When we discuss ways of improving self-confidence, we also need to talk about improving self-esteem and self-efficacy, as they are all related concepts. We’ll start this chapter by looking at some tools you can put into practice whenever you need a quick confidence boost. Next we’ll look at how to build lasting self-confidence through building self-esteem and self-efficacy. By enhancing these attributes, your self-confidence will naturally develop and will show itself in your actions and behaviors. You will no longer have to ‘fake it until you make it’ – instead you will actually be more self-confident at work and in other areas of your life.
10 TIPS TO IMPROVE SELF-CONFIDENCE INSTANTLY
here are times when we need to feel more confident to face a situation at work. Maybe you are going to give a major presentation or you want to ask your boss for a raise. You don’t necessarily feel as self-confident as you’d like, but you can follow these tips to give you that extra boost of self-confidence you need.
When you need to feel more confident, pay attention to how you are dressed. When you feel that you look your best, you are more likely to carry yourself with more confidence. You will find it easier to interact with others and you won’t be distracted by worrying about how you look. You don’t have to spend a great deal of money on a new wardrobe, but you can make a few small changes that can help you to appear ‘sharper.’ Get a modern haircut, make sure your clothes it you properly and in a lettering manner, invest in a few great accessories, and make sure you are pressed and polished.
Next time you’re at work, take a moment to watch people and how they are walking. What does their walk communicate about them? Are they walking slowly, trudging along, with their head down? Or do they walk quickly, head up, with a pleasant smile on their face? You can feel more confident by walking with purpose wherever you go. You’re on a mission, with places to go and people to see! Walk about 25% faster than you normally would, with your head up and your energy lowing. You will start to feel more important and more confident.
Just like with the discussion on walking above, the way you carry your body tells others a lot about how you feel about yourself. Are you slouching, slumping your shoulders, and looking pretty lethargic? Then you’re communicating to others that you don’t have a lot of self-confidence. Instead, practice good posture. Sit or stand upright with your head up and your shoulders back. Make eye contact with others in a friendly manner. You’ll feel more alert, more confident, and more powerful.
Let’s say you’re having a really bad day. You made a mistake on that big presentation, your boss is not happy, and you feel like crawling under a rock until the weekend makes it around. What you need is a way to boost your self-confidence so you can take responsibility for the mistake and get in action around cleaning up any mess. This is where you could really use someone to boost you up with a motivational speech. But since you can’t rely on another person to say what you need to hear, you can do it for yourself.
You should have a personal advertisement or commercial that you write about yourself. This is a short speech, less than a minute, which highlights everything that is great about you. You are writing an advertisement about yourself – so focus on your strengths, why you’re good at your job, and what you like about yourself. Whenever you have a moment where your self-confidence wanes, you can pull out your personal advertisement and read it to yourself – out loud in a mirror ideally, but you can always read it silently to yourself at your desk. This will help you remember that although you have made a mistake, you are still a great, valuable person with a lot to be proud of.
Probably the fastest way to feel bad about yourself is to focus on what you don’t have, what you haven’t achieved, or to compare yourself to others that you feel have achieved more than you have. If you focus on what you haven’t achieved yet, you are bound to start listing your weaknesses as reasons for why you haven’t yet achieved those goals.
Instead, practice focusing on gratitude. Every day, write down a list of at least five things that you are proud of accomplishing, or things that you can be grateful for in your life. This could include relationships with people you love, your health, your educational achievements, your professional achievements, and any other positive aspects of your life. You could even keep a list with you in case you ever face a moment where it’s really difficult to focus on the positive. If you train yourself to focus on what you have to be grateful for, you will be amazed at how much more confident – and happier in general – you will feel.
There is one surefire way to surround ourselves in negativity – that’s to gossip about others. When we feel bad about ourselves, we often look for ways to project those feelings onto others by gossiping and insulting them behind their back. Instead, try disengaging from the gossip circle. Everyone has something valuable about them, so focus on that instead. Refuse to gossip about others, but instead, pay them compliments. The more you practice paying sincere compliments to others instead of focusing on their negative attributes you’ll be more likely to focus on your own positive attributes as well. By looking for the best in other people, you will bring out the best in yourself.
Avoiding the front row is a very common thing. Perhaps it comes from school when we didn’t want to be singled out by the teacher – particularly on a day we hadn’t completed an assignment. So we sat towards the back, hoping not to be noticed. But at work, sitting towards the back shows either disinterest or a lack of self-confidence. Instead, sit up at the front of the room. You will feel more confident doing this over time as you learn that there is nothing to be uncomfortable about. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to put yourself in the eyesight of some important people in your organization.
Many people are nervous about speaking up in group discussions. They may be afraid that others will judge them for what they say and they are concerned about looking bad or feeling stupid. However, we are usually amplifying this fear in our own minds – most of the time, people are much more accepting that we think they are. Particularly because most of the other people are likely dealing with the same fear.
Make it a game with yourself. Decide that you will speak up at least one time in every group discussion that you’re in. You’ll find that it gets easier in time. You’ll be improving your public speaking skills and will feel more and more confident in sharing your opinions and ideas in front of other people. In fact, in time, you may even begin to be seen as a leader by your peers and supervisors if you continue sharing and contributing to group discussions.
Feeling low about yourself? Take a hike. Or a walk, or a bike ride, or go work out in the gym. Not only is exercise a great way to blow of stress, but setting and achieving physical fitness goals is an excellent way to feel better about your abilities. You’ll feel proud as you reach each milestone you set for yourself. Plus, you will feel more energized and probably more attractive as well – both of which can help improve your self-confidence.
In a similar vein to thinking about what you have to be grateful for, another way to keep from focusing on the negative in the world (and about yourself) is to focus on the contributions that you can make to the workplace and to others. When you shift your focus to what you give instead of what you get or how you are perceived, you will stop worrying so much about yourself. Plus, if you can help others or contribute in some positive way, it will simply make you feel good. For all of these reasons, focusing on what you contribute will help to boost your self-confidence.