Confidence, we all need it to get on in life and yet so many of us experience crises of confidence from time to time. Many inspiring leaders have experienced great difficulties. No one is immune to crises of confidence.
Did you know that Abraham Lincoln first ran for the Senate when he was 45? He was unsuccessful. Then he put himself forward for vice president and lost miserably. And another 2 years later, at 49, he gave his attempt at being elected senator another unsuccessful bid. What gave him the confidence to keep going? If we faced that type of adversity, many of us would give up. Of course, eventually, Lincoln became president of the United States and is credited with ending slavery. But what if he’d given up when his confidence was shaken?
When it comes to excelling as a leader, we must exhibit confidence to instil confidence in others. But how can you turn the tables when you’re amid a crisis of confidence?
Here are five great ways to grow in confidence daily.
Act the Part
Even though you may be experiencing a crisis of confidence, you don’t have to let it show. You can be like a graceful swan who is paddling hard under the surface, but no-one would ever know. Sometimes acting more confident than you are is enough to elicit others confidence in you and that is powerful. When people believe in you, it’s easier to believe in yourself.
Stand up tall, dress the part – see, doesn’t it feel good!! Meet people’s eyes when you talk to them and control the situation as much as you can. The simple act of standing tall can help you to feel more confident, which helps you become more confident. A lot of research has been completed re “Power Posing”, look it up but basically assuming a power pose before a big meeting or phone call, has been shown to have a positive physiological effect on the body. Give it go!
Competence Drives Confidence
Skills are the basis upon which we put ourselves forward to complete tasks. Whether it’s at work or in a social setting, our own belief about whether we can do a good job often rests on our skills base and experience.
If you consistently doubt your abilities in a particular area, take the initiative to secure some further training which can help you feel more secure.
If you have plenty of skills, perhaps it is experience that you lack. So, go out and find some ways to get more experience. The more you do something, the more competent you become, and, in turn, your confidence grows.
Learn Your Strengths & Weaknesses
No matter how hard we try we can’t all be good at everything. We have strengths that just come to us naturally and there are things we aren’t good at. Even Einstein had his weaknesses, he excelled at maths and science in school but failed the tests outside of his favourite subject area.
Developing the self-awareness to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie allows you to capitalise on your strengths and do something to limit the extent of your weaknesses. Some people choose to work on their weaknesses to improve them while others outsource that work to someone who is skilled in that area. There is no one size fits all approach.
Stretch Your Comfort Zone
Our comfort zone is there to protect us, but as we grow, we can forget to extend it. When we do, we end up playing small although we’re capable of so much more.
Stretching your comfort zone inch by inch allows you to gain confidence as you go. Doing something that feels a little uncomfortable and having it turn out well proves to you that there’s nothing to fear. As you repeat the action, you become used to it, your comfort zone widens, and your confidence increases. The more you do, the more you can do.
Build a Support Network
When other people give us a confidence boost, we tend to remember it. We can be dismissive of our achievements but when someone we trust says ‘I have confidence in you’ we put a lot of store in it. The more people you have to support you and cheer you on, the more secure you will feel in yourself. Knowing that this support network will be there when you need them allows you to take chances that might be too daunting without them. Close friends, family, your partner, business associates or a coach can all be part of your support network. Just let them know when you need a little help.
If you’re experiencing a crisis of confidence and would like to get some help to boost your confidence levels in a supportive atmosphere, working with a personal or life coach might be right for you. You can book a free 30 minute discovery session with me, Sinead from Coaching by SMK online or check out my range of programmes here.