When I work with new business owners, I see the number one issue holding them back is confidence.
This is very natural, especially since most of the women I work with have never run a business before and many haven't been engaged in paid work for several years.
If you feel that you are in a similar position, the good news is that you are in control of your confidence levels and you can decide to take action to build them.
I've watched the women I work with grow in confidence along with their skills, knowledge and results. Here are 21 ways that you too can get your confidence back!
I suggest you read all of these and then reorder the list according to which items you feel most comfortable working on first in order to build you own personalised confidence building plan.
Don't forget to share your results, ideas and feedback in the comments below! I'd love to know what methods you are finding most useful and I'm sure others will benefit from your additional suggestions!
1. Never Compare Yourself to Others
I'm not sure where we learn this from, or perhaps it's an inherent human trait, but I've yet to come across an insecure person who doesn't compare themselves to everyone around them. But this is a massive destroyer of confidence.
As Megan Trainor says: "They can't do me like I can!" and that's very true. Everyone has had a very different journey to get to where they are, so no matter how hard you try, you can never be just like someone else - and why would you want to be?
Instead of comparing yourself, allow yourself to be inspired by the successes of others. Use your new inspiration to find new ways you can grow and enjoy the journey of transforming into a person you're proud to be; a person that can motivate and inspire others.
2. Use the Power of Positive Thinking
There is no denying the power of positive thinking. There are countless books written on the subject, including the classics 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill and 'The Strangest Secret' by Earl Nightingale's - both of which I can highly recommend reading, they are nice and short, but will have a lasting impact.
Almost every successful person who has ever walked this planet has left behind a power quote to encourage us to engage in positive thinking, like this one from Henry Ford:
Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right! - Henry Ford.
If you want to achieve something, you have to think positively and start believing that you can do it - then you will increase your chances of achieving it a thousand fold!
It can take courage to turn negative thinking and self-talk around, but take a deep breath and put all doubts your aside because, to put it simply, you are what you think!
3. Accept Your Mistakes
Mistakes are normal - everyone makes them. Everyone!
The main difference between successful and unsuccessful people is how long they dwell on their mistakes. As the author of the bestselling 'Girl Code' reminds us:
No one serves champagne at a Pity Party! - Cara Alwill Leyba
The next time you make a mistake instead of beating yourself up about it, say "Fascinating!". Then break down what happened, figure out what it has taught you, and then put it behind you move on.
You can read more about this in: You are not your mistakes and Why you need to love every failure.
4. Don't Let Anyone Else Define You
There will be a lot of people who will not get you or your purpose. Others might try and pull you down to their level or squeeze you into a neat little pigeon hole. That's OK.
If their mind isn't wide or open enough to accommodate you yet, it's their problem not yours. Don't waste time and energy trying to change their opinions, just continue on your journey. They'll catch up if and when they are ready.
Sometimes these people can be our friends, and that can be hard to deal with. But learning that there are different circles of friendship has helped me a lot.
In your life, you have those who understand your purpose and are ready and willing to support you - these people are in your inner circle and while we might expect these to be people we have an existing close relationship with, it's not always the case.
Then you have the next circle friends who are fun to hang out with, but don't necessarily get what you do, these are often your friends you've known for a long time. It's OK if they don't understand what you are trying to achieve in life, they play a different role in your life and will be important to help you maintain perspective, take time out and relax.
Once I understood this difference, I felt a lot happier and was able to embrace each of my friendships and connections for what it was.
5. Set Clear Personal Goals
Have you ever jumped in your car and just driven off into the sunset?
Chances are, if you did, you didn't get very far. It's hard to keep going when you don't know where you are heading and you'll soon feel very lost and helpless. The same is true in life.
Take some time out to decide what you want from life, what makes you happy and where you'd like to be in 5 years time.
Once you have some direction in your life, you'll feel a lot happier and more confident as you take more purposeful action every day.
