Self-confidence is one of the most important skills one can acquire in life. And yes, I said skill, not a trait. Confidence is not something you ‘have’ but rather something you ‘do’.
Now, you may be wondering about how to build self-confidence.
Over the last several years I’ve coached hundreds of people, and I’d have to think long and hard to come up with a handful of clients that did not bring up confidence as one of the areas to work on, regardless of whether they were CEOs, Lawyers, millionaires, or at the very beginning of their personal development journey.
Basically, what I’m saying is:
If you feel like your self-confidence needs some work, you’re not alone, and it’s nothing to feel weird about or even ashamed of.
When you start seeing self-confidence as a skill, it will be easier to believe that you can develop it. That’s how anyone with a great level of confidence you know has done.
Self-confidence definition: A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement.
Below, you’ll find the 100 ways, methods, tips and tricks I’ve learned, tried, used, and tested over the years that will help you improve your self-confidence level. But let’s make one thing clear. You cannot meditate yourself to being really confident. (That’s not to say that meditation doesn’t help at all). You cannot just read books on self-confidence or plaster your walls with self-confidence quotes.
Confidence is a skill, so you need to practice it and develop it. Some of the tips below won’t be new to you, some you will.
If you catch yourself reading through the list thinking “Yea I know this, and this, too, this is nothing new”, and you’re still struggling with self-confidence, then it can mean only one thing – you know it but not practising it. Knowing and not doing is same as not knowing.
So don’t let this be another theoretical adventure into building your self-confidence.
I’m sorry to break it to you but “Do nothing, and you’ll become confident” is not on the list.
But don’t let that discourage you. Building a health level of self-confidence doesn’t take a lifetime to develop. With focus and consistency, you will get there sooner than you think.
Having a healthy level of self-confidence will have a transformational impact on your personal and professional life. Think about how it would impact your performance and relationships at work. Think about how you’d connect with and befriend. Think about what you’d dare and what could come out of these opportunities?
The list below is more than you’ll need to know to do that.
Strap yourself in…
1) You are already confident in many ways
This alone may change a lot for you. You are already confident in many ways.
There isn’t just one confidence. Everything that we do has its own level of confidence, doesn’t it?
It’s likely that you’re actually confident in most things you do (think about it), but there are just a few things you feel like you’re not confident in. And that fine, you can improve it.
But keep things in perspective and don’t disregard all the other areas of your life and skills you’re already confident and comfortable doing.
You probably have some skills that most people don’t. Something you’re really good at. Maybe you don’t even need to think about it when you’re doing it. That is confidence.
So rather than painting with a broad brush and think you’re not a confident person, isolate it only on the areas you actually need to improve.
2) Get clear on your values and what’s important to you
Figuring out what’s important to you and what you value the most is will help you with making decisions, whether small and meaningless or big ones like a career change. When you’re not clear on what’s important to you, you cannot have confidence in your decisions. What most people then do is they ask other people for their opinions and what they think they should do.
What you’ll then end up with is what other people think is the right thing to do rather than what YOU think is the right thing to do.
Don’t end up living a life that is not yours.
Spend time regularly journaling about what matters to you. Ask yourself questions you’d ask if you wanted to get to know someone. It’s kind of like taking yourself out on a date.
3) You have a lot to be confident about already
Let’s start with an easy yet powerful exercise. First, get a pen and paper. Then take our age and write down that many accomplishments, wins, success, and things you can be proud of that you’ve achieved in your life so far. Say you are 43 years old, then you will have 43 items on your list. It may be from your personal life (bringing up your children), professional life (going winning a job after 8 rounds of interviews), or student life (getting your degree or surviving your graduation party). Judge it from your own perspective, not from what you think other people would consider an accomplishment.
For each of the accomplishments, write a sentence about WHY you’re proud of it.
The first few or perhaps a dozen will come easy. Then it gets a little harder, but make sure you don’t quit until you’re done. There is no doubt that there are that many (your age) things you can be proud of.
When you’re done, look at the list.
How does it feel? Pretty incredible huh?
4) Distance yourself from toxic people
The people you have in your life and spend time with have a strong impact on how you think and feel, especially about yourself. Let’s face it, most of us have some rotten apples in our basket. Unfortunately, there are toxic people out there. I call them energy vampires.
It’s easy to stop them because you feel worse off after you’ve interacted with them.
If this happens regularly, you need to find a way to distance yourself from them. (It should be little easier now as we all have had a lot of practice in social distancing. In fact, think of these people as if they had a toxic virus. They kind of do.)
5) Surround yourself with positive people
Just as positive people can zap confidence and energy out of you, positive people will do the exact opposite. After interacting with a positive person, you will feel optimistic, hopeful, and energised. When that happens, ride that wave, use that energy, ideally to try some of the methods below.
IMPORTANT: Don’t be a downer and whiner around positive people because you’d become a toxic person to them and the friendship would not last very long. More about this later.
