I've had plenty of times of low confidence in my life.
I'm sure you have as well.
Maybe you're dealing with a lack of confidence right now in some part of your life.
Unlike self-esteem, which relates more to your essential worth as a person, confidence relates to your feelings about your abilities and capacity for success. You can have plenty of self-esteem but not feel very confident in some specific area.
Maybe you're not happy with your appearance. You don't feel on top of your game at work. You're coming off a big failure and feel reticent to move forward. You're lacking skill or expertise and don't feel you can compete. You feel insecure about your judgment or intuition. You're uncomfortable putting yourself out there, taking a risk, or appearing foolish.
Sometimes one of these areas of low confidence can infect your entire self-perception. You begin to doubt all of your abilities when you've lost self-assurance in one that really impacts you. Maybe you lost your job for example, so you begin to feel incapable of performing well in any work environment. If you allow low confidence spiral out of control, eventually it will infect your self-esteem as well.
I've studied a lot about confidence in my role as a coach and personal growth teacher, and I've discovered it's not just a state of mind that randomly appears and disappears. It's a skill you can learn — just like any other skill. It's a skill tied to some specific actions, mind shifts, and changes that are in your complete control.
I've written dozen of articles on confidence and have several books and a course on the topic, but today, I want to tap into the collective wisdom of others who write about it as well.
If you're interested in building confidence, here are 20 personal growth experts sharing their advice on the topic:
Zorka Hereford of Essential Life Skills
Overcoming adversity builds and strengthens self-confidence. The greatest songs, works of art and literary pieces have been written by those who have experienced the depths of despair, loss and emptiness and overcame them. Experiencing sadness and loss, and then rising above them, gives rise to hope and triumph. It makes you stretch and become more than you were.
Mark Tyrrell of Uncommon Help
Self-confidence doesn't consist of knowing for sure something will go well. It has more to do with relaxing with the certainty that you can handle uncertainty, even if that means some kind of failure. Real self-confidence imbues you with an overriding sense of “whatever happens, I'll be okay!” It's bigger than both success and failure.
Phil Ashton of Self-Development Journey
Most of us have a comfort zone, and whether we think about it or not we don’t step out of it often. But stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way you’re going to increase it. Sure, it’ll feel difficult at first, and maybe even embarrassing, but that’s fine. It’s not supposed to be easy, but you will benefit greatly. You’ll start to grow as a person, you’ll gain new skills and experiences, and you being to feel more confident. Remember, the first step is the hardest, every step thereafter will be easier.
Stephen Guise of Deep Existence
All people can be assured of themselves by accepting who they are. That’s a simple, powerful truth. Nobody can challenge your confidence in being who you are and living accordingly because nobody knows you like you know yourself. This is great because now your confidence isn’t based on anything flaky like how many compliments you get or if you feel ignored; it’s based on your assuredness that you are [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE]; it’s about your value as a unique person.
Vincent Nguyen of Self Stairway
Fake it until you make it. Fake confidence turns into real confidence. I’m not saying you fake your interests or pretend to be like someone you’re not. Instead, fake the aura. Tell yourself that YOU are the epitome of confidence. Imagine you’re Robert Downey Jr. or Scarlett Johansson. Why does this work and why am I telling you to fake it until you make it? When you fake confidence, people see that on the outside and start responding to you better.
Paige Burkes of Simple Mindfulness
The people you surround yourself with tend to reinforce your self-image. If you’re trying to make changes in your life while your friends and family want to reinforce the status quo, it may be time to find some new friends. If you want to change how you see yourself, an easier path is to find people already doing what you want to do. They’re evidence that what you want to do is possible while your current friends and family are telling you that it’s impossible.
Confident people don’t mind ruffling a few feathers. I’m not saying that you should ruffle feathers for the sake of ruffling feathers. I am saying that you should stick up for what you believe in, and if you have to ruffle a few feathers in the process, then that’s what you have to do. The goal of appearing confident is not to get people to like you, necessarily, but to respect you.
Therese Schwenkler of The Unlost
I started by making a list of things I was afraid of (everything). Then I thought about small tasks I could accomplish that would help me regain my confidence and combat these fears. Afraid of rejection? Hit on five guys who I thought were out of my league. Fear of being judged? Time to do stand-up comedy and create videos on YouTube. Insecure about my talent? Give speeches on the subway. Fear of failure? Finish my book and let people read it.
Jennifer Gresham of Everyday Bright
No matter what your age, job, financial situation, or social class, you can begin to catalyze your own success by building your confidence one step at a time. As explained in the movie Three Kings:
Archie Gates: You’re scared, right?
Conrad Vig: Maybe.
Archie Gates: The way it works is, you do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before you do it.
Conrad Vig: That’s a dumbass way to work. It should be the other way around.
Archie Gates: I know. That’s the way it works.
You don’t just find your courage, you make it. You build courage and confidence one scary act at a time.