Be sure to set big exciting goals for yourself, but back these up with lots of smaller goals that will lead you to your destination step by step. This will help you build confidence, grow into the person you need to become to achieve your bigger goals and keep you motivated as you see things start to happen.
Remember to celebrate every goal you achieve, no matter how small!
6. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude focuses us on all the good things in our lives right now and keeps us from the temptation of moaning about all the things we don't have.
It's impossible to predict the future or know in advance if we will succeed, but taking time out to appreciate our current position can build our sense of security and confidence, giving us a solid foundation on which to start building our future success.
As a bonus, when we become grateful for all that is good in our lives, we not only become happier but we also start to attract more of these things in to our lives. It's a win-win situation, and it just takes a minute to do.
7. Do Something You Love
Find something that you love doing and incorporate it into your regular schedule. It will give you a regular dose of happiness and happiness leads to confidence!
8. Do Something That Scares You
This is possibly the fastest way to build your confidence.
If there is something you've always wanted to do, but never dared, then set a plan in place today to do it. You may need to schedule it sometime in the future to enable you to gain the skills and knowledge you need to achieve it (since feeling we lack skills is usually a key reason we feel afraid to do something) then take (another!) deep breath and go for it!
Pushing outside your comfort zone expands your zone of possibility and before you know it you'll be confidently achieving all sorts of things you previously could never imagine yourself doing.
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
9. Spend Time With Yourself
To be truly confident, you need to start accepting yourself as you are and fall in love with you.
Regularly schedule some alone time to explore who you are and remind yourself of all the ways you rock!
Try to incorporate self-love into your 'alone time' to emphasise your own self-worth: exercise, mindful healthy eating, self-development reading, relaxation or massage are all great examples as they will all contribute to you becoming the best version of yourself.
10. Use Affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements that you say to yourself on a regular basis to help them become part of your internal belief system. This, coupled with the fact that they are so quick and easy to do, make them a great tool for building your self-confidence.
You can Google 'confidence affirmations' to find lots of great examples or even create your own. Here are some to help you get started:
- I am energetic and enthusiastic. Confidence is my second nature.
- I love challenges. They bring out the best in me.
- I am worthy of all the good things that happen in my life.
- Mistakes are a stepping stone to success. They lead me towards my dreams.
- Every day in every way I'm getting better and stronger.
Affirmations can feel a bit weird at first, but hang in there, you'll soon get used to it and they really do have an impact.
11. Journal Your Success
Keep a note of your journey to success.
Find a beautiful notebook or sketch pad and every day note down something you've done that you are proud of, something you've learned or a goal you've ticked off.
This will help focus your thoughts on the positive aspects of your day, remind you that you are indeed growing better every day and will be a great tool to use to remind yourself of how amazing you are should you ever have a confidence crisis in the future.
12. Join a Toastmasters Group
I'm a big fan of Toastmasters as it has helped me enormously with my own confidence.
It's a peer-lead public speaking club where you can learn to improve your communication and leadership skills in a safe, supportive and fun environment.
When I joined Toastmasters I was so shy that I hid at the back of the room for five months without ever saying a word. Despite that, I learned so much in that time that I started speaking up more in meetings - and being listened to! - I was invited to be part of the company's leadership development program, the CEO selected me as his next mentee and I got promoted!!!
Once I started speaking at the club, my confidence grew rapidly and now I love tracking down opportunities to speak in front of an audience - I am still terrified, but I'm confident that I can do it and survive ; )
I strongly encourage you to track down your local club via the Toastmasters International Website and go and check it out for yourself.
13. Become a Life-Long Learner
There's no better way to gain self-belief and grow in confidence than investing in your own personal development.
If you feel knowledgeable and prepared for the scenarios you face on a regular basis, then having confidence that you have the ability to succeed in that given situations will follow naturally.
Note down the situations when you feel least confident, and then set about improving your knowledge and skills in these areas. Seek out inspiring people, podcasts and books in your field - there are literally thousands out there!
If you don't know where to start, subscribe to this blog and check out these 6 inspiring books to read.
