Self-confidence is a game-changer. It marks the difference between someone who achieves a life-defining goal and someone who doesn’t. Why? Because the confident person is comfortable asking for help, taking risks, and has the self-compassion needed to withstand setbacks.
Do you feel like you’ll never get there? Then I have good news for you! There are many ways to improve confidence and enhance self-esteem.
Let’s take a look at some specific ways to build self-confidence here:
1. Start by building self-compassion into your day-to-day life.
Over and over, as I research, I see this everywhere. I’ve never associated self-compassion with confidence, but now I see how they’re connect.
Building confidence requires taking risks and having a mindset, “I’m going to try this, and if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay.” Self-compassion offers a way of relating to yourself that allows you to become more emotionally flexible and helps you to navigate challenging emotions better.
If you don’t have this baseline of self-compassion, everything is more challenging. Especially developing and building self-confidence. You will lack the courage to take risks, fearing that you won’t be able to bounce back from a disappointing outcome.
So work toward building self-compassion, and watch your confidence and self-esteem soar!
2. Recognizing the negative thoughts that can play on a loop in your mind. Improve confidence by reaffirming positive thoughts instead.
Tony Robbins says, “When you’re building confidence, learn how to reframe your mindset to start thinking more positively and feel more self-assured as a result.” He suggests that a crucial step is recognizing and evaluating limiting beliefs.
So, what story plays in your mind?
“I’m terrible at interviewing, so I’m never going to get this job.” Or, “I’m okay at this job but not great at it. So I’ll never get the promotion.”
These stories write the scripts of our lives. So how do we stop them from taking over? First, by recognizing them. Stopping to become aware of these negative thought patterns is critical.
Next, you can replace them with new positive thoughts in whatever way works for you. For example, that might include writing a list of affirmations and keeping them on your laptop or a note in your bag.
When I first bought my practice (I used to be an optometrist), there were times when I worried about achieving monthly goals. My worries brought my energy down, and sometimes I would manifest low numbers, sales, etc.
So, I wrote a list of affirmations and kept them on my desk for reference. For example, I would write: “I’m so excited! We hit our goal.” Even better are the I AM statements. As in: “I am competent and can achieve any goal I set for myself. I am uniquely talented in my work.”
These statements work! Practice different techniques, discover what works for you, and watch your self-esteem and self-confidence rise!
3. Accept that working hard is unavoidable. Embrace it.
You’re probably wondering, “Why is there a picture of a woman diving in this working hard section?” Stay with me!
Let’s say that your goal is to swim across the lake. The only way you will ever do that is by working hard. You’re going to have to show up and practice swimming every day. You can learn to do it with the right help and direction, hard work, and practice.
And the unexpected by-product of all the hard work you put into mastering this skill is a newfound feeling of confidence.
By showing up daily, you’re proving to yourself that you can do it. Confidence is about the relationship you have with yourself, anyway. So, just get out there and start!
Another thing you may learn along the way is that being a little anxious or making mistakes isn’t as bad as you thought. You’ve moved forward; no matter the outcome, self-confidence is the result.
4. Monitor your progress. Take note of your achievements every day.
Make sure you remind yourself often how you’re doing by monitoring your progress. Keeping track in a journal or excel document is a great way to acknowledge how far you’ve come.
All journaling is a form of communication with yourself. When you sit down for a few minutes to jot down your small and big daily accomplishments, you affirm your progress directly.
A part of you is observing, and that part says, “Well done!” You continue to build self-esteem and develop your confidence as you go.
5. Release the need to be perfect. Improve confidence by working to let this go.
Brene Brown says, “Perfectionism is not the same as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.”
Perfectionism prevents us from true confidence because we aren’t willing to show up and genuinely put in our best effort. Instead, we’re constantly in defense mode. We are so afraid of being judged that we create a false protective shield that stands between us and others.
Self-confidence is an inner feeling that can be built and cultivated. Perfectionism is a focus on outward appearances.
Have you noticed this in social circles? The perfectionist is constantly trying to impress others. Therefore, she focuses on outward appearance. The need to impress others comes from a sense of deep-seated inadequacy and low self-esteem.
