I often have clients express one of the goals for our work together to be an improvement in their self-confidence. That goal can be complex however, a good place to begin is an exploration of how connected the person is to their authentic self.
Understanding the ways in which self-confidence is built and maintained and how readily it can be undermined by experiences and relationships is another criterion. What we do and who we choose to be with, typically has a significant impact on our self-confidence.
Two things contribute directly to the development of self-confidence: 1. self-efficacy and 2. self-esteem. We gain self-efficacy by practicing and acquiring skills and competencies. As they are acquired, we receive feedback from others about our ability to perform. This evaluative feedback and our response to it, contributes to the internal belief system we create about ourselves.
Self-esteem is the value we place on who we believe we are. Our self-esteem is influenced by our acquired sense of self-efficacy and is continuously shaped by our lived experiences from early childhood, onward through our life journey.
Consider these few tips for building and maintaining your SELF-CONFIDENCE:
1. Contemplate Your Purpose, Philosophy and Principles. These three concepts provide a strong foundation for building and maintaining confidence. Take some time to reflect on your purpose. Ask yourself “What brings meaning to my life?” “What is most significant to me”? Consider the personal philosophy you hold about life; e.g. what ideals guide your most important choices? And finally, what principles provide you with stable guidelines for your daily behaviour? Write it all down: Purpose, Philosophy and Principles and periodically review it as a reminder of your goodness. You will be pleasantly surprised by the power of setting this kind of intention for living authentically.
2. Seek New Challenges. Learn New Skills. When was the last time you challenged yourself to learn something new? What project could you undertake to push you a bit and build a competency or two? It doesn't have to be big; it just needs to stretch you. For example, being an effective communicator is a proven method for building and maintaining self-confidence. Consider whether you need to practice being assertive, learn public speaking skills or take a course on how to effectively resolve conflict.
3. Stifle Your Inner Critic. A critical inner voice exists to varying degrees in every person, often undermining the ability to interpret events realistically, which in turn undermines self-confidence. While we may have some awareness of our inner critic, many of our negative thoughts exist at an unconscious level. It is important to begin by paying attention to that nasty little voice in your head. What exactly is the gremlin saying to you? Write it down. Then trash that inner voice, countering it with what you know to be true. Do some research with friends and loved ones whose opinion you respect. Ask them how they perceive you. What do they see as your strengths? Arm yourself with those truths to counter the inner critic.
4. Examine Your Brand. Your personal brand is how others perceive being in relationship with you. What is your style? What standards do you adhere to? What is the impact of your energy on those around you? Are you engaging exciting, funny, intelligent? Are you shy with a wonderful dry sense of humour? Someone who never ceases to surprise others with her wit. Never underestimate the power of your brand for building and maintaining confidence. Be intentional about yours.
We undermine our self-confidence when we do not engage in personal growth and development. When we do not set clear intentions for ourselves, and when we allow worrying what others think to influence our choices.
We enhance our self-confidence by being purposeful, holding fast to our philosophy and principles and living each day as authentically as possible.
May your feelings of confidence be abundant,