Self-confidence is something that everyone has to deal with. Our self-confidence affects every aspect of our lives and has a huge effect on how successful we are both in our personal and professional lives. How does a person gain self-confidence? Is it something that you do or are certain people just born with it? If you are wondering how to get self-confidence, there are some things that you can do to give yourself a boost. Let’s look at the best self-confidence tips that I know to give you a quick boost when you need a bit more self-confidence, either for the moment or over the long haul.
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What is Self Confidence?
When I googled the definition of self-confidence it said “a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.” I think we all have a pretty good internal idea of what self-confidence looks like. It’s a quality that I admire in others and I try to cultivate in myself. Sometimes I feel like I have a great deal of self-confidence, and other times, I need some self-confidence tips to give me a boost.
Self Confidence Tip #1: Look the Part
When I am going into a situation that I am a bit nervous about, I dress up. I find that if I look my best, it helps translates into how I present myself, and thus how I am perceived by others. Make sure that you are clean and well groomed. This includes obvious things like showering, deodorant, shaving, brushing teeth. These are often the mornings that I wake up a bit early so I can take a bit of extra time on my hair and makeup. I wear my nice clothes (as opposed to the ever so comfortable sweatshirt, jeans, and no makeup).
If I want to be taken seriously, I need to look the part. However, it’s not all about looks, but about how looking makes you feel and gives you a quick self-confidence boost. When you look in the mirror and smile, you are conveying to yourself “I got this.”
In addition to getting ready, you need to walk and look confident when you walk into the room. That means shoulders back, stand up tall, and look around the room with assurance. Depending on the situation that I am walking into, I will usually pause at the door, take a deep breath, smile, and then walk in. I will look directly at the person that I need to speak to and introduce myself with a firm handshake. I will state why am I there and go into it with a willingness to listen. This can be applied to a variety of situations, whether it be a work conference, a speaking engagement, or something relatively minor like a parent/teacher conference.
Self Confidence Tip #2: Prepare
I cannot begin to tell you how this one resonates with me. I hate not feeling prepared. Most of the time, I’m a precrastinator (as opposed to the ever so popular procrastinator). I like having things ready to go before the deadline so that I can tweak them to my satisfaction. I like to go into a situation where I need self-confidence knowing that I have all my paperwork together, my presentation prepared, and my information in a logical order.
Part of preparing also involves goal setting. I recently purchased a slay your goals planner, and one of the major things that I liked about it was that it guides me step by step through the process of not only setting big goals but also breaking them down. Do you know what happens when you achieve one of those mini goals? *Boom* sense of accomplishment, which boosts your self-confidence. When you plan and you set goals on a regular basis, it starts building your self-confidence over the long term. The more you do something and the more you learn about it, the more confident and proficient you become at it.
Self Confidence Tip #3: Visualize Success
If I am nervous about something, in my jittery mindset I start to visualize it. This can actually be a good thing if you control it. Don’t visualize it falling apart. Instead, visualize what it will feel like and what you will do to totally rock the situation that you are about to go into. You have all your paperwork, or whatever is necessary prepared. Think about how you will use that when you go into the situation you are about to face. When I was teaching, or when I had a presentation in school that I was nervous about, I rehearsed it in my head and/or in the mirror, and sometimes even dreamed about it.
Self Confidence Tip #4: Go All In
Self confident people are not scared to be wrong. They accept that they could be wrong, but they keep an open mind. Be prepared to listen more than you speak, and to understand the other person’s point of view, even if it differs from your own. Don’t play simply not to lose. Play to win. Self-confident people are not afraid to look a bit silly. Ironically, when you go in with this mindset, people actually respect you more.
For example, my 3rd year of teaching I felt I had finally hit my stride and had gained some self-confidence with my job. I had my material prepared, I visualized how the lessons would go, and I looked the professional teacher part. I played to win. I was silly, but I wanted them to remember the lessons. I took risks. I used accents when I was trying to get them to remember some famous scientist from England. I went out of the door and then ran in and loudly proclaimed that “the potatoes have been kidnapped!” when we were doing a data collection lab, where they had to collect all the data they could on a potato and then identify it from their data in a line up of other potatoes.