On the other hand, the self-confident person doesn’t need to appear perfect because she knows her strengths and believes in herself. Her sense of self-contentment puts others at ease.
If you struggle with perfectionism, you aren’t alone! Get help to work through your fears so that you can move forward, build self-confidence, and embrace real self-worth.
6. Improve your confidence by practicing advocating for yourself.
According to The Confidence Code, “The ability to advocate for ourselves in smaller office settings or around dinner tables prepares us for those critical moments when we need to speak to a huge crowd, or maybe just to an important audience of one, asking for a better deal.”
Speaking up and speaking out are integral parts of having confidence. Set goals to practice speaking up once a week. Try sharing an opposing opinion at your next event. Share something a bit more intimate and vulnerable at your next dinner party.
Take baby steps to build self-confidence and reach your goal.
7. Exercise – an important part of well-being and confidence!
Exercising has many well-documented health benefits, including helping with memory retention, improving focus, managing stress, and preventing depression.
In addition, a committed, regular exercise regime can support increased confidence in many ways.
You can feel enhanced self-esteem as you show yourself through dedication that you are worth the effort!
8. Improve your confidence by being willing to ask for help when you need it.
I found this surprising while researching confidence, but now I see it as one of the most important traits to practice. Self-confident people aren’t afraid to admit that they don’t — and can’t — know everything.
This idea seems counterintuitive. Maybe that’s because the confident person is often portrayed as someone who walks into the room and knows everything. But it’s not true. It takes confidence in your abilities and within yourself to be vulnerable.
Practice asking for help and see how it makes you feel.
9. Don’t focus too much on what other people think.
Out of some misguided narcissism, it’s easy to think that whatever we’re doing or not doing is being closely observed by others, and it’s not!
If you’re too focused on what others think, you may be unwilling to try new things. But, in reality, people are entirely focused on themselves. Fear of approval is a burden you don’t need to carry.
Focus on what you want and what’s important to you, and don’t allow your worry about others’ opinions and thoughts to get in the way.
10. Building a growth mindset and a willingness to take risks will improve your confidence.
Self-confidence requires a growth mindset because you must believe you can learn new skills. If you don’t think that, you will not have the confidence to try something new.
Within a positive growth mindset is a willingness to take calculated risks. Confident people are comfortable putting themselves out there. Because they have a higher level of self-approval, it doesn’t matter what other people think.
Resilience is an important counterpart to confidence. When you know, you will bounce back from difficulty, taking that risk is easier. Also, it is critical to understand that if things don’t go as planned, they can get back up and try again.
11. Teaching others will catapult your confidence.
According to the Health Coach Institute, “Helping others is a great way to gain more confidence. Leveraging a personal strength to help someone else 1.) shifts your focus away from your perceived shortcomings to areas you excel in and 2.) allows you to make a meaningful difference in someone else’s life.”
Reaching this point is the icing on the cake. Look closely at a skill you are naturally good at or have worked hard to excel in. Then find a way to share your expertise, teach others what you know, and watch your confidence soar. Finally, you can recognize how far you’ve come.
12. Move toward embracing wholehearted positive energy.
“I think confidence is how we meet our circumstances, whether they are wondrous and wonderful or hard and difficult,” she offered with a tranquil smile. “It’s almost like a wholeheartedness, where we’re not holding back.
We’re not fragmented. We’re not divided. We’re just going towards what’s happening. There’s an energy to it.” – A quote from Sharon Salzberg from The Confidence Code.
I love this quote. We are here to be fully connected, whole, willing, and eager to offer our unique talents and gifts to this world. When we connect with our truth, we can work through the obstacles in our way.
Self-confidence gives us the strength and ability to embrace ourselves fully and grow and become even more of who we are here to be! With the tools above, you can find this and improve your confidence in yourself.
So, what do you think?
I think you should make the effort! This world needs you and your confident self to shine a light for others to see.
(This post was originally published on May 8, 2021, and has been updated for improved thoroughness and clarity.)