How to grow confidence - the secret to self-confidence no one told you.
What is confidence and self-confidence
We use this term so often, but what does it mean to be confident?
Does it mean we never experience fear or anxiety?
No, of course not we all do; we are humans after all.
Is it walk with our head high and chest out?
No, that’s called peacocking and is what animals do…
So, what is confidence?
Confidence has three aspects to it, and once you get them, you will know how to create more confidence for yourself.
Confident people are good at regulating their own emotions, so emotions like fear, anxiety that can overwhelm others can be managed and even used as a motivator.
The regulation does not kick in for less confident people, and the anxiety can take over, making you feel anxious and impact your performance, whether it’s a public speaking engagement, a job interview, or going up to that woman you fancy.
So, without self-regulation, you are screwed.
Some people have been given this by nature and nurture, and good for them, but if you are not one of them, what can you do?
There is short-term strategies and the long term one.
Short term movement is the best way to get rid of stress. It’s how adrenaline is meant to be used. Fight or flight.
I am not suggesting you punch your boss in the face if you feel nervous before a presentation, but you can move.
Go for a short walk around the block.
Go to the toilets and do some squads.
If you can dance or anything that helps you move and use the adrenalin.
Remind yourself that even if it all goes wrong, you will likely still be ok. You will not die. You will live and find away.
We tend to overestimate the negative impacts on our lives. I am sure you worried about many things ten years ago, and you are still ok today, right… remind yourself of that.
I remember doing my first podcast interview, and I felt nervous speaking to an expert and never having done an interview before, so I did a little dance in my office before the interview.
Then I reminded myself that even if I messed it up, there would be so many more podcasts in the future, and a few hundred or thousand people hearing me mess up would not destroy my business.
I deal with catastrophe thinking that we often apply because of our brain’s negative bias.
And let’s not forget breathing can impact how anxious we feel.
Quick and shallow breathing makes us feel more anxious, and slower and deep breathing makes us more relaxed.
I say a confident nervous system is a balanced nervous system.
Too relaxed, and you don’t take action.
To hyper and you get nervous, anxious, or fearful.
In the middle is confidence, where we are activated to make things happen but still emotionally balanced and calm.
The long-term strategy is about mindfulness, and that’s a big topic I will not cover in this video, and there are so many other great videos on the subject here on YouTube.
That was self-regulation.
Right, so you feel calm and centered.
Anticipate positive outcomes
Feeling confident means that you anticipate a positive outcome from the action you take.
Be it the meeting going well, the date going well, ect…
This is usually based on past positive experiences you can draw on to know it’s likely to go well, so your future projection is optimistic.
The opposite is true when we feel less confident; that’s because we anticipate a negative outcome.
So, if you did not have the perfect childhood and most of us did not, then how can you get “positive anticipation.”
You will have two good options.
The first one is to create positive experiences, so you have that reference point, and the second is to challenge your thoughts. Let’s look at both.
If you want to feel confident about public speaking, then get together some supportive friends and do a talk for them.
Get their support. Then do it in front of a small gathering of strangers and slowly build up the reference point of positive experiences. Because you don’t get overwhelmed with anxiety, most of them will likely become positive reference points.
Question your thoughts when they go into catastrophe thinking:
What are you worried about? The talk is going badly.
Why does that worry you? What will happen if it goes badly?
Your boss will be upset
Ok, and what will happen if your boss will be upset?
I might not get the promotion.
And, what will happen if you don’t get that promotion?
I can’t buy a new car.
Does a car define your happiness?
Does it matter so much to your life quality if you get that car?
You will often come to realize that the consequences of things going wrong are minimum.
Now to the final step in developing smashing confidence.
Confident people have self-acceptance, which is why they are less concerned about how others perceive them.
This makes them relaxed and what we call confident.
They feel good about themselves because they accept themselves.
Check out my video on self-love for more details, but in short, find a therapist and start practicing being vulnerable and getting their acceptance.
State your goal before sharing so you can ensure they give you what you need, and as you feel safer, find friends, family, or anyone that is not judgmental and share vulnerabilities.
As you keep getting more acceptance, it will be internalized and will eventually become self-acceptance and boom; there is your confidence.
If you want to transform your confidence then check out the self-love and self-confidence program here.