You may believe that we would have confidence fully sorted by this point in our lives and careers, but lacking confidence is actually pretty common. And it can understandably make a huge difference to those experiencing it.
I consider why confidence is both a relevant and important topic, before focusing on 10 practical ways for us to boost our own levels.
Why is it a relevant topic?
“A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”
Oxford English Dictionary
Confidence, like many other things in life, is not a given. Looking at young children, some seem to have it in bucket-loads and others just don’t. Our personal levels can waiver throughout our lives (or even days) and can also fluctuate depending on our emotional state on the given context. I might be very confident coaching, for example, but would have none when making a fancy birthday cake.
Ironically, many of us seem to lose confidence as we get older and more experienced. As if we haven’t got enough other things to worry about! For example, NextShark reports how Women’s confidence declines with experience: 27% of new female staff are confident they can reach top v 13% in experienced female staff
Our confidence can also be affected by comparisons. This could be vis a vis to others or whether we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves or standards to attain and we struggle to live up to these.
Confidence levels can be fragile and affected at any time. From a work perspective, we may feel less confident when returning to work after a career-break, following redundancy, following a poor performance review, restructuring, obsolescence of roles, unsuccessful job applications or promotion attempts etc.
Why is it important?
How confident we feel is very important as it can ultimately affect how successful we are.
Our confidence can have a direct correlation with our performance – initially with regards to a particular context, but potentially extending to others. This is true whether we are increasing or losing confidence.
It can affect the risks we take and ultimately the variety and richness of our lives.
Many of us are not achieving our full potential because of low confidence. It could stop us from performing at our best. Worse still, it may also dissuade us from even trying.
Lacking confidence may make us unhappy, especially if we’re not fulfilled and are seeing others around us achieve things. Furthermore, it could also affect our mental health and could ultimately make us ill.
How does confidence feel?
Being confident is not about arrogance or complacency. When we’re feeling confident, life feels brighter and easier. We feel motivated, engaged, smarter, achieving, fulfilled, content and even happier.
When we’re not confident we may feel overwhelmed, discouraged, frustrated, intimidated, disengaged and unimportant.
Can it be improved?
It absolutely can!
I found this quote on a postcard and it really resonated with me:
“Being confident is not about having no fear or doubt.
Quite the opposite.
It’s about being unsure, but going ahead anyway.
It’s about having the courage to embrace change, forge relationships, aim for new horizons and reach for the stars.
Confidence is about facing challenges head-on, embodying a positive mindset, accepting your vulnerabilities, learning from mistakes, picking yourself up and carrying on…
True confidence is about conquering the intangible fears we face on a daily basis.
And the best news?
Confidence can be learned!”
Things we can do to boost our confidence
- Acknowledge it’s normal to not feel confident at times and give yourself a break
- Main a positive mindset – “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,” Henry Ford.
- Keep a confidence diary – I have an extra line in my daily gratitude diary to reflect and record something I felt confident doing each day
- Planning & preparation can help you to feel better and deliver with greater ease, almost as if you’re going through it for the second time
- Step out of your comfort zone– we may feel confident operating inside our comfort zones, but by stepping out and performing within the stretch zone from time to time helps to increase our comfort zones
- Ditch perfectionism – perfectionism can seriously undermine us because nothing we do is ever quite good enough
- Focus on your strengths – there are so many things you do well. Use these super powers to help support you when doing things you’re less confident doing
- Mantras and positive affirmations
- Address your fears and limiting beliefs – they are not real, simply stories we tell ourselves
- Confidence coaching can help you to work through things faster than by yourself or address other things you can’t easily address on your own
Our confidence levels can affect how we feel, our energy, our performance and ultimately how successful we are in life. Ironically, as we get older and more experienced our confidence levels may take a dip. The great thing is there are some simple things that we can all do to boost our confidence, to improve and enrichen our lives for the better.
Thanks for reading. Check out other Blue Diamond articles to help you take control of your work and life.