How to be More Confident

Confidence is often an overlooked characteristic of successful people. That may be because many people believe that confidence comes after you’re successful. The reality is that confidence often comes before success. You would even be safe in saying that success happens because of confidence.

Self-confidence, truly believing in yourself, is a valuable trait that can positively impact every area of your life. Building confidence is a gradual process that varies from person to person. Here are some steps that anyone can take to become more confident today.

• Self-awareness: Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and areas where you lack confidence. Being aware of your capabilities and limitations allows you to set realistic goals and work towards them.

• Positive self-talk: Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t do, focus on what you can achieve. Be your own biggest supporter rather than your harshest critic. Some people think that the whole positive self-talk stuff is for wimps but here’s the deal…it actually works…bigly.

• Set achievable goals: Start with small, attainable goals that you can consistently accomplish. As you achieve these goals, you’ll gradually build a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem. Your want some goals that stretch you too but not every goal can or should be a stretch goal.

• Preparation: Knowledge and preparation are key to feeling confident. Whether it’s a presentation, interview, or any other task, being well-prepared reduces uncertainty and boosts your confidence. Research and practice extensively beforehand.

• Body language: Your body language can influence how you feel and how others perceive you. Stand tall, maintain good posture, make eye contact, and use open gestures. These nonverbal cues can convey confidence even when you might not feel it internally.

• Dress the part: Wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident can have a positive impact on your self-image. When you feel good about how you look, it often translates into increased self-assurance. This matters in your virtual life as well. Even if you’re doing a Zoom call dress as if you’re live and in person. Others may not see the difference but you will feel it.

• Face your fears: Often, lack of confidence is tied to fear of failure or rejection. By gradually facing your fears and taking calculated risks, you’ll learn that setbacks are a normal part of growth and development. Understand that the only place fear actually exists is in our minds. The fastest way to overcome the illusion of fear is to take action, do something. You’ll forget about your fear soon enough.

• Learn from mistakes: Instead of dwelling on failures, view them as opportunities for growth. Analyze what went wrong, identify lessons learned, and apply those lessons to future endeavors.

• Focus on your strengths: Celebrate your successes and remind yourself of your past achievements. Reflecting on your abilities and accomplishments can help you maintain a positive self-perception.

• Step out of your comfort zone: Growth occurs outside of your comfort zone. By trying new things and challenging yourself, you’ll develop a sense of adaptability and resilience that contributes to confidence.

A couple more thoughts on confidence. Be careful when projecting confidence around others. Less confident people may mistake your confidence for arrogance. It’s even possible that you could allow your new found confidence to turn into arrogance. Neither of those situations is helpful to you or the people around you. So don’t let them happen.

Remember that building confidence is an ongoing journey. It’s normal to have moments of self-doubt, but with consistent effort and a positive mindset, you can develop a strong foundation of self-assurance over time.

Want more of LeadToday? I’ve changed things up on my Twitter feed for subscribers. I recently began publishing two or three videos each week focusing on an element of Authentic Leadership. I’ll post these videos each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Sometimes a bonus video pops up at other times during the week. They will be about 10 minutes long so we can get into the topic in a more meaningful way. The investment for subscribers in still only $4.99 a month. That’s for at least 80 MINUTES of quality video content on leadership a month.

If you’re interested in taking a look, head on over to my Twitter profile page. If you’re not a follower yet just hit the follow button. It will change to a subscribe button and once you hit that you’re on your way. You can cancel at any time you’ve decided you have nothing left to learn about leading the people who you count on for your success.

Here’s the link to my Twitter…

A Guaranteed Wrong Decision

I was asked years ago to do a Goal Setting workshop for a group of High School Seniors. We were talking about short term goals and I asked how many of the students were planning on attending college in the fall. 

The answers were varied but one stood out. The student said they had not yet decided about attending college in the fall so they were taking a year off school and then they would decided. I replied “so you’ve decided to not attend this fall.” They again said that had not yet decided about college in the fall so they were taking a year to “review their options” and then decide. So I gave the same reply. I added that by not deciding they had decided. They would not be attending college in the fall. 

The young student was frustrated with my answer. They were certain that they had not yet made a decision. But in fact the decision had been made. 

You may be tempted to cut the student a little slack given their age of lack of experience with making big decisions. Except the inability to make decisions has little to do with age or experience. 

It has to do with confidence. It has to do with being okay with failing once in a while. It has to do with the willingness to suffer the consequences of make wrong decisions. It has to do with with having the discipline to try again. And maybe again and again. 

People who can’t make a decision, or more likely, won’t make a decision, fail to understand that not making a decision IS a decision. It’s a decision to not change, to not take action, or it’s a decision to cling to a past mistake because you invested so much time in making the mistake. 

Not making a decision is guaranteed to be a wrong decision. I maintain actually making a decision that turns out to be wrong is often easier to fix than no decision because at least you’re now certain what doesn’t work. 

When you’re making a big decision and you’re not sure what to do then break the big decision into a series of smaller ones and do the next right thing to do. No matter how little that “right thing” is you’ll be creating momentum towards the big decision. You’ll be making progress and progress is always a good thing to make. 

If you think you truly can’t decide between a couple of options then simply flip a coin. I can promise you when that coin is in the air you’ll know exactly how you want it to land. Then, regardless of how the coin actually lands, you’ll know which option to choose. 

That may sound silly but it works amazingly well. But in order to find out for yourself you do have to decide to try it out. 

Better Voices

Most people won’t actually admit to hearing voices in their head. They think if people find out they will be sent immediately to see a psychiatrist…or worse. People think that way because one of the voices in their head tells them to think that way.

Everybody hears voices in their head. Sometimes it’s the voice of fear. Sometimes it’s the voice of reason. Sometimes it’s the voice of self-doubt. Sometimes it’s the voice of belief and confidence.

Some of the voices are stronger than others. For too many people the voices they hear most often are the voices of fear and self-doubt. For successful people the voices they hear most often are the voices of self-belief and confidence.

What someone hears in their head will determine their level of success. Do you allow the loudmouthed fear to overrule your voice of reason? Do you allow the voice of self-doubt to out shout your voice of confidence.

There are people in your life that you know better than to pay attention to. There are people in your life who you trust and listen to. You seek out their advice while ignoring the nattering naysayers of negativity.

Those voices of fear and self-doubt are nothing more than nattering naysayers of negativity. They are to be ignored just like the people you know better than to allow into your life.

Successful people have the voices of fear and self-doubt in their heads like everyone else. But they drown them out with their “better voices” of confidence, self-belief, and reason. When fear and doubt start their yapping successful people cut them off immediately with self-affirmation and confidence.

I think the key is paying attention to that voice in your head. It’s always there and if you aren’t careful it can influence your actions whether you realize it or not. So pay attention to those voices, when you realize it’s an unhealthy voice then either out shout it or overpower it with something better.

You have to admit to the voices before you can take control over them….but maybe you don’t have to admit them to other people. 🙂

Do Back-up Plans Lead to Failure?

There is a school of thought that says having a back-up plan is acknowledging that your original plan will not not succeed. The people who hold to this school of thought also believe that it’s that apparent lack of confidence that causes the ultimate failure of the plan.

I do not agree with that. I think not having a back-up plan is absolutely irresponsible. I like confident people but thinking you will never need a back-up plan is beyond confident, it’s more like cocky. Cocky may win the day but confident wins all the tomorrows.

I have plans. Well thought out, detailed plans. I have total confidence in my plans and when I have complete control over every aspect of my plan I don’t bother with a back-up plan. The trouble is, I can’t ever recall a plan where I had complete control over every aspect of the plan.

So for everything I want to accomplish I make a plan and one or two, or more, back-up plans to go with it. The back-up plans are full of “what if” scenarios for all the things, and people, outside of my control. My first back-up plan is the one that takes into account the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen and the subsequent back-up plans are all developed to improve on that worst situation. 

Some of my back-up plans are little more than thoughts, some are actually quickly written plans and some require some serious thought and investment of time.  

Regardless of how in-depth the back-up plans are it’s actually those plans that make my original plan more likely to succeed. After I make the back-up plans I review the original plan to remove as many of the uncontrollable elements as I possibly can.   

Considering alternate possibilities when planning doesn’t make you a failure, it leads directly to your success. A solid back-up plan allows you to pursue your goals and objectives with confidence, knowing that if something doesn’t go according to plan you’re well prepared to succeed anyway.

Don’t listen to people who tell you to work without a back-up plan, the best way to avoid needing a back-up is to have one ready to implement at a moments notice.