Working with a variety of people from all walks of life has given me some insight into the process of success. Regardless of our background, skills, experience, or attitude, we can’t be successful until we feel confident about who we are and what we’re doing. It’s one of those cart before the horse things, since we tend to think that being successful will give us confidence. In fact, feeling confident FIRST will allow us to experience success and the achievement of our goals. Here are some ways to connect to the confidence within you.
Be aware that confidence comes from inside, not outside. You can’t use others as a yardstick. Other people take their cue from you. If you act confident, people will have confidence in you. If you are hesitant or timid, no one will be able to put their trust in you.
Start with your strengths (and we ALL have them). Make a list of your strengths, no matter how silly the list may seem at first glance. If you can boil a ‘mean’ pot of water or touch your nose with your toes, let yourself get in touch with how you feel about that. That feeling is known as confidence.
Allow the memory of confident times to be your trigger. It doesn’t matter if it happened in the 2nd grade, remembering a time that you were on top of the world, if only for a moment, can be all you need to feel confident here and now, in this situation.
Confidence is like rabbits: it multiplies exponentially. Once you start feeling confident about everything you do well, you start looking for other areas you feel confident in. You also start feeling confident about things you haven’t done before. You’ll be able to more honestly assess your skills and expertise and give yourself the opportunity to succeed. Allow the feeling to multiply just like all those bunnies in that commercial where the gentleman has to get approval for a check.
Maintain an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude puts (and keeps) a smile on your face. What’s the first thing you notice about confident people? They’re smiling.
Identify your rules for feeling confident, then rewrite them! If I asked the question “What must be in place in order for you to feel confident?”, I can guarantee that you will have a long list of conditions that must ALL be in place in order for you to feel confident. If I asked you who wrote those rules, you would answer “I did”, although it may take you a moment or two to realize that fact. If you wrote the current set, take the initiative and rewrite your rules. Make them simple, stated in the positive, and totally in your control. (P.S. There is nothing more in your control than your thoughts. That’s why #3 works.) One more thing: make sure your new list is divided by OR’s, not AND’s.
Hang out with confident people. Confidence is contagious. Actually, all feelings are contagious. Which group will make you feel better? One that exudes strength, confidence and positivity? Or one that is constantly seeing the worst that could happen, fearful of trying anything new, afraid to be embarrassed? Hang out with the one that makes you feel like you can accomplish anything you want!
Completion equals confidence. Finishing anything at all gives you confidence. The knowledge that you can put your mind to something and do it is all that is required to feel confident. Look around and finish everything you see unfinished.
Only you can kill the feeling of confidence. Just as you can’t find confidence outside of yourself, no one else can stop you from feeling confident. Have you ever noticed that really confident people are oblivious to your opinion of them? No matter what you’ve done, it’s only YOUR opinion that matters.
Don’t worry about getting ‘above’ yourself. Some of us don’t want to get too big for our britches. We think that downplaying our abilities is the way to go. The truth is that thinking is just another way to keep playing small. It undermines our ability to succeed because after a while we start believing that ‘it’ was no big deal. As Norman Vincent Peale expressed it: “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” I like that phrase, ‘humble but reasonable’. If you keep that in mind, you can’t go wrong.