Results of Going All In:
I wasn’t thinking about what they would think of me. I was thinking about ways to involve them and draw them into the material so that they remembered it better. Emotion tied to information creates long-term memories. (Thanks, Jim Kwik for teaching me that.) It’s hard to tie an emotion to information if the information is presented in a way that inspires napping instead of paying attention. The first week, they thought I was crazy. By the end of the year, they thought I was awesome and super cool!
I have yet to figure out how that works that the sillier I acted and the more risks I was willing to take, the “cooler” I became and the more they respected me. This principle holds true for adults too. Maybe it’s that we admire people that are willing to take a risk for something that they believe in. I’m not sure, to be honest, but I do know that when you go “all in” and you take risks, you get better results than if you simply play not to lose.
Self Confidence Tip #5: Speak With Conviction
This self-confidence tip goes hand in hand with the previous one of going all in. Remember that I said emotion tied to information creates a long-term memory? Don’t be afraid to let your feelings show if it’s something that you’re really passionate about. When you do that, you not only broadcast your information, you also broadcast the emotion. People pick up on that, and whether they agree with you or not, they can sense your sincerity.
Even if you are not speaking in front of a group, but just want to gain some self-confidence around people in general, pay attention to how you phrase things. Our words, as well as our posture, convey self-confidence.
To convey confidence, avoid phrases such as:
- Ummm…. Uhh… Like…
- I hate to tell you this, but…
- I just….
- Is that ok?
- I’m sorry, but…
- It’s not my fault…
- I’m available at your convenience.
- It’s not my fault
- This might be stupid, but…
- Am I making sense?
All of the above phrases convey submissiveness. That’s not what you are going for if you want to be perceived as self-confident. While you don’t want to convey an “I’m better than you” attitude either, a self-confident attitude conveys equal terms. Thus, your phrasing should convey that you value yourself and your ideas as well as others. Additionally, another self confidence tip when speaking is to speak slowly. Speaking very quickly conveys nervousness and that you are unsure about your topic. Try to strike a balance between talking too quickly and too slowly. Aim for a pace that conveys “I know what I’m talking about”
Self Confidence Tip #6 Be Gracious
While we do want to convey confidence with the pace of our speech, we also need to remember to be gracious. No one likes a know-it-all. If you come across as too cocky, and bragging, people will likely tune you out. One characteristic of a self-confident person is that they shine the spotlight on others. Praise is nice, but remember to save some for the people that helped you out as well. Speaking of help, another characteristic of a self-confident person is that they are not afraid to ask for help. No one person can do everything and know everything. Remember, you can do anything, but not everything. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Don’t put other people down. A self-confident person has no need to step on other people to build themselves up.
Self Confidence Tip #7: Seek the Truth
Above all, when seeking to find confidence in yourself, seek the truth. One of the secrets to improving self-confidence is that you should be solution oriented. Unsurprisingly, another characteristic of those that have built their self-confidence is that they are not afraid to own their mistakes. Mistakes happen as part of the learning process. A self-confident person is not one that is never wrong, but one that has no problem owning their mistakes in their search for the truth. They may believe in their solution, and they should, but that does not mean that they are closed minded to other points of view. True confidence leaves footprints of sincerity and honesty.
While bragging and pompousness are easy to spot, true confidence is a bit harder. True confidence is quiet trust in your own abilities, and judgments. If you are trying to build your confidence, you are aiming to leave footprints of both sincerity and honesty that go forth without fear. There are several tips that you can put into action to improve your confidence. First, look the part. Go in knowing that you have prepared. Visualize your success. Then, go into whatever situation with an “all in” attitude and speak with conviction. Tell yourself “I got this.” and then take that leap of faith.
Remember to be gracious. Share your spotlight with the ones that have helped you. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Seek the truth. Being confident does not mean that you do not consider other solutions or points of view. Part of being self-confident means that you are willing to listen to other people in order to understand them. Now go forth, and own whatever you are trying to do! You can do it. I believe in you!