Low self-confidence will hold you back from achieving your potential. It can cause you to miss out on many opportunities and leave you with a less happy, satisfying and fulfilling life.
The good news? You can learn to become and remain self-confident. I will reveal 9 actions that can help build your self-confidence. The more you build your self-confidence, the more success you likely will achieve which, in turn, increases your self-confidence even more. Mastering self-confidence can change the rest of your life.
Let’s look at these 9 actions that can help you build your self-confidence.
1. Prepare and Practice
Do your homework. Your self-confidence will receive a huge boost when you have appropriately prepared yourself for some event. For example, if you have a presentation to make, thoughtfully developing the presentation and then sufficiently practicing your delivery and responses to imagined questions can make you both look and feel self-confident. Do not underestimate the power of preparation in giving you the self-confidence that you seek. Preparation and practice are one of the most important actions you can take to raise your level of self-confidence.
2. Express Yourself through Body Language
Your posture and the manner you engage with others can send a strong message that says you are engaged, ready for action and committed to this exchange or event. For example, sit upright with chin up. If standing, stand upright with shoulders back. With people from most cultures, give direct eye contact. Move your head, body, and arms when in discussion or listening one-on-one. Use open gestures and lean forward for emphasis. Don’t cower or withdraw into a fetal position. Shake hands firmly—avoid a limp handshake. Be generous with your smile.
3. Speak with a Deliberate Voice
Do not use a weak, unsure or timid voice. Don’t mumble. Speak with a strong, resolute and passionate voice. Speak slow enough to ensure you are not only heard but also understood. Engage others in conversation and participate in meetings and get-togethers.
4. Promote Positive Self-Talk; Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
You become what you think about all day long. You are listening to yourself; programming yourself. Give yourself respect and positive thoughts. Through your thoughts and actions, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. The self-talk can come from your inner thoughts, your actual words, notes, and messages to yourself and any other form of self-communication. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be honest and truthful, but also cut yourself some slack. We are all works in progress with plenty of room for improvement.
5. Do Not Be Controlled by What Others Think About You
It is far less important what others think about you than what you think about yourself. Listen to what people say. If there is a lesson to be learned, then do so and move on. If there is no lesson, then move on. If you give more weight to what others think about you than what you think about yourself, then you are giving control of yourself to others. Don’t give that power away. Interestingly, as an instructor who has a wealth of classroom and mentoring experience, occasionally—but only temporarily—even I slip and begin to focus more on the one negative class evaluation than the 29 positive evaluations. Never allow your source of self-confidence to come from someone else.
6. Listen to Your Own Advice
You have great self-confidence advice to give to a close friend or family member; how about applying that advice to yourself? For example, I expect that you have heard most, if not all, of the advice given in this article—although you may not have heard it packaged and presented in this way. However, it becomes more a matter of accepting and applying that advice and recognizing that it can apply as much to you as it does to others. So the next time you are experiencing low self-confidence, ask yourself what advice would you give a friend who is experiencing the same thing you are; then seriously consider following that advice.
7. Be a Good Actor
Once you know how you wish to be, then act on that image. The notion of acting may sound insincere, but it is not. This is how behavior is changed: through repetitive acting. In effect, you are faking self-confidence in the beginning, and eventually, you will feel more comfortable with your behaviors and become that person. As the saying goes: You fake it til’ you make it.
8. Avoid Being Around People Who Are Toxic to You
People who put you down, are constantly critical of you and overall behave destructively towards you can cause self-doubt and pull you down. This situation not only adds no value to your life, but it can also take away from you developing into the best version of you.
9. Do Something Risky
Step out of your comfort zone and take on something you typically would avoid. When you do, you will experience an inner excitement that has likely eluded you. Afterward, examine your actions and look for any lessons. You will be proud of yourself. Now do it again …and again.
I have listed these 9 actions and their brief descriptions in a 1-page takeaway that you are free to download and make copies.
Often I am asked if I believe that people are typically born with low self-confidence, therefore, must learn self-confidence. My experience is the opposite. I observe that people are typically born with high self-confidence. Notice how small children are curious, nonjudgmental and seem to be game for almost anything. As they grow from childhood into their teens, that self-confidence can be shaken based on the behaviors of the people around them. For example, as a teen, if you frequently experience put-downs, harsh criticism and outright nasty and rude behaviors then your self-confidence could easily come into doubt.
6 Tenets of Self-Confidence
I would like to conclude this article with six tenets to keep in mind on the important subject of building your self-confidence.
- Self-confidence can be learned, practiced and become a core part of whom you choose to be. This has to be encouraging to know if you harbor any doubts about your ability to be self-confident.
- Self-confidence is largely about what you think about yourself along with your knowledge, skills, and experiences that you have worked hard to acquire. As you achieve more—and recognize yourself for those achievements—the more your self-confidence will grow.
- Self-confident people tend to like themselves, believe in themselves, think positively about themselves, are optimists, seize upon the opportunity and live life to its fullest.
- The self-confidence you project is seen through your words, actions, and demeanor. The more self-confident you are, the more people see you and accept you this way which serves further to reinforce your self-confidence.
- Self-confident people are engaged in life and are always achieving things, big and small. These achievements build the foundation for their success. Low self-confident people avoid life’s opportunities, and therefore success becomes more elusive.
- Lastly, self-confidence is an important asset to a happy, satisfying and fulfilling life; it helps you to get more out of your life. Self-confidence will help you better appreciate and savor the good times and help you deal with the challenges that will continuously come your way.
Now, go become your imagined self!