Not many people know this about me, but I was once very underconfident. I used to struggle with my confidence to the point that I would avoid social events and stay at home rather than go out with friends. It manifested itself in the form of panic attacks and anxiety, and it was a very troubling time in my life. I think it stemmed from the fact that I used to have a slight stammer, and this made me underconfident with speaking – and then from that, I just used to worry about how I came across. Once I finished high school, I decided that something had to change, and I took the steps to start altering my life for the better. I tried various things (including socializing groups and practicing krav maga in Melbourne) with varying degrees of success, and after undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts, I want to share my tricks and tips for building confidence in the hopes that it can help you too.
1. Work with what you’ve got and tap into your natural confidence
When you’re born, you have a fresh slate of sorts, and then as we get older, we pick up insecurities and worries. You were born happily unaware of any kind of external judgment but we all naturally develop ‘issues’ and concerns as we age. While you shouldn’t ignore the opinions of other people altogether, it can be helpful to remember your confidence as a good thing, and use it.
2. Know what you are great at (and not so great at)
A great start to building more confidence is to figure out what you’re great at (and what you’re bad at) and then leverage these things. You might make a list of some things you do well, and some things you’d like to improve on and then use the things you do well and make an effort to work on the things you’d like to improve on.
3. Expect success
When you succeed at something you usually receive a confidence boost, and if you’re walking around assuming you’re going to fail, there’s every chance you will. So expect success, because a negative attitude can undermine your success, and enjoy the confidence boost you get from success.
4. Trust yourself
Nobody knows everything, but only you know what you’re capable of. Believe in yourself and you’ll find that success is more likely to happen for you, which will lead to increased confidence.
5. Put yourself out there
If you never never go, you’ll never never know. It’s true in the sense that if you sit at home thinking ‘Oh, I couldn’t possibly succeed at that,’ then there’s every chance you won’t have a shot (because you’re at home). If you get out there and try something new, you’ll find out what you’re capable of!
6. Develop discipline
If you want to learn a new skill, language, or trait, you need to have adherence to a particular routine of practice. Without discipline, you’ll find it very difficult to improve.
7. Embrace the unknown
The confidence that can be gained from travelling, moving interstate or exploring a new club or sport alone can be huge. If you step outside of your comfort zone, you’ll find that you grow and learn a lot about yourself.
8. Take risks
As above, you need to take some calculated risks every now and then to grow and learn. This will be hugely rewarding for your confidence.
9. Learn to receive praise
If you aren’t celebrating the wins, you need to start now. A huge boon for your confidence is when you take the time to reflect on what you’ve done, and when you let others tell you what a great job you’ve done. Learning to accept praise graciously is a great thing for your confidence.
10. Practice confidence
Practice makes perfect and in this case, your confidence has a lot to gain from you acting and behaving confidently. Shoulders back, head up – and smile.