Self-confidence is such an important trait to possess, and one that requires a lot of work to develop and nurture. It is not a linear path, but rather an onward journey with ups and downs.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is defined by the American Psychological Association as the “trust in one’s abilities, capacities, and judgement“. They also add that it is “a belief that one is capable of successfully meeting the demands of a task“.
So self-confidence is a feeling and a belief.
- A feeling that each of us has about our own ability to be successful.
- A belief that it is true and real; we accept the validity and veracity of such feeling, even without proof.
The great news is that we can re-wire ourselves to change these feeling and belief to make them more positive and compassionate towards ourselves. How do you do that? By shifting your attention to what works.
Identifying your strong (and less strong) areas through self-awareness
We all have strengths and weaknesses. What’s important is to match what we believe they are to reality, through building self-awareness. Self-awareness here is the key to build and nurture self-confidence.
- Let’s take an example of someone who is very confident but not self-aware. They think they are really good at doing a certain task, but in reality, they are not efficient at all and waste a lot of time. They don’t listen to their colleagues who try to help, or the feedback from their manager. They continue doing what they think is the right way since it’s their way.
- Now, the example of someone who is not confident and not self-aware. They don’t realise how well they complete certain tasks, probably because they assume everyone does the same, so they don’t capitalise on their strengths to help others, share their knowledge, build leadership skills, etc.
If the person in situation #1 worked on their self-awareness, they would understand where their areas of development are and would focus on them. They could set incremental goals; each accomplishment would then feed their self-confidence based on reality.
If the person in situation #2 worked on their self-awareness, they would be able to build self-confidence by realising that they have something others don’t, and be more assertive when sharing it. They would also be able to read how well it is perceived by others, which would encourage them to continue.
So how do you do that?
1 | Develop
The best and most effective way to develop self-confidence is by becoming aware of the areas in your life where you feel strong. Take some time to answer some of the questions below:
- What makes you unique?
- What do you have that most people don’t?
- What makes you feel strong?
- What are your core values?
- What do you stand for?
- What are you passionate about?
- What fuels your fire?
- Where do you want to go?
- Who could you help and how could you help them?
2 | Nurture
Developing self-awareness is only the first step to boost your self-confidence. It’s always a work in progress, and you need to keep nurturing and taking care of your feeling and belief to reinforce it.
- Repeat this questioning regularly to check in with yourself and make sure you are reminded of your strengths.
- Ask for feedback to other people and compare their perception to yours.
- Do something new every week and check how it made you feel.
- Find a motto that you can easily use and repeat a few times to nourish your belief.
3 | Face your inner critic
There will be moments where all that won’t be enough to feel strong, where even the best positive affirmations won’t help. It happens to everyone. You can’t be strong and assertive and confident 100% of the time. When it happens, listen to your inner critic like it is another person talking.
- First, what does it say?
- What was the event that triggered the critic?
- What can you learn about it?
- What would you respond?
- How could you use your strengths to bounce back?