6) Take yourself off the autopilot
We all have an autopilot: our subconscious mind. When we practice and engage with certain habits and thinking long enough, we internalise them, and they start running on autopilot. It’s generally a good thing as it helps us be more efficient. But many of our habits and thinking are undermining our self-confidence.
Do you have a habit of criticising yourself? Catastrophising?
As you go through your days, pay attention to what you’re doing automatically.
When you catch yourself, great, that’s the first step. The next step is to replace that thought with something better.
7) Embrace Growth Mindset
Growth mindset is extremely important for developing self-confidence.
People with a growth mindset focus on learning and developing because they know they are never the final version of themselves and that they can infinitely grow and evolve.
On the contrary, people with a fixed mindset believe that they are who they are, and that’s it, nothing can be done.
A fixed mindset is not only extremely dangerous and limiting but also total nonsense. Were you born the way you are today? No. When you were born, you could not do anything apart from eating, crying, and pooping! I’m pretty sure you can do more than that now. All that you’ve learned. All the skills and knowledge you have now you’ve acquired over the years. In the same way, you can acquire new ones. And one of them can be self-confidence.
8) Get things done
One part of self-confidence is YOU knowing that you can rely on YOU.
The easiest way you can start working on it is to set small goals. Nothing big and scary. The opposite. Small and doable. Something you can get done quite easily.
Then go and get it done.
And another one.
And another one.
Every time you set a goal and you achieve it, however small, your confidence will grow a little bit.
9) Learn to say NO
Do you say YES to things and requests you don’t want to do simply because you don’t feel confident saying NO because it may upset someone or how it might make you look?
Not only that this alone is damaging your self-confidence, but what does the most damage is the self beating you give yourself afterwards (you do, don’t you?).
All that: Ah, why didn’t I just say no? What’s wrong with me? I’m such a chicken!
This self-talk is not healthy and does incredible damage to your self-confidence, self-worth and self-esteem.
Muster up some courage and start saying NO to the things you don’t want to do, like, when friends insist on going out with them, do them a favour that is a bit out of order, etc.
Start with the small things and build up to the bigger ones.
You’ll feel better about yourself every time you do it.
10) Have a power playlist
Don’t you have a song or an album that takes you back in time when you hear it? Not only that, it also brings up feelings and emotions as well.
Or maybe you have a few songs that just get you all dancey or fidgety at least. Music has a big impact on our emotions.
In the same way you can create a playlist with songs that gets you all pumped up and courageous.
So have a think about what songs could go on the list and then just put it together.
If you need some inspiration, Apple Music and Spotify already have confidence playlists.
You can also just search it on YouTube.
Once you’re on YouTube, you can also search for Motivational speeches for confidence.
Listening to these will also help you boost your confidence.
11) Self-confidence formula
Where does confidence come from?
Confidence is the feeling of competence, and competence comes from experience.
Experience >> Competence >> Confidence
So whatever area you want to develop self-confidence in, you will need to get enough experience so that you can feel competent doing it.
This is why you cannot meditate or think yourself into being confident.
Confidence is a skill-based feeling, and it needs to be acquired.
So turn what you learn here into practice, not theoretical knowledge.
12) Keep meeting new people
A big part of general confidence is social confidence. When you get comfortable meeting new people, you’ll see that your general confidence will grow a lot. Sparking up conversations with strangers may seem daunting right now, but it’s a skill like any other.
My tip is to focus on them rather than how you’re coming across (that’s really what you’re not confident about, isn’t it?). People are fascinating. Anyone you meet has (usually) decades of life experience, knowledge, and skills. Get curious about who they are. Ask questions (not creepy ones).
A friend of mine believes that we meet everyone for a reason, we just need to find out what it is.
Though I don’t believe in the first part, I like the idea that everyone has something that can positively impact our lives. Maybe it’s information, tip, advice or connection they will share. Perhaps just their presence that will have that impact.
Develop the confidence to be able to speak with anyone even just for the small talk.
13) Celebrate your wins
Every time you accomplish something or have a little win, make sure you acknowledge it and celebrate it. You don’t have to throw a party just because you finally got your laundry sorted. But if you procrastinated with it for some time and now you finally got it done, great! Punch the air, do a little dance.
Behaviour that gets rewarded gets repeated.
Every time you acknowledge your wins and accomplishments, you’re boosting your self-confidence. When you don’t do it, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.
If accomplishing something doesn’t feel like good enough reason to feel a little more confident, then what will??
14) Remove what you’ve been tolerating
Are there things in your life you’ve been putting up with? Things that you cannot stand but tolerate for some reason? If at all possible, remove them or distance yourself from them.
Putting up with things is lowering your standards and tolerance threshold. That makes it easier to then tolerate even more and lower your standards even lower.
Have some standers for crying out loud!
