If you were asked to describe confidence, what would you say? Describing confidence might be similar to describing audacity, presence, or even success. While these are sometimes hard to describe or explain, you recognize them when you see them. What is important to build more confidence?
Many people who talk with me about self-improvement often express that they want to be more confident which leads to the question of, “How do you achieve more confidence?”
Questions help us create more focus and getting more focused is a big factor for achieving higher levels of confidence. Confidence might be responsible for helping people overcome some of their biggest fears, how world-class athletes break records, or how sports teams win championships. It might also be responsible for how individuals in the workplace develop more respect, tackle big projects, and get a raise or promotion.
Build More Confidence
I’ve observed a lot of confidence in action, and here are five actions that I believe are critical for building more.
- Develop reasonable but reaching expectations. Your ability to build more confidence will often be conditioned by both reflection and vision. Your past experiences, both failures and successes, must be properly managed so that you can set reasonable expectations. Reflect on any past failures, but do not focus on them, instead focus on your successes no matter how small. Lump them together, pile them up, and remember how each (winning) experience felt. Next, build a vision that is one step greater than your comfort zone.
- You must take some risk. The wall that you’ve built around your comfort zone might be the biggest deterrent to gaining more confidence. While you might not quickly recognize it, your comfort zone is where you’re currently the most confident. If you are hungry for something more, you’re going to have to expand those walls. Expansion requires you to open your gate which makes you to be susceptible to either losing or gaining confidence. We call this risk. No open gate, no expansion. Risk nothing and you’ll stay the same, or worse, you’ll fall behind.
- You must prepare. You probably know this, but let me remind you. Failure to plan is the first step for planning to fail. People will often tell you that they just jumped in and did it, or they might say, “I’m just going to see what happens.” Another of my favorites is, “I’m just going to wing it.” Anything that you “wing” and doesn’t turn out well becomes another obstacle for achieving a higher level of confidence. Performance failures happen, but if it’s going to happen to you do it gracefully. Everyone quickly recognizes the unprepared and there is no grace in that. An investment in preparation is an investment in you.
- Program your mind. Visualize yourself in the moment of success. Reach deep inside to experience again what it feels like when you’ve accomplished something. Go as far back or as deep as you have to go, remind yourself that your expectations are realistic, your risk is properly calculated, and that you’ve thoroughly prepared. Rehearse (mentally or literally) each step of your plan and visualize your plan unfolding with favorable results. Accept that your plan might require adjustment but you’ll make the right choices as you encounter obstacles in your path.
- Assess your results. You’ll only know if you are successful if you have something to measure or compare. This brings you back to how you’ll create future expectations. Consider how your performance adjusted to any unexpected obstacles, what value or lesson exists in any shortcomings, and be sure to identify, count, and celebrate successes along the way. Keep in mind that even a failure can unveil an element of success when you learn what not to do or try the next time.
Are you hungry to build more confidence?
Confidence is built from self-esteem and self-efficacy, and these five actions can help you improve both. Some might try to “wing it” or suggest that they are waiting for luck or fate, but people who are hungry to build more, well, they can’t wait to get started.
Originally posted on November 7, 2016, last updated on November 7, 2018.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.
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