The Secret to Increasing Your Self-confidence
Dear Success Seeker,
It was years ago but I will never forget that moment. I walked into the kitchen and my wife had the radio on and was listening to radio therapist Dr. Laura. On the line was a young woman who was crying and whimpering about how bad her life was with men and so on. Dr. Laura said to her, "Young lady, what you need is more confidence." The caller surprised me with her response. She said, "I know. But how do I get more confidence?"
Being a coach, I waited with great anticipation for Dr. Laura's response. Her simple answer? "If you want more confidence you must impress yourself."
It took me a moment to realize that Dr. Laura had hit the nail on the head. You see, most of us spend our time, effort and money trying to impress other people. We believe that other people's approval will validate us and make us feel better about ourselves. But the truth is that confidence and self-esteem are an inside job. It is what YOU think of you that matters. In fact impressing other people sometimes undermines your self-confidence, because deep down it can make you feel like a fraud.
Your confidence increases each time you discover that YOU can trust yourself. Each time you are genuinely impressed by something you do, your self-image receives a boost. If you impress yourself repeatedly, your self-image will become stronger and you will reap the rewards both internally and externally.
HOW TO AVOID THE PITFALLS
Here are some ways you may inadvertently be diminishing your self-confidence:
1) Comparing yourself to others
If you are like most people, you look to see how you compare to others and judge yourself accordingly. The problem is that you will always see yourself as better than some people but not as good as others.
2) Judging yourself by other people's opinions
The way to feel great about yourself is to be true to yourself. Grammy-winning music producer Quincy Jones had it right when he said, "Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your opinion of me."
3) Defining your self-worth by your performance
Many people, men in particular, have been programmed since childhood to base their self-worth on their ability, productivity and accomplishments. Impress yourself with who you are, not how much you do.
4) Focusing on failures rather than successes
You have undoubtedly had far more successes than failures. Instead of replaying what didn't work over and over, develop the habit of noticing your progress and successes. This simple shift in attention can literally change your life.
5) Being a perfectionist
Perfectionists have unrealistic expectations. Nothing is ever good enough and, while they criticize others, they beat themselves up mercilessly. As a result, they have no chance of winning.
HOW TO BUILD CONFIDENCE
Once you are free from the above traps you are in a better position to impress yourself. Here are some tips and practices that will help:
1) Take action
Taking action will almost always cause you to impress yourself. Procrastinating will usually cause you to be self-critical.
2) Be decisive
Practice making decisions quickly rather than putting them off. Act boldly; take the initiative when opportunities arise.
3) Set goals that are specific rather than general
Most people set their goals based on the results they want to achieve. It is far easier to succeed if you state your goals in terms of the activities you will do. That way no matter what the outcome you can win.
4) Keep your agreements with yourself and others
When you make a commitment to another person and fail to keep it you lose trust. And when you break agreements with yourself you really damage your self-confidence. Each time you follow through on a commitment you make to yourself, your confidence increases.
5) Be on time
When you are late, how do you feel about yourself? Certainly not impressed. So stop it!
The Ultimate Confidence Building Question
Here is a powerful question you can use in virtually any situation that will help you increase your confidence. Simply ask yourself, "How can I handle this situation in a way that causes me to be impressed with myself?"
No matter how successful you are today, if you want to achieve bigger goals it is essential that you increase your confidence. But there is more. True success is being able to look at yourself in the mirror and feel proud of who you are. The more you impress yourself, the prouder you will feel!
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach
Founder and President, ProCoach Success System
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Email Pam@ProCoachSystem.com or call 604-983-8041 for details
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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