You know what flips my joy switch off faster than anything else? Avoiding doing something because my confidence is in the tank.
But, here’s the thing: Your level of confidence has significant consequences for your life and work – and how you measure success in either realm.
And, if you struggle with confidence, know this too: you are not alone.
If you struggle with confidence, you are not alone. (Tweet that!)
As a coach, I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs and 100% of them have one thing in common: they all struggle with their confidence.
(FYI, I struggle with it too. It once took me seven years to move from a dead-end job to something better.)
When confidence isn’t present, it sounds like this:
- “I want my business to shift its focus, but I’m afraid of turning my attention away from paying clients”
- “It’s impossible for me to say no to clients who are clearly not ideal”
- “I can’t raise my prices”
Without confidence, we conduct a smaller version of life and work that has the potential to be much bigger—if we are willing to jump into the game.
Without confidence we hold ourselves back, keeping ourselves in our little boxes, our little comfort zones, our little prison cells.
The good news is that, like a muscle, confidence is something you can build with the right kind of focus and attention. (Tweet that!)
Give Your Confidence A Workout
Here are some simple ways to help you build your confidence “muscle” and tackle the big (and small) things on your to-do list:
1. Get into action
First things first: Decide that you’re going to do something. Being stuck in your head is usually where a lot of people get hung up.
This is the dark side of dreaming where the imagination goes wild and imagines failure, uncertainty, and general doom. But getting into action and having a plan brings clarity, and with clarity comes confidence.
2. Expect mistakes
Once you’re in action, then the next thing is to not fear making a mistake but to expect to. It will happen. This is the best way to learn – from mistakes – so be ready with a kind word to yourself. Give yourself a break. It’s worth celebrating that you swung the bat versus got a home run right at the get-go.
Keep going. Remember this old story:
One caveman at the end of a successful hunting trip asked his companion: “How can we eat this Woolly Mammoth?” “One bite at time!” responded the other with wisdom.
All those bites will not only add up, but also get your closer to your goal.
4. Be curious
Hey, if you’re seeking success, then be open to your growth and know that things will get better. Focus on and be curious about your journey – not the destination.
A curious mind is an open mind, whereas a judgmental mind is closed. Carol Dweck gave a fantastic TED talk on how the human brain can grow and learn to solve problems so long as it’s open.
5. Remind yourself of your unique strengths and confidence in other situations
I recently worked with a client who had a strong resume and a great record of success. She was highly sought after and was beloved in the community. Even so, she had little confidence in her work.
But, when she put on a climbing harness, chalked her hands, and stepped onto a fingernail’s width of rock, she could glide up a rock wall like a monkey.
Through our work together, she learned how to harness her fleeting confidence in professional settings by remembering how confident and powerful she felt when she donned her rock climbing gear.
6. Stand like Wonder Woman
Got two minutes? In this TED talk, you will learn how the body teaches the mind how to think.
You’ll also learn that standing like Wonder Woman will build your confidence and possibly transform your life.
Know when your brain runs around like a squirrel foraging for nuts? Research indicates that a calm brain is a confident brain. Take several deep breaths or grab a cushion and meditate.
8. Start and keep an “atta-boy file.”
If getting into action is too hard, then it helps to simply look back on past successes. Start and keep a file (e.g. an email folder) of special notes of appreciation or recognition from co-workers or clients. Dive into these on those days or times when your confidence needs a boost.
It helps to remember that you’re more than capable of doing good work in the face of difficult projects. While you’re at it, add more to the folder such as stellar annual reviews, newspaper mentions and anything else that touts your awesomeness.
9. Find a mentor
Often we lack confidence because we simply haven’t traveled the road of experience. One of the best ways to navigate the unfamiliar is with someone who has. Find a mentor. Doing so will not only help make situations less sticky, it’s a smart move for your overall career, business and life.
10. Beware of the inner critic
One of the quickest ways for confidence to erode is to let the inner critic have a field day. This post is full of suggestions for how to handle the inner critic.
When you unlock your confidence, you open the door between what is and what could be. (Tweet that!)
Got any tips for how you build your confidence? Please share with the rest of us!