To succeed in business today, whether as a leader, manager or business owner, knowing how to boost your self-confidence is paramount. A lack of confidence may prevent you from pursuing opportunities or taking risks to help you grow.
Confidence is a strong sense of self. When you have self-confidence, you signal to others that you believe in yourself and your ability to deliver results. As a leader, confidence enables you to lead powerfully. When you approach others with confidence, you increase your chances to engender trust and respect.
If you're looking to improve your self-confidence, it's important to note that this is not something you can achieve overnight. However, there are some actionable steps that you can take.
1. Pursue excellence, not perfection.
The definition of perfectionism is "the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness." Pursuing perfection can lower your ability to boost your self-confidence because you would be judging yourself against impossible standards.
By contrast, consider pursuing excellence in everything you do. Aiming for excellence means setting and meeting the highest standards that are reachable. Knowing that what you're doing matches the highest standards boosts your self-confidence. Chasing perfection, on the other hand, lowers your confidence because it creates doubt and anxiety as you try to reach unrealistic standards.
Do you have a tendency toward perfectionism? Consider these three tips:
- Create a list of the services you provide to internal or external customers.
- Consider what's required to be outstanding in each of these services.
- Now create a plan to tackle each of these areas in a way that surpasses ordinary standards.
2. Invest in your competence.
The adage "fake it till you make it" can lead to feeling like a fake rather than feeling genuinely self-confident.
Instead, you can boost your self-confidence by focusing on increasing your competence in the central areas of your work. Become good at what you do. It's one of the most direct ways to boost your self-confidence.
Moreover, once you reach a certain level of competence, consider raising the bar on yourself. Raising the bar leads to continuous improvement over time.
How else can you invest in your competence?
- Be honest with yourself about what you don't know. Create a personal competency framework and spend time increasing your knowledge or skill in the areas that need attention.
- Research your area of expertise to learn new trends and new ways of doing things. The world is dynamic and changing. Falling behind can erode your confidence.
- Sharpen the saw by attending some online courses which are now available in almost any subject.
- Read as much as you can—not only in your area of expertise, but for general business knowledge as well. Even if you're very busy, you can subscribe to a book summary service to improve your professional skills and boost your self-confidence. GetAbstract, Blinklist and Actionable Books are just a few of the services available.
3. Learn from your own experience.
After a significant event, such as delivering a major presentation or doing a sales call with an important client, reflect on the experience.
Take a sheet of paper, label it "lessons learned" and capture everything you've gained from the event. For example:
- What part of your performance went well? That's what you don't want to forget so that you can repeat it the next time.
- What didn't go as well? What do you need to avoid doing the next time?
- What do you need to do differently or better to take yourself to the next level?
- What do you need to abandon altogether?
Not taking the time to reflect and capture the lessons may limit your ability to learn from your own experience. Self-confidence is a quality we gain above all from repeated successful experiences.
4. Stop the self-harassment.
Self-harassment is when we persistently berate ourselves for any failures, whether real or perceived. Instead of severe self-criticism, consider practicing self-acceptance which can help boost your self-confidence. How can you do this?
- Start by raising your self-awareness so that you can exercise self-control. Just how many times in a week do you belittle your efforts, blame yourself for events, or speak harshly to yourself? Self-criticism becomes habitual, and we hardly notice it. Catch yourself in the act. Self-awareness precedes self-management.
- Develop an accurate assessment of who you are. What do you do well? What do you do not so well? Notwithstanding this knowledge, accept yourself unconditionally. To achieve this, set an intention to appreciate yourself for who you are.
- Remind yourself that you're in control of your self-development. Work on ironing out any rough edges or doing whatever it takes to improve what needs to be improved.
5. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Preparation is a key to boosting your self-confidence. When you're prepared, you tend to feel less pressure. Preparation gives you a feeling of being in control. It can give you a head start so that you can think and act your best.
Let's take the example of going to a meeting. Meetings are often events that can put a dent in self-confidence because you're observed and possibly judged by your lack of contribution.
To build your confidence in a meeting:
- Never go into a meeting unprepared. Be prepared to contribute to the discussion even if you're not scheduled to speak.
- Try to find out the meeting topics in advance, if possible. What are your ideas about the meeting topics?
- Prepare a question or two that you might ask. Leaving a meeting with a feeling that you've contributed to the discussion can be a big confidence booster.
6. Beware of the comparison trap.
When you measure yourself against others, you may rob yourself of the confidence that comes from believing in your abilities. Cultivate an inner trust based on doing the right things for yourself, your staff and your business. If you look to the success of others, do it to learn rather than to measure yourself.
When it comes to comparing ourselves, self-comparison is essential. Are you better today than you were yesterday? Compare your progress with where you were when you started. By focusing on even small improvements that you've made in your skills and abilities from day to day, you may start to see your self-confidence surge.
7. Learn from the best to help boost your self-confidence.
Find out who are the best people in your line of business and study what they do. Think about them, read articles about them and watch their performances. Follow them on social media and research everything about them that you can.
What can you learn from these people that can help you reach the same level of success in your field? Once you've determined what they do, consider how you can even surpass them.
Even the most confident people can sometimes find themselves in situations where they doubt themselves. Everyone needs some tools in their toolkit to boost their self-confidence. Self-confidence is key to having the mental edge that helps you succeed.
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