14. Support Other People
Pay other people compliments, Smile, seek to have a positive impact on everyone you come in contact with - this could be as simple as giving them a smile or paying them a compliment.
When you bring more meaning and happiness into the lives of others, you automatically do the same for your own life. You also contribute to a better society, that act of contrition will bring you greater fulfilment and confidence.
The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being. - Lee lacocca
15. Strike a Power Pose
If you are feeling timid or lacking in confidence, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy discovered that by tweaking your body language and using power poses, you can not only make other people think you are more confident, you can encourage your body to change it's chemical balance to make you feel more powerful too.
Try holding this power pose for two minutes and see how you feel afterwards - stand with your legs wide apart, feet firmly on the floor, your back straight and tall, head high and either put your hands on your hips or raise them above your head in a V shape.
16. Write Your Own Pep Talk
When you have a wobble or moment of self-doubt, it's great if you can turn to someone you trust to build you up and put you back on track. But, our supporters aren't always around when we need them, so this is a great alternative for these situations.
Sit down and write a short speech, pep talk or advert highlighting all the ways you are brilliant. Don't hold back here, it's time to 'big you up' and make you shine! You can be quirky and use humour, but make sure your pep talk is 110% positive and engaging.
Then, in those moments when you feel your confidence dip, you can turn to your own pep talk to bring you back up again.
17. Dress Up
I think we all feel better and more confidence when we look our best. If you feel you've lost some of your confidence, get up, dress up, and get out there!
Sometimes just taking a moment more to do your make up, putting on some heels, get a haircut or invest in a new accessory is all it takes to lift our mood and give us a shot of self-esteem.
If you need some inspiration on what to wear, I've created a Work Style Pinterest Board with lots of ideas for you.
18. Leave the Gossip Circle
When we gossip it can feel like we are engaging with others in a fun and friendly way - but most gossip is highly negative and will do nothing for your mood.
Often when we are negative about other people, we start to become negative about ourselves too or start comparing ourselves to others which we've already discussed is bad for your confidence.
Instead of gossiping about someone, turn that negativity into a positive by putting point 17 into practice and start thinking of all the reasons why you are grateful for having them in your life. You'll soon see the situation change and your relationship with that person turn around!
19. Sit Next to the Chairperson
This is a little trick I learned many years ago in a great book called 'Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office' - and it works!
The idea is that in meetings, you sit right next to the person running the meeting - this way, some of their authority is automatically cast onto you too so you feel more powerful and others respond to you more which amplifies the effect.
If you are running a home business, then you might not have this kind of situation - but you can still look for opportunities to get close to the most influential person in a room.
20. Find and Follow Your Passions
One way you can make your kids bully-proof is to ensure they follow a few passions and have more than one area of life where they have good friends and achieve success. You can do the same!
While you may no longer have to worry about the bullies, this tactic can help you feel more confident and avoid any negative self-talk as you can prove to yourself that you have several zones of success.
21. Do 6 Impossible things Before Breakfast!
This is one of my favourite quotes from Alice Through the Looking Glass as it exudes positive thinking.
As you plan your day, make sure you schedule all the things you fear most early in the day - this will give you a massive confidence boost of the 'If I can do that, I can do anything!' variety.
If you find yourself holding back from doing one of these tasks - try this 5 second rule from Mel Robbins.
N.B. Confidence is dynamic
It's important to know that confidence is dynamic. Once you have confidence, it's not yours for life - you have to continually work at it.
There will be times when you wobble, when you face a new situation and feel unsure about yourself, that's OK. Just don't let it stop you!
Turn to your success book to remind you that you've done it before and can do it again; reread this post to remind yourself of some of the tools you have available to you; then take a deep breath, count down from 5 and go for it!
Have You Grown Your Confidence Recently?
While I've listed 21 ways to boost your confidence here, there are many other ways you can grow - what you have done recently?
I'd love to know what's working for you and I'm sure other readers would too! Let me know in the Comment section below.
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