how to build confidence

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Photo Credit: Son of Groucho via flickr

“I really need to work on my confidence.”

This is one of the most common things I hear from new clients. Confidence feels unobtainable to so many of us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The things that most often stand between us and confidence are: distorted beliefs about your own self-worth, a fear of becoming arrogant or full of yourself if you actually were to start believing in yourself, some extra-shouty gremlins, and compare&despair syndrome in which everyone else comes out ahead of you.

First and foremost, I want to dispel the notion that confidence means having no fear. Nor does it mean being cocky, having everything together all the time, or being perfect in every way.

And as for the compare&despair syndrome…

Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.

Just don’t. You don’t know what those people that “have it all together” are feeling inside. They could be scared poopless. Or they could be fighting back their own gremlins. Don’t assume they’ve got some special magic you don’t have.

Confidence is also not as illusive as you might think.

Remember when you were a kid and you were learning to ride a bike (or skate or swim or sew or drive a car…)? It was scary. And you wobbled like crazy. And the day your parents took off the training wheels you felt like there was NO WAY you’d ever be able to do it.

But what happened then? You practiced. And you rode the bike through the wobbles. Maybe you fell off a couple of times and scraped your knee. Maybe you got the back tire stuck in the deep sand and couldn’t get out. Maybe you got left behind by your older sister because you couldn’t keep up. But you kept riding.

And eventually, you didn’t feel scared when you got onto your bike. You didn’t worry about falling off. You didn’t get left behind. You were a bike-riding maniac, cruising the streets on your baby-blue-banana-seat.

So, like, aren’t you just saying “practice makes perfect”?

I’m not talking about perfection. Perfection is actually the enemy of your confidence (as well as a lot of other good stuff in your life). What I’m saying is that you just have to keep at it.

Repetition builds confidence.

You have to practice confidence. (Click here to tweet that)

Trying to find your confidence when talking to prospective clients? Schedule more chats with prospective clients.

Want to build your confidence when speaking in public? Speak in public more.

Lack confidence talking to guys and fear that that’s what is keeping you from finding your Mr. Right? Talk to more guys.

Yeah, okay. But that’s easier said than done.

It is. And it isn’t… it is hard to take that first step. It’s hard to get your balance at first. But once you do, you’ll find it isn’t as hard to stay in motion.

Aren’t there other ways to work on building your confidence? Yes. But the hard truth is that at some point to practice confidence, you’re going to have to start doing the thing that scares you.

How to practice confidence

  1. Start small.
  2. Let go of perfection.
  3. Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.
  4. Focus on this moment… this one step. Don’t worry about what’s coming up later.
  5. Repeat.

You may scrape your knee. You may fall off the bike. You may feel like you’re being left behind by faster, “more confident” bikers. But the only way to learn how to ride a bike is to practice riding a bike. You can’t mentally prepare yourself and go over the mechanics in your brain forever and then expect that you’ll be able to hop onto a bicycle and ride confidently into the sunset.

The good news is it gets easier. The more you practice, the easier it will become… even when you fall off the bike.

In the comments down below, tell me what has and hasn’t worked for you in building confidence.

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