Just say NO.
15) Learn how to be funny
Learning how to be funny will give you a lot of confidence, especially in social situations. Not only that it will make you feel more confident, but it will also make you look more confident.
Humour is a great skill and is almost always present in confident people.
I was working a lot my humour skills in my 20s. Frankly, because I thought it would help me with the ladies! And you know what, it did! After all, I’m engaged to an amazing woman. And if you asked her, she’d say that being funny is one of the top 3 qualities that made her fall for me! So the proof is in the… joke. (She’s rolling her eyes right now!).
There are many ways you can improve your “funniness.”
- Watch sitcoms (I watched Friends many times. Too many times!)
- Watch stand up comedy
- Join stand up comedy training
You’ll learn that there is somewhat of a formula to being funny. It will also help you with your social intelligence and dig your way out of many awkward situations in life (admittedly, that you may get into because of a badly timed joke).
16) Feed your mind with good mental food
It’s much easier to be confident if your mind is healthy and positive.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you have a lot of control over it. Your mind is always processing information and always looking for something to focus on.
If you want to be physically healthy, you need to exercise and eat healthy food.
If you want your mind to be healthy and strong, you need to feed it with the right information and avoid garbage.
Minimise the negative part of social media, news, information, people and the environment.
Generally, it adds no value, and it just makes you miserable, anxious and questioning yourself.
17) Eliminate I’m not good enough
Is ‘I’m not good enough’ something you say or think often?
If so, you must stop saying that. First of all, it’s not true. Secondly, every time you say it, you’ll believe it a little bit more. Negative language like this can be extremely damaging to your self-confidence.
And, if you are really missing some skill, or you somehow messed up, there are ways to phrase it differently, so that’s not about YOU as a person, but rather about the skill or something you’ve done.
“I don’t know how to do xyz because I haven’t learned the skill, yet”, is much better than “I don’t know how to do xyz because I’m not good enough.”
Can you feel the difference?
I’ll share with you something. As I’m writing this article, I copy the heading and a bit of text and use it as a template for the next ones, so I don’t have to format them manually every time. Just now I caught myself stopping using the heading of this tip as a template because I didn’t want to see nearly 100x “I’m not good enough”. That’s how strict I am about avoiding toxic language like this.
18) Visualisations vs Mental Rehearsal
Honestly, I’m not a fan of the “law of attraction” type of visualisation. It’s one step away from wishing (if not the same thing). Sitting at home as wishing for being more confident will do jack all for you.
But I believe in visualisation in a more scientific way, the way athletes use it.
It’s called: Mental rehearsal.
You can visualise yourself in specific situations that scare you now. When you visualise yourself going through the situation as your confident self in as much detail as possible, your brain is actually experiencing it. It’s a mental rehearsal so that when you’re actually facing the situation you’ve been through it many times, and you’ve rehearsed what to do.
Experience > Competence > Confidence
So if you’re struggling with being a confident public speaker, running a meeting, or just speaking up, spend time rehearsing it in your mind many many times. It helps.
If you want the short version, then I’d say: don’t bother.
If you’d like the longer version, there here you go.
Affirmations are being recommended left and right in the world of personal development.
My personal opinion is that, while affirmations can be beneficial, they rarely make any profound impact, especially when used alone.
You can be repeating “I’m confident” all day long, but if you know it’s not ture, deep in side you’ll think: Bullshit!
This can often lead to feeling even worse because it contrasts even more that you’re as confident you’d like to be.
We can fool other people, but we cannot fool ourselves.
So repeating something you have no evidence for simply doesn’t work.
One way affirmations can work and be useful is to use it to remind you of what you’ve achieved and of the qualities you already have that you can be proud of. That can be very useful.
Exercising is a great way to boost your self-confidence.
It makes you healthier and feel better. You won’t be running out of breath, you will have more energy to do things you want to do, and you’ll have fewer health problems.
Exercising will also make you look better. Come on, we would love to be able to look in the mirror and say “How you doin’!” and actually mean it. Being fitter will help you feel more confident social as well.
Both the physical and health benefits of exercising will have a snowball effect on your self-confidence.
So renew that gym membership or fitness app subscription and get on with it. It’s worth it.
21) The ‘Fuck it’ muscle
It got your attention, hasn’t it? (I’ll have to check the heat map for this article)
Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with sex, but with hesitation.
(But there are 79 more tips left so keep reading, who knows?)
The ‘Fuck it’ muscle is a method I came up with many years ago to help me with my confidence and self-discipline. What’s the opposite of confidence? Doubt and indecision.
I used to be really indecisive, and it was driving me crazy.
One day I caught myself making a decision rather quickly while saying “ah, fuck it!” and I just went for it. Strangely, it was a very familiar feeling.
