If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve probably heard the expression, “You’ve just got to be confident.” Or even, “Woah, you are so confident!”
Hundreds of online gurus will claim you have to act the part, and you will magically start exuding confidence even when you have no idea what you’re doing. We overhear it to the point of believing it’s an intrinsic quality we are born with. Here’s the thing: Confidence is not an innate quality. The truth is nobody is born confident, and no person is confident in everything they do every single time.
Confidence is a state of mind — a complete belief in yourself and your abilities reflected in your thoughts and actions. You can achieve this state of mind through practice, experience and overcoming struggles and hardships. Confidence can also be specific to a particular area or skill and can be built. So, without further ado, here are some tips to gain confidence in anything you do!
1) Put yourself in uncomfortable situations
This one is a bit tricky! I don’t mean start looking for trouble. Instead, find areas in your life where you want to improve and start putting yourself out there. For example, suppose you want to become good at public speaking. In that case, you can volunteer to give your opinion during a class discussion and take the opportunity to practice your presentation skills. The willingness to improve and take action is necessary.
2) Set small goals
The fastest way to gain confidence is by achieving small victories over time. Create small, challenging goals and overcome them, this will increase your confidence to face similar and more complex challenges in the future.
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For example, if you are normally shy but want to become more socially outgoing, you can set up a small goal such as talking to at least one new person every day for a week, regardless of the outcome. You can begin with simple conversation starters, such as asking for the time or directions. Then, as you feel more comfortable, you’ll be able to have entire conversations with new people.
3) Consider having some mentoring/guidance
Achieving small successes on our own can be gratifying; however, the process can sometimes be slow, especially when we don’t have feedback available. Having a mentor can speed up the learning process, wasting less time on trial and error and giving you more room for success. For instance, if you want to improve your public speaking skills drastically, you can work with a coach or join a Toastmasters club.
The more you perform an activity, the more comfortable you’ll feel. I remember the first time I was required to cold call clients over the phone, many years ago in my first job. It was nerve-wracking. I would spend 30 minutes preparing before making my calls, trying to come up with the perfect introduction, and I would still be hesitant to grab the phone.
Since this was an essential part of my job, I had no choice but to practice every single day. After making thousands of calls over the years, I became very comfortable grabbing the phone and calling clients without much thought. Keep practicing, and you’ll notice a gradual improvement in your confidence!
5) You can’t win them all
As you start working on your confidence, you’ll notice times when things won’t go as planned. That’s okay, be easy on yourself and stay disciplined. Today’s losses won’t be definitive if you continue working towards your goal.
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Losing is part of the game. If you watch sports, you’ll notice the top teams don’t necessarily win every single game. However, they’re the ones that show the most consistency during a regular season. Adapt your strategies, eliminate what’s not working for you, and use your talents to your advantage!
6) Why wait? Start now!
Mastering a skill requires hard work and the discipline to practice. Don’t wait longer to start improving the aspects of your life that are important to you. Start today, and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time. As you continue practicing and learning, you’ll naturally improve your confidence in yourself and your abilities to achieve anything you put your mind to.