What do you do when you have to step way out of your comfort zone? We all have to do it from time to time whether we’re closing a big sale, interviewing for a new job, giving a speech or going to a networking event.
In challenging situations like these, building self-confidence can make all the difference in the world. Confidence can turn that feeling of dread into a bubbling sense of excitement. It can open new doors, shake up your expectations and help you to grow in ways you never thought possible. So what are the steps for building confidence?
1. Fake it till you make it.
When you’re trying something new or difficult, there’s only so much you can know ahead of time. Sometimes you just have to get in there, make a few mistakes and learn something. That’s the only way you can gain real experience.
It definitely helps to let go of your pride. You might look silly and that’s okay. If someone else was in your shoes, they’d be struggling just like you. Don’t judge yourself too harshly.
Remember that most people are not born natural geniuses. There is always a learning curve involved even for highly talented, exceptional people like yourself. Pablo Picasso once said:
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
Even he admitted that you have to make it up as you go.
The good news is that confidence has a snowball effect. If you project confidence, people will take you more seriously and you’ll feel even more confident. You may have started out feeling a little bit like an imposter, but you’ll gain a sense of authority and knowledge as you go.
2. Remember — not everyone has to like you.
We’re conditioned to believe that the worst thing we could ever do is piss someone off. Many of us are so afraid of annoying someone or being misunderstood that we’d rather not try at all. We’d rather dig a hole in the backyard and bury all our dreams in it.
But successful entrepreneurs and business people know that not everyone will like them, and that’s okay. When you put yourself out there, you may rub someone the wrong way. They may not have time for you. They may not understand you. They may not like you all that much. That’s just the way it goes.
Don’t let the fear of not being liked stop you from realizing your true potential. How can you develop confidence if you’re constantly worrying about what other people think? Let go of the need to be liked 100 percent of the time. It’s not going to happen. So you might as well be yourself.
3. Develop a thick skin.
If you want to be confident, you have to learn how to cope with rejection.
Rejection happens to all of us, but so often it feels like a big “you suck” sign was just scrawled in ink across your forehead.
Keep in mind that rejection is not a reflection of who you are as a person. When someone declines an offer you made them, they aren’t telling you they that you are dumb or that all your ideas are lame. They just aren’t interested in this one specific thing you asked them about.
Try to keep it all in perspective. Don’t let rejection sink in too deep. Do yourself a favor and develop a thick skin.
4. Ask yourself: What’s really at stake?
We often have a hard time developing confidence because we’re too busy worrying about the future. It helps to ask yourself what’s really at stake here. If something goes wrong, what’s the worst thing that can possibly happen?
It’s probably not that bad.
Let’s face it, you’ve probably already dealt with situations that were way more difficult than this.
Even if you fall flat on your face, your life will still go on. Your friends will still love you. Your cat will still want to cuddle. The sun will come up tomorrow.
Try not to magnify this situation into something much bigger than it really is.
5. Still struggling? Try positive affirmations.
Positive affirmations may seem kind of hokey, but give them a try and see if you feel any better. If you’re like many people, you probably spend a lot of time dwelling on negative thoughts. Why not intentionally stick some good ones in there too?
Repeat mantras like “I am doing my best,” “I can handle whatever comes,” and “I can choose a positive frame of mind.” In just a few minutes, you’ll get a helpful boost of confidence.
(Image courtesy of Son of Groucho under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)
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