up bright and early at the interview, hoping to make a good impression.
In fact, he was a little too early, and the receptionist at the front desk gave him a scowl.
“The time said, 10:00 am, and it’s only 9:45,” she growled.
He felt his heart racing again. “This is not a good start,” Sal thought.
And by the time they called his name, he was anticipating the worst.
However, Sal remembered that his skills matched the job description, and he knew he could do a good job.
He reminded himself that it’s just a matter of nerves, and he had to get over the feeling of being intimidated.
Right at that moment, he decided to “pretend” feeling excited about the interview instead of terrified. As silly as it seemed, Sal figured it was better to replace his current emotion with a better one.
He imagined how things would turn out, shaking hands with the interviewer and getting a job offer at the end of the conversation. That way, Sal managed to trick himself into looking forward to the experience.
Sal still felt his heart pounding, but he managed to answer all the questions even though he tripped over some of his words from time to time.
As he left the building and got into his car, a smile came over Sal’s face. He felt proud of himself for putting his best foot forward even though his insides felt like jelly.
A few days later, Sal got the call he was waiting for. The manager told him how he was impressed by how he did at the interview despite his nerves.
The following day, Sal went back to the office and signed a contract with them.
Do Some People Have It – And Some Don’t?
Like Sal, there are plenty of people who aren’t the picture of unshakable confidence. You probably know someone like this…
…or you might be even one of them.
But there’s nothing wrong with having some doubts and fears about yourself during a challenging situation.
You might think of other people who seem confident and feel bad because you’re not a “natural” like them.
But that’s a misconception – no one is actually born oozing with self-confidence. What you see is the result of habits and experience they’ve accumulated over time.
Things can happen along the way, and certain events can either make you feel more confident or bring you down. Challenges, failures and getting turned down are examples of the latter.
And that inner voice of self-doubt makes things harder, too. There’s no harsher critic than the one in your head.
So it’s really a matter of building up your level of self-confidence and keeping that voice at bay.
By working on your inner world and developing the right mental habits, you can keep your confidence afloat in a sea of chaos.
But how do you get started?
Mel Robbins, a speaker, author and life coach, talks about the “fake kind of confidence.” She doesn’t believe in acting bossy to appear confident – this behavior is really driven by insecurity, which will be obvious to other people.
And she says that confidence is NOT a personality trait, but a SKILL. So like any skill, you can actually develop it over time to feel less and less scared by new people and challenges.
So here are a few ways you can start doing that today:
#1: Take Action and Break The Cycle
Here’s an undeniable truth: when a person is confident, they achieve more and get better results.
If you’re not feeling confident, your nerves take over, and you feel powerless to do anything. So you put off doing the things you dread and find excuses to bury your head in the sand.
The trick then is to find a way to lose that fear that’s holding you back from trying.
And to do that, you need to start a healthy cycle called the Confidence Competency Loop.
This states that the better you get at something, the more confident you get.
For example, if you were good at swimming, you’re probably not afraid of going in the water.
You know exactly how to keep your head above the surface and swim to safety.
But what if I asked you to do something entirely different, like rock climbing?
You’d probably hesitate and feel that lack of self-confidence grow inside you.
As such, the best way to start a healthy feedback loop of confidence is by taking the first step – even if you do poorly.
Remember, no one gets it right the first time.
As you keep trying again, you’ll get better and better until you stop making the same mistakes.
You’ll strengthen the right muscles (both physical and mental), and your learning curve improves.
Eventually, you’ll start seeing better results and make PROGRESS. This in itself is very empowering – not to mention a huge confidence booster.
So it all begins with the simple decision to take ACTION, no matter how scary it seems at first.
#2: Imagine Your Future Self
Now, some people might need a little nudge to get the ball rolling.
I know how demoralizing it can be starting from square one without an idea of how to take action – let alone feel more confident.
Remember what Sal did? Instead of letting the fear take over, he chose to re-frame his current experience into a positive one.
This gave him something to look forward to even though the outcome wasn’t within his reach just yet.
It also gave him the drive and confidence to power through his challenges even though he felt afraid.
Here’s what you can do…
Imagine for a moment that you’re a ship at sea trying to get to your destination. Sometimes, the fog of fear and self-doubt will cloud your path and make it hard for you to find your way.
