When I type ‘self-confidence’ in Google, I get over 43 million results. Self-confidence is certainly one of the most desirable features in other people and in ourselves. It helps us to face and overcome the challenges in our lives. It influences the way we see ourselves and the way we are perceived by others.
Psychologists divide self-confidence in three types: self-confidence related to the strong conviction of the correctness of our believes ‘I am right’, self-confidence in our skills ‘I can do it!’, and self-confidence coming from our inner strengths ‘I am strong enough to do it’.
The good news is: self-confidence can be trained. Here are some tips inspired by the theory of Albert Bandura, psychology professor from Stanford University:
Take a look on your achievements – we are more likely to remember negative than positive experiences in our lives. This simply leads to misjudgement of ourselves and our skills. Pay attention to your success, even if you think they are minor like convincing your boss about your idea, or getting positive feedback after a routine weekly team meeting. Have three accomplishments that you are really proud of and recall them before important performances to boost your self-confidence.
Observe achievements of others – … but don’t compare yourself with them. It will make you feel miserable. Try to look at them as your teachers instead. If your colleague is doing something particularly good or her behaviour is appreciated by your boss, try to imitate it. Why to invent a wheel?
Listen to constructive feedbackonly – if your colleague is criticising your last presentation, without giving you anything else than: You suck! – don’t listen to him. Try to avoid negative impact. Value only feedback that will give you some ideas on what you could improve.
Pay attention to voices within – Do you feel that your faster heartbeat, dry mouth and weak knees before already set you up for failure? Stop! Try to acknowledge your physical impulses, control them and convert them into positive energy. If you are afraid of public speaking prepare and record your speech, find the areas to improve. Speaking too fast? Breath and make poses. Dry lips? It’s not a sin to have a bottle of water with you.
You can try out an easy exercise to work on your self-confidence:
Observe the self-confident people during an event, meeting, at work, in a restaurant, in the train station. What is their posture? How do they keep eye-contact? What is their facial expression? How do their sit or stand? How do they communicate? Try to find their common traits and mirror them in you.
Do you have any other tips on how to be more self-confident? Great! Please share them with us!