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“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie
Self-confidence is a mindset whereby you are certain that you can tackle any challenge for a better outcome because you know how to go about it strategically. Notice this does not suggest that you will always get it right – nor that you will get their without consequence. But you know that you can handle the situation because you have the tools.
So what are the tools? Simple. Think back to everything you feared as a child – first day of school, fitting in with new friends, not making the team, disappointing your parents. Did any of these things kill you? Of course not. Emotionally hurt you? Probably. But did the outcome of any of these permanently stop you from tackling the challenge again – starting a first day at work, fitting in with new friends, trying out for another team or competing in an activity, or striving for the approval of your parents. I suspect not.
Top 2 Tools for Building Self Confidence
1.) Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
It may be safe to say that the first tool to building self-confidence is to know that in your past you have already “felt the fear and did it anyway.” Don’t fear the fear. Fear is only a paralyzing emotion when it becomes the ONLY emotion or in the very least the overriding emotion. So the tool to use when you feel fear or doubt yourself is to accept that fear is an emotion that you feel today just as you feel love for those you care about, joy in the good work of yourself and others and sadness for those who suffer. But if fear rises to the top of these emotions it is time to take the energy that fear riles in you and use that energy to get excited about your ultimate goal – feeling good about what you are about to do. You have tackled fears before and survived. Concentrate on what you will feel like when you have accomplished your goal. Feel it in your body. Listen to what your voice will sound like. It’s grand!
2.) Stay in Your Own Head
Don’t take on the perception of others. You can only deliver information, presentations, outcomes etc. from your own perspective – from what you are thinking – not from what others are thinking. If your fear is public speaking, build your confidence by erasing the head trash vision of a poor performance and replace it with the feeling of having performed well. Fear is felt because you saw yourself from another person’s eyes underperforming. Get outside of their head and back into your own head. Concentrate on being behind your own eyes and feeling the adrenaline rush from having done well. Envision yourself at the end of the journey having succeeded. Sketch that vision on paper and hang it where you will see it everyday to remind yourself of the positive vision and feeling. Make a list of the advantages of taking the productive risk that you’ve been avoiding. Focus on the positive outcome and feeling that success will bring you.
Daily Activities that Build Confidence (Remember a habit takes 21 days to form.)
1.) Dress Sharp. You ARE sharp. Confident people take care of themselves.
2.) Look Only Straight Ahead When You Walk. You will never be able to smile at people when you are looking at your shoes.
3.) Walk at a Brisk Pace. After all, you have a lot to do and your time is valuable.
4.) Keep a Journal. In this journal concentrate on what limitations you may be placing on yourself that keep you from your ultimate goal. List your strengths. Evaluate why others may not have identified all of your strengths.
5.) Stand Up and Sit Up Straight Like You’ve Swallowed a Poker. What you think about people who are slouched over? How did John F. Kennedy stand? What did you think of his confidence?
6.) Be Grateful. Make a list of your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, interests, talents, pets etc. Then list next to each one why you are grateful that they are in your life. This makes a great journal entry.
7.) Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to learn a new skill and meet new people while making a meaningful difference.
8.) Read Something New. Learn about something that interests you for which you never thought you had the time.
9.) Speak Slowly. I have seen people who truly do not have a lot to say gain attention at a table full of people just by speaking slowly. Don’t forget the power of the pause.
10.) Know Your Elevator Speech. Be able to describe in 30 seconds what you do and why it is needed.
11.) Sit in the Front Row and Speak Up. People who do not want to be noticed sit in the back.
12.) Exercise and Eat Healthy. You know to do this anyway, right? Why does this suggestion appear in all programs for improvement? Because it is essential.
The most important thing you can do to build your confidence is to take action. Write down your fears. Acknowledge them and ask yourself why they are so prevalent. Write down what you can do to tackle them. Start now!
“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” ~ Helen Keller
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Mary Lee Gannon is a cultural turnaround and leadership expert who went from being a stay-at-home mother with four children to a difficult marriage, divorce, homelessness, and welfare to CEO. Her book “Starting Over – 25 Rules When You’ve Bottomed Out” is available on Amazon.com and details how she went from an earning capacity of $27,000 annually to president and CEO within just a few years. Visit her Web site at http://www.StartingOverNow.com.