I realised that over the last few weeks I was taking cold showers, just for 30 seconds at the end of my shower. Turning the water to cold was always the worst bit. Ironically, worse than the cold shower itself. I had a rule that I had to do it within 5 seconds, then I said “ah, fuck it”, and I turned the water to cold.
Over the few weeks of me doing that I’ve unintentionally developed this trigger: “Ah fuck it!”, which is like a mental muscle that helped me step into the discomfort and just do it.
Since then, I call it the Fuck it Muscle™ – and it helps me stop overthinking and just do things.
That, in return, adds to my self-confidence in contrast to me beating myself up for chickening out of something.
Cold showers are super easy and healthy ways to practice it.
22) Stop others putting you down
There is absolutely no reason for you to be tolerating or accepting any bullying.
You must tell people that it’s unacceptable and if they keep doing, you’ll do one of the following.
If it’s at work, make a formal complaint to HR.
If it’s your friends – get rid of them, they are not your friends.
If it’s your family – move out, limit communicating with them until they change it.
If you think this is harsh, then someone has already done quite a bit of damage on your self-worth.
You’re giving them the option to stop and treat you with respect. If they opt-out from it, they have no place in your life.
23) Follow your heart more
People who lack confidence are almost always over thinkers.
They tend to be too much in their head, running through all the things that could go wrong. If that’s you, no wonder you hesitate to take action.
Try to follow your heart more. Listen to your gut feeling.
I believe that deep inside, you usually know what’s the right thing to do.
Listen to it and do it as often as you can.
24) Stop Catastrophising
Unless you have a crystal ball, or the old lady down the road (who by the way goes by the name “Oracle Casandra”) is a real deal and can read the future from tea leafs, no one knows how things will unfold in the future. Neither do you.
When I work with people on improving their confidence, we always uncover a habit of catastrophising: seeing the current situation of the future considerably worse than it actually is.
That doesn’t help anything, especially confidence.
How can you feel confident about yourself and your abilities if you already doomed yourself?
Reasonable planning is good.
Catastrophizing is a waste of time and a poison to your self-confidence.
If you want to catastrophise then catastrophise about what’s going to happen if you keep catastrophising!
Right back at ya!
25) Confidence is not narcissism
Well, there is an overlap but let me explain.
Sometimes people are hesitant to become more confident because they are afraid they’d become one of those obnoxious, self-centred egomaniacs. Don’t worry, it will never happen.
It’s like you no wanting to go to the gym because you don’t want to become a bodybuilder.
First of all, a high level of confidence is not going to sneak up on you.
Secondly, you will have plenty of opportunities to say: Yeah, I’m good now.
If these obnoxious people are annoying you and you’d like to trim their ego wings, then you’ll need a healthy level of self-confidence.
26) Push through the moment when you feel like quitting
That moment when you want to throw in the towel is a gold mine when it comes to building self-confidence. If you have a habit of quitting too easily when things get tougher, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity.
And sure, we all have limits. But most people don’t get even near them.
Next time you want to quit, maybe during exercising or working on something, push yourself to give it just a little bit more. You will feel great about yourself. Make sure you pat yourself on the back for it. You didn’t have to push through, but you did. That’s respectable.
27) Stop thinking you will never be confident
If you keep thinking, you cannot be confident, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy because it will discourage you from trying, persevering, and seeking opportunities.
Then you’ll stay inside of your comfort zone and never grow beyond it.
Everyone can be confident. You already are confident in many ways. Remember?
“I’ll never be confident” is not a valid excuse for not trying to become confident.
28) Stand up for something
If you believe in something – stand up for it.
Standing up for something you believe in and defending your position will make you proud of yourself. This is when YOU become more important to you than what other people think and whether they agree with you. That is a great step forward in building self-confidence.
It doesn’t have to be anything controversial. It can be a popular opinion. That’s totally fine.
29) Stop hiding and being unnecessarily secretive
Confident people are comfortable and happy with who they are, even if someone doesn’t agree with it. On the flip side, insecure people tend to be extremely secretive or even paranoid that people will know or find out something about them.
Here is the problem. Whatever you’re hiding will make you feel like there is something wrong with it and consequently with you, even if it’s perfectly ok.
That doesn’t mean you have to broadcast your deepest secrets.
But if it’s something that is perfectly normal and it comes up in a conversation, or someone asks you about it, treat it as a normal conversation and not like an FBI secret.
Some years ago, I worked with a client. Her family was in a religious sect for most of her teenage life. She was ashamed of it even though it wasn’t her fault at all. It was a source of a massive insecurity and confidence issues even though she was no longer part of it for over 10 years. I was the first person outside of her family she ever shared it with. She said it helped her a lot. Then she shared it with some friends. No one reacted the way she thought. They all we really supportive. One day she shared her story at a work storytelling event – the feedback was incredible. She said, since that moment, she was free.
30) Always try your best
You don’t have to be perfect to be confident. In fact, you can actually lose and still feel great about yourself.
