Why do we sometimes experience confidence wobbles?
Self-confidence can be shaky for any number of reasons:
- A predisposition for lower esteem because of temperament or genetics, Doctor Barbara Markway notes that this could account for between 25-50% of the traits linked with confidence.
- Life experiences, particularly trauma, family environment, previous bullying, and discrimination.
- Social media portrayals, such as unrealistic images of perfection (marriage, body image, career success, etc).
We routinely hear successful leaders in their field attribute their sense of self and confidence to their personal or professional successes. But this does not help us understand how confidence builds up. It builds on several aspects; however, it depends principally on our decisions and accomplishments. The same decisions allow us to satisfy our passions and feel pride in who we are as a person. Finding our passion and purpose in life takes on greater importance. So what can we practically do?
Five confidence boosting steps
- Be brave and fearless
- Get things done
- Track your progress
- Do the right things
- Have fun!
Be Brave and Fearless
The fear of failure is often the “thing” that holds us back from “giving it a go”, meaning moving into a new career, moving to a new country, or any number of worthy life-changing decisions. It is in these moments that we need the courage to take on what can initially seem like an insurmountable mountain. Every entrepreneur has at some point faced real risks, and with it a quiet fear but they pushed through by digging deep. A useful strategy for setting out this dream big path is The Disney Strategy.
Get Things Done
Passion and purpose in life are founded on getting things done (aka getting s&*t done as a friend of mine likes to say)! It is upon setting and meeting goals that confidence is built. Let me explain. Purpose starts with a longer-term objective, one measured in years or quarters to accomplish. From the objective, we break it down into small incremental steps. These small steps are generally accomplished in hours or days. As the steps complete day after day, we progressively complete semi-annual or annual goals. It is in these successes that confidence builds.
Track Your Progress
Tracking progress against both the small steps and the larger milestones, we establish a feedback loop for ourselves. For example, if the goal is to lose 10lbs we will only know if we are making progress by regularly weighing ourselves. If the goals are less tangible, such as working towards a promotion then we can track progress through performance evaluations and progressive assignments (such as specific projects). It’s about identifying ways in which we know progress is occurring. An additional resource we can use to track progress is to surround ourselves with individuals that are willing to give us tough feedback, when necessary. Feedback helps us improve, which in turn boosts confidence.
Do the Right Things
Confident individuals live their personal and professional lives using a values-based compass to guide decision-making. Decisions occur based on what is right, not what is easy. For instance, consider what kind of person you want to be and what you want to do. Do you want to be a person that is prepared to make short-term sacrifices to do the right thing? Or do you want the easier path even if it leads to a lesser long-term outcome? It’s all about being the kind of person you are proud to be. This sense of pride in who we are boosts our confidence.
To be our best selves, we need balance. So consider whether you are using your downtime to do things you love. What do you love to do? Walk, hike, play soccer, cycle, draw, read, watch movies? Whatever your personal passions, make time and space for the activities in your life. It is about creating time to recharge your batteries, which in turn allows you to be the best version of yourself.
Confidence is a trait that develops and builds using multiple strategies. It comes from understanding and relentlessly believing in your ability. Using these five boosting strategies makes this journey quicker and easier for us.
As the pandemic stabilizes, it is an ideal time to boost self-confidence and self-esteem by giving ourselves the gift of trying new things. Without the eyes of the world staring at us right now, we can experiment freely and safely. Be brave and give it a go.
Sign in to the Community Member Area or comment below to share your views on how you boost your confidence, or how you help boost the confidence of others.
Give it a try!
Cartoon credit: Randy Glasbergen