Self

7 Tiny Habits Of People With Unparalleled Confidence

Photo: Cleyton Ewerton | Pexels 
Confident woman playing with sprinkles

The majority of my clients crave more control over their lives. They’re successful by society’s definition of success. Yet, they don’t feel like they have control over much. Instead, they feel directionless and like there’s got to be more to life, leading them to constantly second-guess themselves — a self-confidence issue. The problem is that they don’t see that they have a confidence problem because of what they perceive to be their success. But, how do you define success, exactly?

Luckily, coaching helps them identify that they have a confidence problem and gives them powerful tools for building self-confidence and getting control of their life. You, too, can learn how to be confident and find the courage to take control of your life by learning 7 confidence-building steps. 

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Here are 7 tiny habits of people with unparalleled confidence:

1. Face your fear

Fear is a confidence killer, yet there is something you can do about your fears so that they don't take hold of you: you face them. Unfortunately, the long-standing cliché that you must face your fears is true. Most people work hard to avoid their fears, which makes your fears continue to haunt you and even grow (the opposite of what you want). 

   

   

But facing fear helps to put a dent in it. When facing your fears, start small if possible. For example, if you're afraid of speaking in front of an audience, face it by speaking in front of a room of 10 people and then build up from there. Don't want to go all-in immediately? Face it within your mind first by doing the following:

  • Identify your fear: Name it and be specific about what you fear might happen.
  • Feel into your fear: Experience it in its worst form and keep at it for 10 minutes. Do this and imagine your fear coming true.
  • Let go of your fear: Do this by breathing deeply and concentrating on your breath.

The point of this exercise is for your brain to experience your fear and get through it. You'll realize that you can make it through, which helps to decrease the fear.

2. Play "What if...?"

This is another fear-busting way to build your self-confidence. Here's what to do:

  • Identify and name your fear: Be detailed about what you fear and give it a name. Do you fear rejection or failure? Perhaps you only fear failure because of what someone (such as a parent) might think. Be specific about that.
  • Ask "What if the worst happens?:" Imagine that the absolute worst happens. Where would you be and what would be happening? How would you feel?
  • Ask "What next?:" Once you've given some thought to where you'd be if your worst fear came true, consider what you would do about it. Start to plan around your fear.

Going through this exercise will help you to get into action — instead of worrying over what might happen — and give back some of your control. It also helps you to realize that you can still get through the worst-case scenario.

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3. Challenge and re-frame

Although this step is similar to the ones above, it's more complex and works best when dealing with impostor syndrome and fear of failure. Impostor syndrome is when, despite your successes and evidence to the contrary, you believe that you'll one day be exposed and that you've just been lucky. Amazingly, impostor syndrome is common among successful people. How can you deal with it and other fears, such as the fear of failure). Challenge your fears by doing these 4 things:

   

   

  • Name the fear: Specify the fear you're dealing with.
  • Identify the belief behind your fear: What do you believe about yourself that gives rise to this fear?
  • Identify what you know that rebuts your belief: For example, if you fear that you'll be found out as a fraud and are afraid to take on something new you could identify all of your achievements to date and the skills and strengths that got you there. This will help put your fear and the beliefs behind it into perspective.
  • Re-frame your belief by focusing on the positive: Ask yourself how you and others might benefit.  For instance, if you're afraid of asking for help because of a fear that you'll be seen as weak, remind yourself of the benefits of asking.  Not only will you free up more of your time for things that you're better at, but you'll be empowering others in the process.

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4. Affirm yourself in the right way

Positive affirmations are powerful tools...when done right. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation around how to use them. Here's how to utilize positive affirmations as a tool for building self-confidence in the right way:

  • Be specific: Don't generalize, but instead, be specific about what's going on and why you lack confidence.
  • Express your affirmation in the present tense: For example, here is an affirmation for dealing with a fear of failure when taking on a new role at work, "I have the experience, skills, and knowledge needed to take this on. I'm well prepared and have additional resources to back me up whenever needed. I know that I can do a great job."
  • Use only facts and what you know to be true: Don't sugarcoat by being overly positive.
  • Tell a narrative: Be clear about where you are and how you're utilizing your current capabilities and strengths (plus any resources) to get you where you want to be.

5. Challenge your self-doubt

Any time you doubt yourself, challenge your doubts by listing all the reasons why your doubts are false. As you begin to find reasons to rebut your self-doubt, you'll be transforming the negativity going on in your head into a more positive feeling (and you start using more positive language). This step is simple, yet it's important because you'll be practicing kindness and compassion toward yourself. Plus, you'll be finding a lot of reasons not to doubt yourself. And that builds confidence!

6. List and build your success

List your successes, strengths, and skills. But, don't make just about the obvious successes — it also includes what you learn through failure. 

Take out a piece of paper and create 5 columns. In each column, do this:

  • In the first column, list the achievements you're proud of.
  • In the second column, list your skills and how they have helped you to succeed.
  • In the third column, list your strengths and how they have helped you to succeed. Note: Strengths aren't the same thing as skills. Strengths are those inherent qualities about you that you're good at, such as being able to identify patterns that aren't readily identifiable (one of my strengths).
  • In the fourth column, list your big "failures" — those times when you didn't succeed at something you wanted or didn't achieve a goal you set for yourself. Then, list the lessons learned and each skill and strength that was developed or strengthened because of the so-called failure.

This powerful exercise will remind you of all of your accomplishments and that you're not failing if you're learning something (making it easier to take a leap of faith). 

7. Analyze all the risks

Finally, you need to start making changes in your life. When facing something new or different, most of us look immediately to the risk involved with a change, assuming something big goes wrong. Very few people look at the risk of doing nothing even though there's often a big risk in doing nothing.

The truth is, that there are risks on both sides of the equation. You need to figure out the risks on both sides of the equation so that you can make a more informed decision. It will also increase your self-confidence around how you make decisions (especially those that involve big changes to your life). To properly analyze all risks, here's what you need to do:

  • Assuming you take a leap of faith, consider the best thing that could happen: Be specific and take some time to feel into this.
  • Assuming you take a leap of faith, consider the worst thing that could happen: Again, be specific about where you'll be and how you'd feel. Ask also what you would do should that happen (i.e. how would you fix it or deal with this scenario)?
  • Assuming you do nothing, consider the best thing that could happen: Analyze how good that is.
  • Assuming you do nothing, consider the worst thing that could happen: Be sure to think about the long-term repercussions of doing nothing and allowing things to go on as-is.  Again, be specific about how you'd feel and where you'd end up.
  • Make a choice based on what you've found.

Now that you know the steps to take to build your self-confidence, it's time to utilize them and take control of your life and success once more.

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Heather Moulder is a career and life coach and founder of Course Correction Coaching. She specializes in helping professional women have both a successful career and happy home life with real work-life balance.

This article was originally published at Course Correction Coaching. Reprinted with permission from the author.