Make the measure of success be whether you tried your best. When you do, the outcome is irrelevant because YOU won.
When you gave it your best, you can feel great about yourself because that was the best you could do. Over time you build the confidence and trust in yourself knowing you’ll always give it your best.
31) Laugh at yourself sometimes
Don’t take yourself so seriously and laugh at yourself sometimes. When you mess up, trip over nothing, walk into a glass door, or some other potentially embarrassing moment, just laugh at it (just as you would if it happened to someone else). After all, you laugh when it happens to other people so there must be something funny about it, no? (You cannot tell, but I’m squinting my eyes right now!)
Not taking yourself too seriously will help you stop obsessing over what other people are thinking about you. That is a really important element of self-confidence.
32) Look after yourself
If you don’t look after yourself, not only you’re not going to look and feel your best, but you’re actually sending a very important message to your own mind that you don’t care and that you’re not worth it.
So pamper and treat yourself sometimes. Get a nice haircut, facial mask, nails (for the ladies, mostly), bubble bath, dress well, do the little extras. Because, if you don’t think you deserve it, who do you expect to?
33) Stop comparing yourself
Comparing yourself is a game you can never win because there will always be someone better, at something. You cannot be the master of all.
This kind of comparison will do (and has been probably) a lot of damage to your self-confidence. Turn it around. Instead of feeling bad about yourself because someone is better, see it as an opportunity to learn from them. They are better after all, and there is a reason for it. Observe and study what they do differently, how they got the results, learn from them, model them. It’s such a great opportunity that will actually help you get better (hence more confident) rather than feeling inadequate.
34) Embrace what you cannot change
Although I’m all about growth mindset and developing oneself, there are things you’d love to change, but it’s just not possible. If, for example, you’re shorter or taller than you’d like to be, well, I’m afraid it is what it is. You cannot be upset about it forever.
Sometimes, we just need to learn how to embrace things the way they are.
It can be as simple as: You know what? Whatever. I’m tired of obsessing over it. This is the way it is. Moving on.
If it’s something serious, you need to work through, get the help of a therapist or a life coach. But don’t let it bother you.
35) Tidy up your environment and beyond
Your environment is extremely important. If your room, home, office, car etc. is a mess, how could you possibly feel good about yourself? Generally, it doesn’t take much to get things in order. You can do it in one big sweep or just dedicate 10-15 minutes each day and organise it little by little.
Remember: How on the outside so on the inside.
If you want to take it a few steps further, I recommend you to “pimp up” your environment so that it inspires confidence. You can hang posters of your favourite quotes, your role models, or images that inspire confidence in your office or home.
37) Your Wall of Fame
Do you have any certifications, diplomas, awards, or medals?
If so, don’t hide them, especially in front of you! Display them somewhere where you can see them regularly. Whether it’s The Queen’s Gallantry Medal for saving and old lady and her cat from a burning building or a “medal” for completing your local Park run, doesn’t matter. Display it proudly. (Either way, your feet were on fire!).
Any accomplishment takes effort, courage, and commitment. In many ways, the good feeling afterwards is all there is left. Let yourself enjoy it. You’ve earned it.
38) Three daily things you did right
Building self-confidence is a journey of 10,000 steps. Each experience and action is a piece of evidence for you to believe in yourself a bit more. That’s why it’s so important to regularly reflect and be mindful of what progress you’ve made.
One of the best and easiest ways to do that is to reflect every day on three things you did right. Ideally, write them down in a journal. After some time you’ll have compiled a long list of things you’ve done right. Imagine how it will feel? It’s a small price to pay for a great benefit.
39) Find a role model
The primary way of how we learn is by modelling someone else. That’s what we’ve done as children to learn how to speak, walk and do pretty much anything. Have you ever thought of modelling confidence? It’s a great way to learn how to DO self-confidence.
Find someone who has a healthy level of confidence and is displaying in a way that appeals to you. It could be someone from work, your social circle, or a character from a movie or someone on Youtube.
Study them, analyse what they do, their movements, posture, facial expirations, eye contact, how they speak, tonality etc.
Then try to model them. It can be just in your room for yourself. Have fun with it. When you get comfortable with it, you can start incorporating them into your everyday life.
40) Be good, not nice
There is a difference between being nice and being good.
A nice person wants peace and harmony and everyone to be happy. That’s all ok and noble, but the only way to do that is to agree with everyone, and people please left and right just to not upset or annoy anyone. That is not confidence.
A good person does the right thing, regardless of whether someone likes or agrees with it or not.
A good person stands up for what is right. And you bet there will be people who don’t approve of it. To be good rather than a people pleaser and pushover, one needs to be confident.
So, stop being so nice.
41) Vaccinate against doubt
Doubts are like a disease to your self-confidence. How do you prevent disease? You vaccinate against it! In the same way, you can vaccinate against your doubts.
