Nobody is born with limitless self-confidence. If someone seems to have incredible self-confidence, it’s because he or she has worked on building it for years. Self-confidence is something that you learn to build up because the challenging world of business, and life in general, can deflate it.
We have to deal with our inner critic of self-doubt that constantly tells us that we are not good enough. When bombarded by so many elements that threaten our self-confidence, we need to take charge of building it up for ourselves.
Building a successful business requires a thick skin and unshakable confidence in your ability to overcome obstacles. Here are 5 things you can do to build up your self-confidence.
1. Visualize yourself as you want to be.
“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill
Visualization is the technique of seeing an image of yourself that you are proud of, in your own mind. When we struggle with low self-confidence, we have a poor perception of ourselves that is often inaccurate. Practice visualizing a fantastic version of yourself, achieving yours: “I can’t do that,” “I will surely fail”, “no one wants to hear what I have to say.” This inner voice is pessimistic and unhelpful and will hold you back from achieving high self-esteem and greater self-confidence.
2. Identify your negative thoughts.
Your negative thoughts might sound like this: “I can’t do that,” “I will surely fail”, “no one wants to hear what I have to say.” This inner voice is pessimistic and unhelpful and will hold you back from achieving high self-esteem and greater self-confidence.
3. Affirm yourself.
“Affirmations are a powerful tool to deliberately install desired beliefs about yourself.” — Nikki Carnevale
We tend to behave in accordance with our own self-image. The trick to making lasting change is to change how you view yourself.
Affirmations are positive and uplifting statements that we say to ourselves. These are normally more effective if said out loud so that you can hear yourself say it. We tend to believe whatever we tell ourselves constantly. For example, if you hate your own physical appearance, practice saying something that you appreciate or like about yourself when you next look in the mirror.
4. Question your inner critic.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” — Louise L. Hay
Some of the harshest comments that we get come from ourselves, via the “voice of the inner critic.” If you struggle with low self-confidence, there is a possibility that your inner critic has become overactive and inaccurate. Strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy help you to question your inner critic, and look for evidence to support or deny the things that your inner critic is saying to you. For example, if you think that you are a failure, ask yourself, “What evidence is there to support the thought that I am a failure?” and “What evidence is there that doesn’t support the thought that I am a failure?”
Find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself, even for the smallest successes. As Mark Twain said, “ man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
5. Set yourself up to win.
“To establish true self-confidence, we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives.” — Denis Waitley
Too many people are discouraged about their abilities because they set themselves goals that are too difficult to achieve. Start by setting yourself small goals that you can win easily.
Once you have built a stream of successes that make you feel good about yourself, you can then move on to harder goals. Make sure that you also keep a list of all your achievements, both large and small, to remind yourself of the times that you have done well.
Instead of focusing only on “to-do” lists, I like to spend time reflecting on “did-it” lists. Reflecting on the major milestones, projects and goals you’ve achieved is a great way to reinforce confidence in your skills.
6. Care for yourself.
“Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” — Parker Palmer
Self-confidence depends on a combination of good physical health, emotional health and social health. It is hard to feel good about yourself if you hate your physique or constantly have low energy.
Make time to cultivate great exercise, eating and sleep habits. In addition, dress the way you want to feel. You have heard the saying that “clothes make the man.” Build your self-confidence by making the effort to look after your own needs.
7. Create personal boundaries.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”– Harvey Fierstein
Learn to say no. Teach others to respect your personal boundaries. If necessary, take classes on how to be more assertive and learn to ask for what you want. The more control and say that you have over your own life, the greater will be your self-confidence.