Britt Reints of In Pursuit of Happiness
Getting better at a skill is a great way to experience confidence. Remember how great it felt the first time you figured out how to publish a blog post or make cookies that you weren’t ashamed to share? That sense of accomplishment had nothing to do with being the best and everything to do with progress and improvement. The best way to improve is to practice. Keep doing what scares you and you’ll get better at it. You’ll get to do the mighty fist pump in the air that says, “yes! I am slightly better at this than I was yesterday! Suck it, Yesterday Me!”
Evelyn Lim of Abundance Tapestry
Fall in love with yourself. Think about what makes you You. Just like a flower that needs watering to grow, learn to nurture yourself in every way. Love yourself for all the good that you see and accept your flaws and the fact that you are imperfect. This does not mean that you do not learn to change from your shortcomings; instead, you are being gentle and kind to yourself despite all your “flaws”. Look in the mirror and fall in love with the reflection that is You.
Alden Tan of Alden Tan.com
You aren’t sure of what to say to someone? Okay cool, just be polite then. Have your, “Thank you”, “Please” and “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” in order and you’re good. By being polite you’ve set the foundation of being a nice person, which is something all humans on earth can relate to. You may not have created a powerful impact, but at least you’ve created a lasting impression that you’re not rude or offensive, which trust me, many people can’t seem to master even though this is basic etiquette. You may not see it, but being polite sets you ahead of a lot of people.
Angela Artemis of Powered by Intuition
When you are authentically you, the spigot of your personal power opens full force. You know yourself. You are true to yourself and your values. You have an unshakeable connection to your purpose and your mission; what it is you're here to accomplish. The knowing of your true self and living from this authenticity leads to having a clear vision of your mission, and this is what leads to being tremendously self-empowered. You are here for a purpose, and you are here to contribute to making the world a better place in some special way that only YOU can offer.
Tyler Tervooren of Riskology
When you’re nervous, it’s common to avoid eye contact. Eye contact is intimate, and your body wants to avoid any kind of intimacy when it’s uncomfortable. When it’s your turn to talk (or when the person you’re talking to finishes a thought), remind yourself to re-establish eye contact. Too much is unnatural and signals aggression, so don’t go overboard. You can significantly increase your perception of confidence just by regularly re-establishing eye contact for a short time.
Ian Lawton of Soul Seeds
Confidence is generally your belief in your own ability (based on past experience) while optimism is a big picture perspective. In other words, I don’t know if I can do this, but I will do my best and trust that it will all work out as it needs to. Confidence depends on me. Optimism depends on me + forces beyond me. Optimism operates despite confidence, but true confidence needs the guiding hand of optimism to make sure ego doesn’t spin out of control. And then when my sense of purpose gives me confidence that I can play a valuable part in optimism’s plans, watch out! That’s confidence I want to sign up for; measured by time and perspective, in service of something more than my own feelings!
Jonathan Wells of Advanced Life Skills
You may be thinking that your body language only affects the way other people perceive you, but there is actually more to it. Your body language, including your posture, gestures, facial expressions, gait, and attentiveness, all send powerful signals to your own nervous system. Every attitude and mood has corresponding body language, including feelings of confidence. If your body is sending signals to your nervous system that correspond to personal confidence, your attitude will adjust to harmonize with those signals.
Tess Marshall of The Bold Life
Identify with your higher self. You are not your successes or your failures. You are not your habits or your mistakes. You are not your past or your stories. There is nothing about you that is broken. There is nothing to fix. Your essence is goodness and love. You are a miracle. You are whole and complete just as you are.
Harleena Singh of Aha Now
Mindset is the pattern and scope of your thinking. It is your framework or strategy that decides your fate. If you do not change your mindset as and when required, it is going to hijack your success. Change your outlook. Start looking at and consider things from a different point of view. Sometimes you wear a different set of clothes, and you start feeling different. It changes the way you carry yourself or even how you behave. Same is with the mindset. Change it, and you may begin to see new possibilities and missed opportunities.
Steven Handel of The Emotion Machine
Our posture is just one aspect of nonverbal communication that can signal a message about our personality and our mood. Generally, an upright position while standing up, sitting, or walking is a sign of attentiveness and confidence, while a downward position is a sign of fatigue, boredom, or low confidence. There are many different types of postures depending on what we do with our arms, legs, hands, shoulders, back, etc. A closed body stance, where our arms or legs are crossed, is often seen as less socially engaging and less inviting than an open body stance, where our arms or legs are open and relaxed.
Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom
When you lack confidence in one part of your life, it can begin to feel like you’re a loser. You paint your entire life with a broad brushstroke of insecurity and doubt. The feelings of low confidence, even if they are grounded in some truth, don’t define your entire life or your essential worth. Everyone lacks confidence from time to time, and most people have pockets of insecurities that hold them back. You don’t have to be perfect to be successful. In fact, you can be confident in spite of your imperfections. Confidence is a state of mind that allows you to move past failures and flaws and to even learn from them.
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