There are likely common doubts that keeps coming up for you. If you’re anticipating some doubts creeping up before an important event, like public speaking, sit down beforehand and write down all the ways and reasons why these doubts are unreasonable or unrealistic.
So then, when they come up, you can say to them “Shut up, [and your prepared answers].
42) Know what makes you feel good
Feeling good about yourself and feeling good in general is like fertiliser to self-confidence. Yet, when I ask people what makes them happy or feel good, they don’t know.
Spend some time and have a real think: What makes you feel good?
It doesn’t have to be anything out of the ordinary. In fact, the more ordinary, the better because these things are easy to get, have, or experience.
Do you know what makes me feel good? My orchid plants, or sitting down in the afternoon with a cup of black tea and unplugging from everything for a few minutes. 😉
43) Baby steps, not leaps (the danger of big goals).
Nothing knocks your confidence down like a proper failure, right? Yet, people make the mistake of setting massive, unrealistic goals. Noting wrong with that if you have a great track record or achieving such goals or confidence of steal.
A great way to build up self-confidence is through a long streak of small wins. Every little win will be a small boost of confidence, and over time you’ll naturally want to raise the bar a bit, and you’ll dare more. That is so much more effective than a one-off big gamble that you’ll probably lose anyway.
So, take baby steps and stop trying to make giant leaps!
44) Learn from confident people
As mentioned earlier, one way to learn how to be confident is by modelling people who are already confident. But you can take it a step further. You can actually ask them what it is they do or think in particular situations that helps them be confident. Maybe chairing a meeting, speaking at a conference, or chatting up people at the bar. If they can do it consistently, then they have a strategy.
If you do that, I suggest you say something like this: ” Hi Susan, I’ve noticed how confidently you handled the last few meetings. It’s something I really admire because I’m having a bit of a hard time with that. I wonder if you’d had a few tips you could give me or some recommendations that would help me improve my confidence in such situations.”
Don’t ask for help, it’s needy, and people don’t want that responsibility. Just ask for tips or recommendations.
45) Sit up, stand up, lookup
There is overwhelming evidence of how body language affects our mood and behaviour, including confidence.
Get this: When participants were tested on their confidence level during a betting game, those who sat in a “boss-like” position for 5 minutes before the experiment scored significantly higher on confidence level than those who sat for 5 minutes in a “hunched over, head in hands” position.
We all know what a confident body-language looks like. The starting point is to sit up straight, stand up straight, and look forward and up. Looking down can actually affect our mood quite significantly because that’s what we have associated with feeling down.
46) Make your self-worth independent from others
We all like when others tell us how great we are or what a great job we’ve done. No point denying that. When that happens, you should embrace it.
However, some people are dependent on it. They don’t feel valuable unless someone tells them so. But it doesn’t last. So they keep trying to impress others and get an approval of what they do or how well they do it. That is a recipe for disaster.
If you want to have a healthy self-confidence, you need to work on YOU seeing your worth.
There is a lot what you can be proud of already. If you don’t see it, there is no amount of approval from other people that will fix that. Acknowledge yourself every day for something you like about yourself, or you’ve done well. Don’t ask me how many times. It’s a lifetime habit.
47) Smile more
We smile when we are happy, but smiling alone can actually make us feel happy.
When I was at Uni, our first experiment was to fill in a one-page questionnaire, but we had to hold the pen in our mouth. One half with our lisp, the other half without teeth. If you have a pen in your hand right now try it and see how it’s different. If you don’t, I’ll just tell you.
When you hold the pen with your teeth, you make a smiling like a grimace.
When you hold the pen with your lips, you make a frowning like a grimace.
The questionnaire took about 5 minutes to complete. The last question was to rate how funny we found a cartoon joke at the end.
The participants that were filling in the questionnaire with the pen help by their teeth (smiling) consistently rated the cartoon as funnier than those who help the pen with their lips.
Smile more. The world will look funnier!
48) Mind your language
Words are powerful. Yet, people use them haphazardly. I often point out during my coaching sessions, the words my clients are using. Sometimes, there are many words that can describe a particular feeling, object, or action. The words you choose will make you feel a certain way about it.
You can say: ‘It will be terrifying’ or ‘It will be uncomfortable’.
The words can be used interchangeably, but they have a very different feeling. The word you chose will determine how you’ll feel about it.
I set my goals with a phrase: I will easily ….
People often ask me why I do that? It’s because I read my goals very regularly, and there are many of them. Every time I read “I will easily…” it frames how I perceive the goal. If you think it’s a meaningless difference, then Imagine I’d say ” I will struggle to…” at the beginning of my goal.
I wonder how I’d feel about my goals then?
Do you see my point?
49) Find valuable lessons in trivial fails
Ok, let’s beat this horse one more time. (Relax, it’s a metaphor. I love animals. I’m actually pushing back a tear right now.)
