In 30 seconds…
One of the things that held me back from pursuing my dreams for many years was fear of failure … and the lack of self-confidence that I needed to overcome that fear.
It’s something we all face, to some degree, I think. The key question: how do you overcome that fear?
The ability to believe in yourself can change your life.
It’s not always easy to be confident in yourself, particularly if you’re naturally self-critical, or if other people put you down. But there are steps that you can take to increase and maintain your self-confidence.
Connect With Yourself
Confidence and connection go together since we are most confident when we are real. We aren’t trying to be someone else, please others, or living a life dictated by “should.”
Get to know yourself well. Start listening to your thoughts. Start writing a journal about yourself, and about the thoughts you have about yourself, and analyzing why you have such negative thoughts. And then think about the good things about yourself, the things you can do well, the things you like.
Start thinking about your limitations, and whether they’re real limitations or just ones you’ve allowed to be placed there, artificially. Dig deep within yourself, and you’ll come out (eventually) with even greater self-confidence.
Related: How Happy Are You?
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Whether you compare how you look to your friends on Facebook or you compare your salary to your friend’s income, comparisons aren’t healthy. In fact, a 2018 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found a direct link between envy and the way you feel about yourself.
People who compared themselves to others experience envy. And the more envy they experienced, the worse they felt about themselves.
If you’re feeling envious of someone else’s life, remind yourself of your own strengths and successes. Consider keeping an ongoing gratitude journal to help you focus on your own life and not the lives of others.
Open up to the world and get curious about what’s happening around you. When we get curious, we become lifelong learners, which helps to quiet our inner critic.
With the learner present, we are not operating out of anxiety, fear, or worry. We are less likely to shut down our ideas, dreams, or plans.
Building confidence depends on openness. When we believe that options exist, and that gifts are to be found in challenges, we finds way to thrive.
We feel relaxed knowing we are living in the land of possibility. There is hope—a promise of what is to come. We are energized by what can be as we build confidence through growth and knowledge.
Notice How You Show up
Knowing that you matter builds confidence. The question then becomes how can you lean into that truth. The best way to remember that you matter and ignite your sparks is to develop a daily grounding practice.
When we invite awe, wonder, and gratitude into our lives, we tap into that special knowing that lives inside us. Our sage selves become connected to the rest of us, and the rest of us becomes connected to something larger.
Another way to know we matter is to surround ourselves with people who truly care about us. These people are a constant source of support and help you feel like the best version of yourself.
The people you spend time with influence your thoughts and attitudes about yourself more than you think. If you feel bad about yourself after hanging out with a particular person, it may be time to say goodbye.
Do your best to cultivate these kinds of healthy relationships with friends and family members They are key to building your confidence.
Face Your Fears
Stop putting things off (like asking someone on a date or applying for a promotion) until you feel more confident. The best way to build your confidence is by facing your fears head-on.
Practice facing some of your fears that stem from a lack of self-confidence. If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or you think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway. Tell yourself it’s just an experiment and see what happens.
You might learn that being a little anxious or making a few mistakes isn’t as bad as you thought. And each time you move forward, you can gain more confidence in yourself, which in the end, will help prevent you from taking any risks that will result in any major negative consequences.
Related: What’s Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Develop a Growth Mindset
If you’re struggling to develop self-belief, it’s likely you’re focused on mistakes you’ve made in the past.
We all make mistakes, and the key when you want to build confidence is to learn from them instead of letting them make you question your self-worth. This is called having a growth mindset, and it’s essential to believing in yourself.
Going over your mistakes is a great way to see where you get stuck, but going over them again and again doesn’t help you or anyone else. Even though you know you can’t change the past, it’s hard to move on when you keep dwelling on it. That kind of self-flagellation only harms your spirit.
The energy, thoughts, and actions that ensue from seeking to protect ourselves from failure undermines our confidence. We become wobbly and vigilant. Vigilance involves tightness—a contraction. In order to build confidence, we need to expand. The only way we can do that is to take risks.
Without risk, we stagnate. We repeat the status quo over and over again, not evolving. The more we take risks, we develop resilience to when the risk doesn’t pan out.
In trying to avoid failure we stay small. Smallness is not what is going to get us where we want to go, nor is it going to build confidence.
Draw on Your Inner Strength
Why is it important to believe in yourself?
Self-belief is about finding your inner strength so that you can embrace the journey that is life, with all its ups and downs, and realize that each challenge brings new skills, understanding and strength.
We all have times when we just don’t think we can do it. The most important thing is to never give up. You’ll inevitably encounter obstacles, but it’s how you react to them that matters. Believing in yourself is all about digging deep and realigning your focus on what you really want in life: discovering how to believe in yourself. It truly is within your reach.