Living out loud; How to develop lasting confidence Part Four

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we looked at how when we stop comparing, are more assertive, socialize more, seek to learn and build our experience we foster greater internal confidence. This week we continue to look at ways we can further develop our internal confidence.

 

Recognize your achievements

 

Whilst it’s never a good idea to be prideful, learn to recognize your achievements. This needn’t just be academic or tangible achievements but could also include the positive qualities you show to others – achievements which are just as valuable.

 

Write them down on a piece of paper and type them up to show you how far you’ve come whenever you are feeling run down or despondent.  You could even frame your ‘lifetime achievement award’, updating it annually, as a source of encouragement and motivation at times when you may be overwhelmed by how far you still need to go.

 

Remember confident people take time to recognize their achievements, realizing their contribution is valuable whilst not feeling the need to vocalize them whereas the arrogant  use their achievements as a means to brag and tend to become prideful and superior because of them.

 

Accept your weaknesses and strengths

 

To be truly confident you need to know yourself on a deep level and be self aware. You need to acknowledge your weaknesses, realizing that they don’t detract from your inherent worth, instead accepting that you are fallible, as is everyone.

 

Take a few moment to write down your strengths, as you look at each one think of how it has helped you and be grateful, feeling fortunate as opposed to superior.

 

Take a few moments to write down your weaknesses, not berating yourself for them but rather embracing them as part of who you are, someone with a lot to offer but also someone who is imperfect – someone who is human.

 

Be humble

 

To really avoid becoming prideful, superior or arrogant fostering humbleness is key. Please see below for some handy tips on how develop a humble heart:

 

  • Be ok to make mistakes and admit to them
  • Don’t brag – ever
  • Give credit to others freely
  • Give compliments freely
  • Seek out others opinions
  • Be open to learning
  • Be helpful
  • Be quick to apologize and forgive

 

Positivity and optimism

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How not to get discouraged when trying to foster more confidence

In today’s world where results are expected to be instant – this attitude fueled by both technology and the media – it is often forgotten that most things worthwhile take time. It is true that you can have breakthroughs and instant results (especially when Tony Robbins is your personal coach) but a little patience is usually required when developing a new habit, trait or skill. If you want to speed up this process try thinking of your reason why every time you feel discouraged to motivate you and picture yourself achieving the goal.

 

Often when we work towards something like fostering more confidence we can overly berate ourselves for stumbles along the way and fail to praise ourselves enough for the small wins. So every time you catch your inner critic saying something like ‘you got that wrong’ or ‘look, you did it again’ just roll your eyes and take no notice! For a more in depth look at silencing our inner critic please read my self-compassion article titled ‘How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend’.

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Are people ever born naturally confident?

I was shocked to discover that recent studies have seemed to suggest that genes account for 50% of how confident we are in adulthood (Steve Suomi of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)). However this isn’t to say that we can’t cultivate more confidence and nurture ourselves in such a way as to promote a healthy level of internal confidence – I believe if anything this preliminary finding means that actively fostering more confidence is even more important for those of us that lack in this area.

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Why confidence can increase with age (and how to speed up the process)

The one thing I’ve found is that in many ways confidence increases with age. I’m not referring to the youthful type of confidence which verges on arrogance and is rife with insecurity; I’m speaking of the type of confidence that is calmly self-assured, the type that whispers rather than shouts.

 

The type which tells you that you are exactly who you were always meant to be and makes you comfortable in your own skin, making no excuses or apologies for who you are and realizing that if anyone objects it is of no consequence to you, it being more of a reflection upon them than you. This is internal confidence at its best.

 

For those in their twenties who do not share this type of internal confidence this may be reassuring however you needn’t just sit and wait for internal confidence to naturally develop as there are definite steps you can take to speed up this process.

 

Try this quick little exercise and you may well be on your way!

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Confidence In Action: Train and Learn

Today’s task is to take a look at last week’s exercise where you listed a situation you lack confidence in.  Think of one example of how you can learn / train if needed and build up your experience in the relevant areas in order to foster more internal confidence with which to approach your situation in future.

 

When thinking of this, the following questions may be helpful:

 

  1. Can someone more experienced be your advisor or mentor?
  2. Are there professional courses you could take?
  3. Are there vocational courses you could take like assertiveness, hobby classes or skills based classes?
  4. Can you read about the situation or skills needed to better handle the situation, thereby learning?
  5. Can you create less scary situations whereby you can practice your new skills?

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Confidence In Action: Assertiveness and Socializing

Today’s task is to take a look at last week’s exercise where you listed a situation you lack confidence in.  Read ‘Assertiveness; A Journey Worth Taking’ and give one example of how you can be more assertive in similar situations in future. Then plan a group meeting and practice assertiveness techniques to foster more internal confidence, which will inevitably help you with your situation in future.

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Confidence In Action: Comparison Ban

Today’s task is to take a look at last week’s exercise where you listed a situation you lack confidence in. Take a second to think of how you can stop comparing in order to foster more internal confidence with which to approach your situation in future.

 

Some tips and tricks to stop comparing are realizing that:

 

  • There is never a fair comparison
  • For a true comparisons you need to measure and this is almost always impossible when comparing people
  • Comparisons rob you of joy
  • Comparisons lead to either envy, insecurity or pride – not pleasant emotions by any means

 

Now for the real challenge – a comparison ban! For this week I challenge you to stop all comparisons yourself and others. I would also encourage you to stop comparing people completely and see the impact it has upon your wellbeing.

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Living out loud; How to develop lasting confidence Part Three

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we examined the difference between confidence and arrogance and looked at how to develop external confidence. This week we get to the juicy bit – how to develop lasting internal confidence.

 

How to develop lasting internal confidence

 

Developing lasting inner confidence takes time and consistent effort but it is well worth putting in the work. When I developed inner confidence it happened so gradually that I didn’t notice but looking back I can see what a profound difference it has made to my life.

 

Developing lasting inner confidence doesn’t mean you will always feel confident in all situations – you are human after all – but rather that the majority of the time you will feel able to deal with whatever may come your way. In my self-compassion article this is referred to as unconditional confidence.

 

Stop comparing yourself to others

 

Comparing ourselves to others is counterproductive and destructive on so many levels. It leads to either pride and arrogance, envy (a horrible emotion to experience) or insecurity which in itself is a lack of confidence.

 

Recognise that we all have different life experiences and abilities which have contributed to both our strengths and weaknesses. We are not better or worse, simply different.

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How to begin enjoying being the center of attention on occasion

For those of us less confident being the center of attention can be hard, especially on big occasions like birthdays or even big events like weddings. The temptation is to avoid such gatherings but what you resist, persists, actually getting worse through the very act of avoidance.

 

In light of this today I wanted to challenge you to commit to organizing yourself a birthday party this year. It can be something as simple as a meal out or even drinks but the more people you invite the better to add a sense of occasion to the celebration and have you be the center of attention. If you could do this every year it would be amazing practice for other big events, like your graduation or even when you tie the knot!

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Party Talk: What to do when intimidated by a group of confident extroverts

We’ve all been there, surrounded by confident extroverts at a party, not quite knowing how to match their confidence but feeling as though you need to. Fear not, the answer is alarmingly simple! Ask questions and let them talk. Smile and ask some more. Before you know it they will be asking you questions in turn and hey presto, you are holding your own in conversation. If someone interjects, let them.

 

Don’t be afraid to voice your own opinion, even if it is different to theirs and give reasons for your perspective in a confident way whilst also allowing others room for their own differing opinions. Remember there is no wrong or right when it comes to opinions – just different perspectives – so remain true to who you are without any fear others may think you are wrong.

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