Some people fail, some people learn.
Every time things go according to plan, you mess up, or completely blow it, there is a great lesson somewhere in there. Stop looking at failures as an embarrassing, confidence crushing, and self-worth defining event. Try to see it as a self-confidence foundry and an accelerator to your growth. Then some of these flops much easier to accept.
Remember this: Some lessons cannot be taught, they must be learned.
Use failures as confidence boot camps.
50) Crowd walking
This one is a discovery of mine that works magic. I used it to get comfortable with acting confidently and accept the result of it.
I present to you: Crowd Walking™
Hopefully by the time you’re reading this the world is no longer under lockdown because of a world-sweeping epidemic so you can actually practice this.
Try this: Next time you’re out in a crowded public place such as a train station or a busy street, where everyone is rushing around and bumping into each other, just slow down and walk confidently like you were made out of steal. Look ahead, don’t make eye contact, walk slowly. You’ll realise that everyone is making space for you. Try to look as natural as possible though, otherwise, people would be avoiding you for very different reasons.
I believe it’s because we have certain assumptions about confident people. People who don’t rush, stand up straight and lookup. They must be confident for a reason, so we naturally respect them.
Try it and let me know.
51) Look good, smell good
The better you look and smell, the better you’ll feel about yourself, and on the contrary.
Years ago, I worked with a gentleman who was in his mid-40s with extremely low self-confidence. But when I looked at him, I was not surprised. He had a greasy T-shirt, trousers that looked like they were through WW2, and whatever hair he had left on his head were pure chaos. Not to mention the facial hair.
I asked him to come to the next session at his best!
Wow, was I surprised! Do you remember the scene from Pretty Woman when she walks out of the store all done up and glamorous? Yea, it was nothing like that. But dial it down a few notches, and we’re getting closer. This client came to the next session in a 3 piece suit (of a questionable fit), he got a haircut and a shave, and even accessories (gold watch he must have got on the local market, bless him). Frankly, an amazing transformation, but what struck me the most was his body language. He marched in like a Godfather coming to collect his money! Incredible.
I asked him: How do you feel?
He said: I feel great! I even tried to chat up the receptionist. And you know what? The guy in my corner shop did recognise me!!
Look good, smell good, you’ll feel much more confident.
54) Find your cheerleader(s)
Negative and toxic people who are constantly nagging can knock your confidence down.
Equally, when you surround yourself with people or even just one person who believes in you and occasionally reminds you of your qualities and all the things you can and should be proud of, that can do magic to your self-confidence.
That’s not to say that you should outsource your self-worth to them or make you feel good about yourself their responsibility. It’s still your job and your emotion to manage.
Sometimes we just need a little pep talk or someone to help us see how awesome we are.
It may be a friend, colleague, partner, parent, or a life coach or a mentor.
55) Be selfish so you can be generous
To put yourself first (a.k.a. being selfish) takes a bit of courage and confidence. It means saying no to other people’s demands, or saying ‘no, I don’t want to’ or ‘no, I can’t’. But being always available and being always selfless is not making you look or feel confident.
Don’t be afraid to say NO if you don’t want to do something.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself first.
It’s an empowering message to yourself that YOU are also important. How can you ever feel confident if you always put yourself and your need on the waiting bench?
The paradox is that when you put yourself first and become a bit selfish, then you can actually be truly generous when you put someone else first.
Be confident and put yourself first.
56) Stick to the facts
Our mind is great at imagining things and creating stories. We do it without knowing. All we need is a few facts, and we fill in space between them.
Has this ever happened to you:
Your boss didn’t greet you the way he usually does. In fact, you dismissed your greeting and didn’t even look at you when he walked into the office. You thought: Oh god, what’s going on? Did I make a mistake in the report? Oh, I bet I messed something up! Sh*t, I knew I should have waited and run it by James first. I’m so fired!
Ok, what happened there? All you know is that your boss did not see your greeting and did not say ‘hi’. The rest you conjured up. Our mind does that all the time. But we need to watch out for that because inner thoughts like this can systematically destroy every ounce of self-confidence you have.
So, ALWAYS, stick to the facts of what you know and watch out for any stories you mind might be coming up with. If that happens, recognise it and question them. If you don’t have any evidence for it, give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
Alternatively, if you want to be creating stories create such that will help you build your self-confidence.
57) See fear as a positive sign that you’re stretching yourself
Most people are not confident because they are staying in their comfort zone. There, nothing grows or improves because there’s no need for that. Things are comfortable. But when you start thinking of stepping outside of that comfort zone, you feel it as fear. Feeling fear doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Change is scary. Even a change for the better.
So when you’re feeling fear, ask yourself: If I lean into it, if I take the step forward, am I moving toward becoming the person I want to be?
If the answer is YES, then you owe it to yourself to take the step. You may fail, it may not feel great, but you’re becoming who you want to be. Every time you challenge a fear, you’ll become more confident in yourself.
But if you don’t take the step forward, you’re staying the same, and your level of confidence drops even lower.
58) Design your confident self
If you want to change something you need a plan, otherwise you’re just gambling.
Design your confident self. Imagine that version of yourself who is confident on the level you aspire to be. What would be different? Who would you be? How would you behave differently? How would you walk, talk, laugh, smile, look, dress, and interact with people? List whatever would be different and how it would be different in as much detail as possible. Dream, fantasise, imagine what it would be like and how you’d feel.
Then turn it into a plan of how you can start taking baby steps towards becoming that confident version of yourself.
59) Factcheck your Inner Imposter
Ah, the good old imposter. We all have it somewhere there.
It’s the nagging voice in your head that is questioning your credibility, intelligence, skills, looks, with “Who do you think you are to [your insecurity]?” or something similarly poisonous.
Some stand up to it manage to crush it into a tiny little squeaky voice that can’t even be taken seriously. That’s great. However, some let it become an ever-present intimidating roaring voice that squeezed them into someone who THEY THINK cannot be taken seriously.
Let me tell you something: The world isn’t just sunshine and rainbows….. (oh sorry, that’s a different line!).
Let me tell you something: Your inner imposter is full of sh*t! Pretty much everything it says is based on NO evidence. So next time it comes up, fact check that voice. Search if there is ANY evidence for the contrary. There is surely plenty. Over time your inner imposter becomes smaller, quieter, squeakier.
It’s hard to become confident when you let someone constantly undermine you.
Shut that sucker up!
60) Become a Self-Confidence PRO
Do you have a favourite athlete? If so, pick that one. If not, I’m picking Michael Jordan for you.
How did they become the PROs the are? Was there a one-off tournament or training they participated in, and that’s what made them so good? No. It was hours and hours of training and practice that made them so great. It wasn’t one particular training that did it.
If you want to develop a high level of self-confidence, you need to take an athlete approach to it. It’s training upon training, practice upon practice. Is it going to take time? Yup. Is it going to be challenging? Sometimes, yes. But it certainly will take less time than to become a professional athlete.
If you want to become a Confidence PRO, you have to practice like a PRO.
61) Stop Rushing
I’ve noticed that a lot of people who struggle with self-confidence tend to rush, do things last minute, and are often (nearly) late.
Hey, I get it. Sometimes we just wait until the point where the pressure gets intense enough so we can no longer procrastinate. A bit of pressure like this can actually feel exciting. But rushing has a silent psychological impact that many people don’t realise.
We rush because of fear of being late. The only way we fear being late is because there is some negative consequence or punishment for it. That means that there is something or someone superior to us and hence we’re inferior. Usually that’s probably the case.
But many people rush just out of habit or put themselves in the position where they have to rush because they are late.
That way you’re always putting yourself in the inferior position where it’s not even necessary.
How can you build self-confidence when you keep putting yourself in an inferior position?
Think about it.
62) Win the mornings
How you start your day is how you’ll rule your day.
Starting the day right will have an incredible impact on the rest of your day.
I’m not sure what it means to you but in general, it means doing the things that will make you feel good about yourself.
I like to get up early at 6 am, drink lemon water, meditate for 10 minutes, do a short flexibility exercise, then I spend 1h writing or reading, then workout for 45-50min, shower, breakfast and at 9:30 I’m ready for work already feel like I’m winning. It makes me feel good.
If I slept in, rolled out of bed, and straight to work, I’d be miserable.
Think about your morning routine. How does it make you fee ABOUT YOURSELF?
Does it add to your self-confidence? Does it make you proud about how you’re starting your day?
If not then something needs to change. Start small. Get up a little earlier. Have a bit healthier breakfast. Do a short exercise.
When you win your morning you’re much more likely to win your days.
When you win your days, how do you think it will impact your self-confidence?
Obvious, right? 🙂
63) It’s called SELF-confidence for a reason
Self-confidence is SELF-confidence. It’s not OTHERS-confidence, THEY-confidence.
As mentioned earlier, people often outsource their feeling of confidence and self-worth to other people: What others think or say about you.
That’s not how it works. If the feeling of confidence doesn’t come from you (within), there is nothing others can say that will fill that hole.
Take full responsibility for how you feel about yourself. You’ve got plenty of tips and ideas above that you can experiment with and apply.
It’s no one else’s job and no one can do it for you even if they wanted to because YOU know where the truth is.
If you need to get a professional help, do it, but don’t expect more than guidance. You’ll need to do the leg work.
Ok, so that’s it.
Oh wait, I fell like I forgot something! Haha
If you’ve made it all the way here I salute you.
If you liked it, leave a comment below. ??
If you need to work on your self-confidence, the above should keep you busy for some time. But remember, confidence is not a theory. It’s not something you have. Confidence is something you DO