The real key to self-confidence is about believing in yourself and trusting your own views and opinions. At times, this can be difficult, especially if you have a tendency to listen to others and benchmark yourself against what they think of you. This can leave you very vulnerable and the ability to establish your own inner benchmark to success is essential.
Every human being has the ability to take control and make positive changes. Other people may try to stop you, but only if you allow them to. When you look in the mirror, be proud of the person you see, knowing that you do the best you can.
The most important relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. Would you choose to be your best friend? If you don’t like yourself or believe in yourself then how do you expect anyone else to? You need to like and enjoy the person you are. Embrace your strengths and accept your imperfections – everyone has some. It would be very dull being perfect. Being a person in progress will give you something to work on, something to aspire to.
Working on your own self-confidence is a very good investment of time and energy. There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence, and it is important to be honest with yourself as well as seeking feedback from others to gain a balanced perspective. It is also important, however, that you don’t rely on others to big you up and make you feel better. It is important that you learn how to recognise and appreciate yourself when you have done something well. If you rely on others all the time or become so preoccupied with other people’s opinions of you, it can create insecurity and paranoia. It is about establishing a balanced viewpoint.
Imagine having no one to compare yourself with except yourself. What a sense of relief this would bring. We wouldn’t have to worry about not looking like the alpha male or being the female with the smartest mind, the most important job role and the biggest pay packet. We wouldn’t have to worry about our bodies not being the youngest, most beautiful and most sexy.
All you would have to think is: did I do this activity better than I did it last week? Have I moved forward in my own definition of success? Am I doing my best for my health? Do I have an attractive mind and healthy relationships with other people?
Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.’
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Self-Confidence – Steps to Success
Be your own best friend
Take personal responsibility
Be self-aware and understand yourself
Be the best that you can be
Use positive language
Challenge your beliefs
Finding somewhere in the middle
The most powerful place on the continuum is somewhere in the middle: having faith in your own perception and judgement but still being open and receptive to others’ feedback.
Benchmark your success against your own performance rather than someone else’s. Ask yourself:
- Did I do this better than I did it last time?
- Have I moved forward in my own definition of success?
- Am I feeling content?
- Am I doing my best for my health?
- Do I have an attractive mind?
- Do I have healthy interactions with other people?
To fully understand your own personal success, you will need to determine your own value. Take a good deep look into the essence of your being and see what it is that makes you who you are. Ask yourself:
- What qualities make me feel good about myself?
- What can I offer to the world around me?
- What is my personal gauge of success?
- What is my own definition of happiness?
Then consider how you measure up against these scales of success. Ask yourself:
- How far am I making myself feel good about myself?
- Am I offering enough to the world around me by my own standards?
- How successful am I according to my own gauge of success?
- Am I happy by my own definition?
If there are areas where you think you could be more successful, make an action plan for improvement. But remember, you are only human and can only strive to be the best you can be.
- Write down three things that you believe are your greatest strengths. Then write down what you perceive to be your three biggest weaknesses. Provide evidence to back this up.
- Ask three people – a friend, a family member and a work colleague – to tell you what they think your three biggest strengths and weaknesses are. Ask for examples to back this up.
- Write down five words you would like to hear if someone else were describing you. List the reasons why.
- Make an action plan of what you are going to do each day to become the five things that you most aspire to.
In order to build self-confidence, it is essential that you believe in yourself, recognise your own value and trust your own opinions. What you think of you is the most important opinion. Accept that your definition of success might look completely different to someone else’s. Consider the questions below to determine your value and to benchmark your own success.
Imagine having no one to compare yourself with except you. What a relief that would be; you wouldn’t have to worry about performing as well as your colleagues, or being the best, the most attractive, intelligent, fittest, most popular, wealthiest or most important.
In neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), broad distinctions are made between predominantly internally referenced people who are generally better at using their own referencing to measure their success and those who are more externally referenced, who look for reassurance and confirmation of their abilities from others. Externally referenced people are more likely to make comparisons with other people for self-affirmation, but everyone has some kind of referencing system to people outside of themselves.
The perceptions we have and comparisons we make will be based on what we see and hear. However, we see and hear only a small range of other people’s behaviour, so we are making assessments based on a small chunk of information that is internally processed through a system coloured by our own perceptions of self, role, status and personality type. It is no wonder that many people find success a difficult concept to grasp and find it easier to use other people’s measures of success than find their own.
Change: Ten Tips
Self-confidence is crucial if you are to achieve your goals and reach your full potential – not just at work, but in all areas of life. If you don’t believe in yourself, or trust and value your own opinions, no one else will! Use these tips to boost your self-confidence: