Confidence is defined as the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust, the state of feeling certain about the truth of something, and a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.
Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment. Self-Confidence is what we are going to discuss here.
You may have heard me discuss before that we are in charge of how we feel. If self-confidence is a feeling than boom, it’s totally within our control to create it. Self-confidence can be cultivated with our thoughts. Good news.
If you are doing something new or trying to make a change it’s not natural for us to be confident. Anytime we’re doing something new, we have no evidence to support how we will fair. We are more confident of course when we have done something successfully in the past.
We can cultivate confidence when we think about the situation a couple different ways.
1. Look for Evidence
Think about our good track record.
Maybe you have lots of evidence from the past when you tried new things and were successful. You can use this evidence to remind you that you can in fact try and succeed at something new and unknown.
Instead of thinking about everything that may go wrong and all the times you fell short, take a moment to think of all the things you did right. All the new things you have tried and succeeded at in the past.
This is the work I have to do. I tend to focus on the lack and discount all the progress I have made. I overlook all the times I survived a situation, all the times I’ve achieved excellence, all the good I’ve done. But I almost never forget to dwell on any little mistake I’ve made, all the time I ever frittered away, or any other tiny imperfection in my life or behavior. Those are the first thoughts to float to the top for me.
My coach recommended I add to my daily journal practice, a things I did well, section. Many of us have a gratitude practice, where we write down three things we are grateful for each day. This is the same idea, but instead write down three things you did well that day, three wins. This will help keep those thoughts floating to the top.
In my work in Human Resources, I often worked with employees who wanted more recognition. They wanted to be recognized for doing a good job and didn’t feel they were getting any. I could watch these same employees get thanked for a job well done and not even hear the thank you, they literally could not receive it. They were so focused on what was wrong, the lack, they literally did not register the compliments, the recognition.
So practice paying attention to the things you have done well at and the areas where you have been successful. Remind yourself daily to keep this evidence of your capability top of mind.
2. Who Cares?
Another way we can cultivate confidence. We can think “who cares”.
When we are not confident in ourselves or a situation it stems from fear. We are afraid we will fail, be rejected, or look stupid. But truly at the end of the day, who gives a shit?
This is easier said than done but ultimately this is where I want to be. I want to have the limiting beliefs weaken to the point that I don’t have to constantly work at remembering to direct my thoughts in a more free spirited way.
Instead I’d like to remember this one thought. Who cares? So what? I do what I want. Okay these three thoughts.
We have to remember there are no rules, no judges, no right or wrong, no should or should nots. We are free spirited humans that get to do what we want, how we want to. Of course we do have to live in society and not harm others, ourselves, or break laws. But we place so many other restrictions and pressure on ourselves to conform that simply are not necessary.
We get to decide how we did, how we behave, and really no one else probably cares nearly as much as we give them credit for. They are most likely in their own head about their behavior and lack of confidence, not paying attention to you and your lack.
Why do we want to have more self-confidence?
When we are more confident in our abilities we are going to live a fuller, richer, more authentic life.
If we are confident we are going to:
Choose what we want over what others want for us. This means our life will be more authentic, rewarding, and fulfilling. When we live in a state of people pleasing and fear of what others will think we end up living a life we don’t love.
We are going to live with more adventure, creativity, and growth. To try new things is to grow. Trying new things pushes us beyond our current edge and we are forced to adapt, learn, and evolve. This is so good for us humans because it’s in our nature to evolve.
Focus on what we can do - more than what we can’t. Having a positive outlook just plain feels better. Remember those positive thoughts are creating our positive feelings.
Let's not forget that even something that didn't work out moved us forward. We learned something from it. So when you need a boost of confidence try to remember all the evidence you can think of when you successfully did something you were unsure.
Think about how you made a bigger deal out of something that turned out to be easy and painless, and at the end of the day tell yourself, so what?