Most of us struggle with a lack of confidence occasionally, and if you don’t you have to ask yourself whether you’re pushing yourself far enough outside your comfort zone.
Here are some of the strategies I’ve used over the years to gain more confidence.
1. Age is only a number
I used to think age mattered, but it doesn’t at all. If you take yourself seriously and produce results then people respect you based on that irrespective of age, and that applies whether you’re older or younger.
2. Qualifications are not the be all and end all
I’m a big advocate of further education and have done plenty of courses myself. Qualifications are a great back up but your success will rely on knowledge, experience and ocassionally even gut instinct. Never let a lack of qualifications hold you back.
3. Remember something you’ve already succeeded at
At the critical moment remember a time when you’ve already succeeded. Doing this breaks the cycle of negative talk. If you can, take a few minutes, close your eyes and replay the positive experience. Then play out the experience you’re about to have with everything going perfectly. I do this several times before doing anything scary and the prep can start weeks before. I also think about a few challenging situations that might arise and how I might deal with them. This type of mind practise has served me very well over the years.
4. Get support from family and friends
Not all your family and friends will ‘get’ your drive and determination to succeed at whatever it is you’re trying to do. Find the ones that do get it and arrange to spend more time with these people. I’ve learnt that it’s fine to have different people for different things.
5. Keep visual reminders of your achievements
Keep certificates, awards, images and trophies on display. Seeing them will continually remind you of the success you have already achieved and will inspire you to reach for more.
6. Write a blog/journal
Monitoring your thoughts is a useful way to address negative self talk and identify the issues that are holding you back.
7. Remember most people are roughly the same as you
As humans we have a habit of under-estimating ourselves and over-estimating everyone else. I can’t remember where I read it but someone wrote ‘the only difference between you and the guy that succeeded was they gained the confidence, took action and made it happen’ – or words to that effect. It’s true.
8. Positive affirmations
Sometimes it’s simply about breaking bad habits. I used to have an awful habit of talking myself down inside my head. I turned this around by becoming aware of it and changing the negative talk into positive talk.
9. Be with people that make you feel confident
There are some people that are naturally upbeat with a ‘can do’ attitude. Spend as much time as you can with these types of people – the positive vibes and confidence will rub off on you.
10. Read more
Being well read and able to converse with all types of people gives you inner confidence which is projected outwards. I try to know a little about most things and a lot about my chosen subject, it’s a strategy that’s worked for me.
11. Learn more
Knowledge and a wide range of skills give you confidence. Aim to learn something new every year, don’t ever stop acquiring new skills.
12. Don’t forget the output
If learning and reading is the ‘input’; then the products, services, or business you create is the output. The more successful output you create, the more confidence you’ll gain. There’s no substitute for just doing it.
13. Give back/help others
Helping others gives you a boost and helps you see your own worth. Use all your skills to help your friends and family succeed – and once you’ve done that, turn your attention to your wider community.