Do you shine with confidence? When I talk with women about what they want or need to live happier, more successful lives, confidence is the number one thing that pops up.
Most women are not worried about lack of skill, lack of knowledge or lack of a work ethic. As a group, we seem to have these things well under control. What many women know is that often times what is holding them back is confidence.
I’ve written before about why we lack confidence. It stems from the messages we hear growing up, the talk in our heads, and the messages we constantly hear from advertisements encouraging us to be thinner, younger, and more beautiful.
In his new book High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard discusses confidence as one of the secret ingredients of high performers. Confidence is related to happiness, joy and fulfillment. Confident people are less likely to feel burn-out. They are also healthier. If you feel confident, you are more likely to eat well, sleep enough, and workout.
We all agree that for most of us, more confidence would be a good thing. But how, exactly, do we get it? Here are Burchard’s suggestions:
The more knowledge, skill and ability you show with a given task, the more likely you are to be confident in that task.
This makes sense. I often feel competent in my work, and I feel more confidence around work than in other areas of my life. I also feel confident in traveling, in writing, and my ability to learn and integrate knowledge. I feel less competent in areas where I lack skill such as in athletic pursuits.
What can you do to develop competence? Sometimes it comes from years of experience, such as in our professional work. The more you do something, the more likely you will become competent. We also build competence by repeatedly engaging in an activity, by showing up. We may not be the best at something, but we can’t get better if we’re not in the game.
Other times you can build competence by taking a class, or purposefully learning more about how to do something. High performers are strong in their belief that they can improve their skills and purposefully try to do so.
Acknowledge your wins.
High performers integrate their wins into their identity. They recognize their achievements and give themselves credit.
Do you regularly celebrate your wins? Do you reflect on all of the things you are doing well? I know I am not alone in beating myself up over the one thing that didn’t go well while ignoring all of the things I did well.
We are often hard on ourselves. Giving yourself a pat on the back can help build your confidence.
Live with congruence.
If we live in accordance to what we value, who we are, and how we want to live, we are more confident.
People with confidence don’t wait for others to define who they want to be. They decide who they want to be and then live within that self-image. Living with greater intention builds confidence.
Rather than going through the motions, confident people align themselves with their intentions. I’ve felt the power of this idea as I’ve worked through clarifying what I really want and how I really want to live. I feel more confidence in who I am and who I want to be.
I contrast this with my younger self, and with many people I see who lack confidence. Not knowing who they want to be, they “try-on” the actions, attitudes, or personas of others. It never feels exactly right, and that results in a lack of confidence.
I still feel this way sometimes when I try different clothing. I see something that looks great on someone, and trying to stretch myself, buy it. It never feels right, and I walk around like an uncomfortable fraud all day. Then it hangs in the back of my closet. I understand this phenomenon now. The clothes don’t fit with who I am. Goodbye Boho chic and tasseled boots. I know deep down I am a black penny loafer kind of girl.
Connect with others.
Connecting with others helps you to learn more about the world and more about yourself. When you work with others, you learn new ways of thinking and working. You learn what people want and need. You learn how to serve other people.
Confidence comes from having a curiosity about others and from being open to what they have to share. It comes from listening, rather than talking about yourself.
At first the idea that engaging with people builds confidence seemed crazy to me. I often feel the least confident when I engage with people, especially people I don’t know. I find walking into a room full of strangers very unnerving. I don’t know what to say, and want to retreat to my own quiet office.
Thinking about it, I realize that I don’t have to be the star in the room. I can listen to others and learn. Learning is one of my key strengths. If I consider a room full of strangers as an opportunity to learn, it lessens my fear. If I am not afraid, I can’t help but be more confident in the situation.
What about you? What do you do to build confidence? Are you an engager? A learner? Do you celebrate your successes? Are you confident in who you are and does it align with who you want to be? I am interested in hearing how you grow in confidence, and I know many others are interested as well.