The best way to avoid ending up like a sitting duck is by having a crystal-clear idea of where to go – and how to get there.
And like all great navigators, you’ll need to plot a course to make that happen.
Having a good map and a compass by your side will help you get your bearings right. So even if you’re battered by storms and other challenges, you’ll always be headed in the right direction.
To do that, try to think of the final outcome you want. Paint a mental image of what kind of person you’d be at the end of your challenge, and how much better you’d be then.
Who would be congratulating you, and how would that make you feel?
Amazing, I’d bet.
You could even map out the steps you needed to take to get to that place you want.
Spend a few minutes every day doing this, whether it’s first thing in the morning, or before going to bed. You could even do it at both times for a better effect.
And by the end of each visualization exercise, getting to your destination won’t be so scary anymore.
Now that things aren’t so nebulous, you’d probably be more confident to take action. Then you’d be on your way to getting that confidence feedback loop started.
#3: Challenge Your Inner Voice
Remember that pesky critic we talked about earlier?
Well, this is one of the most common obstacles to developing self-confidence. Being self-aware is good because it helps you correct your mistakes as you go along.
But the problem is when this voice gets out of control and starts projecting worst-case scenarios instead of the truth.
Many of us don’t realize that the inner world of our thoughts isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of the external world. And so we think of the worst things about ourselves and what could happen to us.
This type of thinking is a confidence killer. The best way to get around this roadblock is by challenging that voice inside you.
Let’s say that you made a mistake at work. Like clockwork, your inner critic will start berating you.
“You blew it,” it tells you, “there’s no way you can recover from that.”
Take a step back and really question that statement.
Then you can reply with, “Did I really mess up that bad? Or can I take some steps to make it right again and avoid making the same mistake?”
By using logic, you can dismantle those end-of-the-world thoughts and take back your power.
And in time, you’ll recognize that inner voice for what it is so it doesn’t derail your confidence.
#4: Use Affirmations to Shape Your Reality
Some people might find it hard to challenge their inner critic, especially if they’ve been flooded by YEARS of negative thinking.
Telling off that voice inside them is easier said than done because it has such a powerful grip on their thinking.
So, the solution is to re-wire your mindset. In particular, you need to shift your focus on the positive aspects of life – and yourself.
A lot of people live out false stories and make assumptions about the world. For example, someone might think they’re not good enough, smart enough or talented enough.
When people operate on these negative beliefs, they end up creating self-fulfilling prophecies.
That’s why you have to change whatever story you think you’re living right now. It’s the only way you can break free from your inner critic.
To get started with that, you can use powerful statements called affirmations. These are declarations to yourself – and the Universe – of all the things you want to become.
They’re meant to empower and remind you of all the good qualities you have.
Plus, these affirmations state the future you want – and inspire you to make it a REALITY.
Once you get into the habit of these affirmations, you’ll gain a foundation of self-confidence that you never had before.
Here’s how to do it:
- First, think of the ultimate outcome you want using the visualization technique we talked about in #2. Also, think of the kind of person you want to be in the future.
- Once you have a clearer idea of what you want to happen – and who you want to become – turn those thoughts into a statement.
- For example, you can say something like, “I am a talented and hardworking person who has the skills and resources to succeed in life.” Here’s another one: “My life is always full of abundance and opportunities to take me to the next level.”
- Remember, you have to say them as if they’re happening right NOW. The main purpose of affirmations is to create the space for your ideal reality to exist – this is why they need to be said in the PRESENT TENSE.
The most successful people in the world understand the power of BELIEF. This is always at the front of their minds while they go through life’s challenges.
More importantly, their beliefs give them the self-confidence they need to overcome their personal limitations. Their confidence is like an anchor that keeps them steady in the face of FAILURE.
Without it, even the smallest setback will send them drifting off aimlessly into parts unknown.
You can work on your confidence and start building your belief system today by applying these tips we’ve just discussed.
However, there’s one more thing I wanted to share with you…
It’s a secret I stumbled upon not too long ago.
By making a simple change in my thinking, I was able to instantly re-wire my beliefs…
… get more confident almost overnight…
… and practically force the Universe to give me what I want.