Self-awareness is a blessing and a curse, especially when you want to share your gift, message and work with the world. It can take a lot to build up the self-confidence habits we need to show up every day. Conversely, it takes very little to make us doubt ourselves.
The crisis of confidence can be incredibly debilitating, so implementing self-confidence habits to increase our confidence is essential for us all. It starts to spread and erodes the foundation of our self-esteem in our wider work and lives, but don’t worry. There are ways to overcome it.
To do this, you need to work on two types of beliefs: you can achieve anything without evidence or prior knowledge, and you can achieve based on previous evidence.
We asked some entrepreneurs how they build both their self-confidence and confidence daily.
Break it down into small steps
Entrepreneurs are ambitious, and this is a good thing. But often, they try and ‘eat the elephant‘ by taking on too much, which causes overwhelm.
Self-discovery coach Honey Lansdowne suggests you take something you want to achieve in your business, but confidence is blocking you and break it into ‘small steps’ that you can take towards your end goal.
Taking public speaking as an example, she shares some simple steps that can help:
- Write your speech down
- Practice your speech by yourself
- Practice your speech in front of one or two people
- Video yourself delivering your speech
- Deliver your speech live to a small group
- Deliver your speech to a large group
“With each small step, you are overcoming mental hurdles and growing your confidence,” Honey adds.
Get out of your head
Sometimes, the best thing you can do, ironically, is getting out of your head.
“I’m a former personal trainer, so I’m probably a bit biased here. But nothing helps with confidence more than exercising”, shares Ravi Davda, CEO of Rockstar Marketing, a digital marketing agency. “Aim for 20 to 30 minutes a day. I do mine in the middle of the day when I’m feeling tired, and the afternoon is always much more productive.”
The trick, Ravi mentions, is to find what you enjoy doing and what you don’t. There’s no point in doing heavy weights sessions if this isn’t for you. For some, it’s yoga. For others, it’s running.
Try everything until you find what works and what doesn’t. Because everyone feels much better after exercising
Celebrate what is good around you
So the first element of developing confidence is to fight back against that negative voice in our head. We’ve all heard it ‘You’re not good enough, ‘Don’t risk it – you’ll look stupid if you fail.’
We must regain some balance. Imagine being in trouble and entering a courtroom without a defence lawyer providing sound, rational facts to defend our case, so why only listen to the prosecution in our head and accept their side of the story without a fight?
When you start to doubt negative thinking, you’ll pull out of a tailspin in seconds. Controlling the voice in your mind is critical. As your brain considers the downside, we need evidence to showcase the upside. Carole Ann Rice – the leading Life Coach from the Real Coaching Co, recommends creating a Big me Up book and writing on it for self-confidence habits.
“In this notebook, you record all of your best attributes, keep compliments people have given you, list every one of your achievements and things you are proud of, outline your talents”, explains Carole.
Examples could be “makes a great pasta dish, can run 5k’s effortlessly, looks good in red, always smells nice. “This is black and white actual evidence of your brilliance. Read it, believe it, add to it and own it.”
You can even write a love letter to yourself.
Prepare for anything
Executive Coach Terez Rijkenberg remind us that one of the best ways to do this is to prepare for the worst possible outcome of what you’re about to do.
“Let’s say you’re making cold calls to sell your services. The worst possible thing that can happen is someone says “no”, and you feel a little embarrassed. So what? What could you do if that happens? How could this “no” be helping you towards your goal?”
When we prepare ourselves in advance for the worst possible outcome, we can prepare ourselves for the emotions that may come up too.
“Shame, embarrassment and disappointment are some of the most common emotions we could experience,” continues Terez.
“If you think about those carefully, they are just emotions that we feel in the body. Like a little tightness in the chest. Can you handle a tightness in the chest? If you assess the worst possible outcome before taking action, you’ll realise that no matter what happens, you can handle it and can find ways to keep moving towards what you ultimately want.”
Challenge your self-talk
Our self-talk is the thoughts that come into our minds. They are protective, but they don’t always serve our wants and desires.
We can believe these and let them hold us back or challenge them. Anna Lundberg from One Step Outside suggests reframing your negative thoughts to help with that.
It doesn’t matter how good your strategies are or how much you commit to taking action.
If the beliefs you hold about what’s possible, the stories you’re telling yourself, are not congruent with your goals, you’ll never get to where you want to be
Catch the moments when you find yourself articulating one of those negative thoughts. Constructively reframe them and build powerful self-confidence habits.
Below are some ideas from Anna you can implement for yourself
- “I can’t do it, I don’t know how” becomes “I don’t know how to do it yet, but I will find out.”
- “That other person is so much more successful than me, it’s not fair” becomes, “It’s so inspiring to see other people succeed. It means this is possible for me too.”
- “This is a complete failure. I should just give up” becomes, “This didn’t quite go as I hoped, but I will learn from this and get better results next time.”
Create strong self-confidence
Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, you may feel like you’re not good enough. You may hold back, not speak up, and doubt your abilities. The spotlight shines on it in business.
Every time you push yourself out of your comfort zone, you may struggle with taking action. It’s our fight or flight amplifying the risks and consequences of failure to prevent us from going too close to the edge.
But the irony is that these are the moments we get our most incredible pride from by achieving something we thought was impossible. We need to feel the fear and move forward with courage. Build simple self-confidence habits to get the support you need.
Noe that you have the confidence you need, it’s time to set some powerful goals for yourself.