For most people, it can be tricky to pinpoint why their self-esteem and confidence aren’t what they would like them to be. Striking a healthy balance between too much and too little confidence can be challenging. Too much and you can come off as cocky or too little can prevent you from taking risks and seizing opportunities. I was once told I had ‘bravado’. I had to look the word up! It stemmed from my trying too hard to act as if I was more confident.
You’ve possibly been in a meeting where you didn’t feel comfortable speaking up. Or let lack of confidence get in the way of you asking for that pay rise you so deserved. Perhaps you turned down an opportunity to speak to an audience due to lack of confidence, or said no to taking on that new challenging project. Whatever it is for you, lack of confidence will definitely get in the way of career (and life) success.
So many successful people credit their sense of self and their confidence to their success. But not many people really explain how to build confidence, or how to become confident. It’s tricky, because confidence is built on different things. In reality, it is built on choices and accomplishments that feed your passion, and that make you feel happy and proud of who you are.
So, what can you do if your lack of confidence is getting in the way, and not just on occasion? Here are a few small ideas that may help get you started.
IDENTIFY: Think about what is actually affecting your confidence
Your confidence may have been lowered after a difficult experience or series of negative life events. A few examples are;
- being bullied or abused
- losing your job or difficulty finding employment
- ongoing stress
- physical illness
- mental health problems
- a difficult relationship, separation or divorce
Or you may have had low self-esteem or lacked confidence for as long as you can remember. If this is the case, it can be hard to recognise how you feel and make changes to challenge your low self-belief.
But whatever the cause, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you have the right to feel good about who you are and confident about what you are capable of. It can be difficult to break habits but there are steps you can take to feel better about yourself, bit by bit.
You may read the following suggestions and think I’m doing all of this already and I still lack confidence! That’s why I tell you my favourite at the end so be sure to keep reading.
START WITH SMALL STEPS
Focus on ‘small wins’ – don’t only chase big achievements. Confidence is built on accomplishment. If you achieve your goals, you’re going to feel much better about yourself.
You can start small with ‘what do you need to accomplish today’, then look at what you need to complete this week, then this month. If you accomplish the goals you set for every day, chances are you will begin meeting weekly and monthly goals, which brings you in range of reaching for those bigger targets.
Allow progress to be incremental and let it be acceptable that big changes do not happen overnight.
Once you start to achieve and tick things off your goals list, you’re more likely believe you can take on a big project and set an ambitious goal because you believe you can meet it.
Start small. Set a goal for yourself, and go for it.
CREATE A TO-DO LIST
We’ve all heard that the best way to reach goals is to break them into smaller goals and to monitor progress.
Whether you’re trying to get a better job, win a promotion, change careers completely, eat healthier or get fit, the best way to know if you’re making progress is to monitor it.
Make yourself a to-do list and put a big fat tick next to each task as you finish it. Try to quantify your accomplishments: the number of applications you’re submitting to jobs, keeping a tally of your wins at work that will give you more confidence to ask for that pay rise, a list of what you’re eating and how much you’re exercising. Write down the things that will see you get closer to achieving whatever your goal may be.
Ticking off your list will not only help you stay on track, it will also ensure you build confidence as you see the progress you’re making in real time.
SET YOURSELF AN ACHIEVABLE CHALLENGE
At times it can be hard to find the motivation, especially when you don’t feel confident or worry about what other people may think. But it doesn’t have to be something big.
When it comes to fitness, while some might set a goal of completing a marathon, for you it may be getting out and walking around the block a few times a week.
At work, it may be speaking up and having input at your next team meeting. Plan ahead and practice in front of the mirror so you set yourself up to achieve.
If you are job searching, apply for one new job online. Then set yourself a goal of following up with a phone call to check your CV has been received. Take a deep breath and do it. You will feel a great sense of achievement.
And set a personal goal to do more of whatever it is you love, create space for it, because life is short and you need time to enrich your life and recharge to be your best self.
KNOW YOUR OWN VALUES
(Values = principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life)
Most confident people live by a personal values system and make their decisions based on that value system. Your actions and your decisions define your character. A few examples of core values are Integrity, Accountability, Diligence, Perseverance, Discipline, Excellence, Fairness.
Once you are aware of your values, you will be able to check in with yourself when accepting any new project, opportunity or job – does this fit in with my truest values.
If you stick to this formula, in the long run you’re going to like yourself more and be prouder of who you are.
MY ‘GO TO’ IF MY CONFIDENCE DROPS
I’m a Career Coach and while I love that my work sees me actively in front of audiences and working with others in groups and one to one, I can still get nervous and lack confidence on a not so great day.
Along with all of the above suggestions, my favourite tool is EFT (tapping). I use it in my own coaching work and tell every audience about it. Why? Because it is literally at my fingertips and it works!
You can check a quick demo below and if you are curious to know more, book a 15 minute complimentary consult, or give your confidence a boost on our Confidence Reboot call on 15th November – www.career-reboot.com
Note: This is a Facebook Live video so a few imperfections, enjoy!
Having wounds to your self-esteem and confidence can have a far reaching and long lasting impact on your life.
Remember to set achievable goals and tick off your to-do list. All of these steps build confidence and will remind you that you are making progress. Aim for progress rather than perfection.
Get familiar with your own values and if you don’t know how to, then consider engaging a coach to guide you. It will be worth it!
Whatever you do, make a choice to make a change today.