Lack of confidence can be a tough thing to contend with. It can prevent us going for what we want, make social interactions a challenge and leave us feeling lost, frustrated and stuck. There are things we can do to build our confidence though – it’s often not something that just comes naturally! Some things can be implemented in an instant whereas others take a little more time.
As an introvert, confidence (or lack of it) is something I have had to deal with in life. Though actually, even the most outgoing people can lack confidence in many ways too. Confidence is unique to every person, regardless of their personality. For me, it still unveils its face in some situations but here are 4 things that I have done (and still do) to overcome it.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Whenever I feel like my lack of confidence is stopping me taking a bold step or doing something I really want to do, I pull out the ‘what is the worst that could happen?‘ card. That gives me the exact perspective I need to do it anyway. And in all cases, the worst thing (which is never that bad!) never happens. In fact, I usually feel great at the fact I pushed past the fear. And then I remember that feeing for next time!
Big changes come from taking small steps.
If you lack confidence in an area, what little thing can you do to push yourself just slightly out of your comfort zone without completely overwhelming yourself? As an example, if you struggle with confidence socially around other people, challenge yourself every day for a week to smile at 3 people you don’t know. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but can give you a real confidence boost to know you have instigated that subtle interaction. Plus, you’ll likely make the days of 3 people!
Get good at what you want to be confident in.
Confidence when it comes to doing something well usually doesn’t come completely naturally. To anyone! Think about those people you know who are confident in their work. The chances are they’ve practiced or nurtured the skills they need to get really good at what they do. Or musicians or public speakers. They may have raw talent but endless hours will have been spent perfecting their craft so that they can get up and do their thing with absolute conviction and confidence. Even people who seem to ooze confidence socially have probably practiced it! So what practical steps can you take to get good at an area that you want more confidence in?
Don’t beat yourself up over it.
For me personally, this is the most important lesson I’ve learned. Ultimately it’s that inner confidence that provides the core foundation to then build upon. And that comes from self-acceptance. I spent most of my twenties in a battle with myself and my confidence as a consequence, was at an all time low. I couldn’t really see a way forward or find my confidence because I didn’t know who I was. I lost my passion for everything. After working through this, the natural confidence I have cultivated now really comes from just letting go. Letting go of fear of what people think, fear of failure, fear of fun, even! By taking care of myself, doing the things I love, going for what I want in my career, laughing, spending time with people who bring out the best in me and constantly pushing myself in a positive way to do more, with that has come self acceptance and confidence.
There are many situations in which we may have to ‘put on’ confidence and that’s normal. But really, the end goal I think, is having that true, authentic inner confidence. And that comes when you amp up the self-care, do things that make you feel on top of the world and not be afraid to let your true, fantastic and completely unique personality shine through.