Friday, July 11, 2014

Develop your self-confidence

            We all have confidence. It is just a question of cultivating it and nurturing it. If you grow up in a home where praise, encouragement and caring are the rule, then you are more likely to have confidence in yourself. Confidence is a measure of a person's self-assuredness. It springs from self-esteem, knowledge, ability, skills, discipline, tenacity and perseverance. It does not mean boosting or bragging or being arrogant. Self-confidence is the calm conviction that you can achieve whatever you set out to do. It does not mean that you need to know everything and be capable of doing it all by yourself. Developing self-confidence means adopting good practices in thinking, speaking and behaving. It is strongly reinforced by a sense of achievement and by positive feedback from others. You develop confidence by setting a goal and achieving it, and by making a promise and keeping it, one at a time. You build self-confidence by having the ability to set and achieve meaningful goals, by fulfilling your needs, by keeping your promises, by acting with integrity and courage.
            Like most people, you have some self-doubts about your capabilities and potential. In the past, you made mistakes, had failure and rejection, and did not live up to your expectations. Don't let these shortcomings erode your confidence. You can rebuild your self-confidence by putting power in your commitment and focusing your mental energy on your immediate goal. If you don't have confidence in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to have confidence in you. If you lose confidence in yourself eventually others lose their confidence in you too. You hold certain values, beliefs and principles to which you are committed. As a result, you have an inner purpose around which you make your decisions. You need to become a person with integrity and conviction who can make courageous decisions to change your life for the better. Confidence in yourself gives you the strength to make good ethical decisions despite pressure to act otherwise. It is very easy to give up but it takes courage and strength to be caring and yet firm, and to do what you know you ought to do. As you look toward the decisions you would like to make to change your life, have the confidence and the courage to act on them.
            There are two powerful concepts: Faith and Fear. If you have faith in yourself, in your abilities and in your future then you also have self-confidence and courage. It is essential that you have faith in your resourcefulness to do whatever you need to do. You may not know how to replace your car brakes, but you know a good mechanic or garage service. You may not know how to resolve an issue at work, but you are confident that you can get some smart assistance from your mentor or members of your network. You may not know how you are going to cope with the recent news of your cancer, but you have faith that you will survive it with God’s grace and positive mental attitude.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.
-          Martin Luther King

            If you allow fear to creep in your life, the fear you can’t do something can wipe out your faith and self-confidence. The reason so many people are not confident in themselves is that it hurts to keep on trying when their efforts always seem to fail. The fear of failure sets in. Acknowledge and accept your fears rather than ignore or deny them. To build self-confidence, you need to be willing to push through the discomforting barriers and to act despite your feelings. It is through the experience of overcoming your fears that you will make the most strides in enhancing your self-confidence.

            The act of striving and persevering in face of obstacles provides a sense of satisfaction and pride that promotes confidence. It takes strength and endurance to keep on trying and doing what you know you ought to do when the going is rough. It's much easier to give up and quit. During your period of weakness, self-defeating behaviors and negative self-talk can come back to haunt you. Don't replay the memories of past failures, disappointments and mistakes. It robs you of your self-confidence. Recognize that we all experienced failures at one time or another, even the most successful people. You can expect problems, setbacks and changes in circumstances, but you don't have to agonize over them and live in fear of them. When changes happen, look for what else is possible and choose the most viable alternatives. View the obstacles as opportunities from which to learn and grow rather than events to be feared. Have faith in yourself. It frees your mind from the self imposed limitations of doubt, fear and discouragement. Faith provides you with the courage, inspiration and self-reliance you need to live life purposefully. Give yourself permission to take reasonable risks and accept responsibility for mistakes. Start taking small calculated risks and venturing occasionally into the unknown. Be alert and prepared for head-on encounters. It's by striving to overcome obstacles as they arise that you build your self-confidence. Fear or faith, failure or success, you have to choose which path you want to follow. Never allow fear to rule your life, always have faith in yourself. Acting with confidence can break vicious cycles of fear. This can be a hard inner struggle but if you follow the principles outlined in this book, you will come out a winner.
            Be humble in the presence of superior knowledge and intellect, be willing to learn by asking questions. Look for and associate with positive and confident people. It is very empowering to have the support and energy of understanding and motivated friends. You can have a positive influence in each others' process of growing and confidence building. Keep visualizing your best moments, the times when you conquered fear, were totally confident, and felt successful. No matter how few these good moments were, don't let them die. By remembering these moments of triumphs you slowly build your own self-confidence. Trust the worth you have placed upon yourself. The confidence other people have in you reinforces your confidence in yourself. Confidence breeds more confidence. You then have the courage to take more challenges and make major decisions in your life. You can start to stretch your capabilities and your comfort zone. When you take charge of your life through choices and decisions, you receive powerful boosts to your self-esteem and self-confidence. Making a decision and implementing it builds confidence.
            Try to express your courage and confidence not because you have no fear, but in spite of your fear. Even when you don't really feel confident, act as if you have confidence. When you act despite uncertainty and lack of confidence, you reinforce risk-taking and perseverance. Have the courage to decide what you want to do about your life. Have the ability to overcome the obstacles facing you and move ahead to something better. Be assertive when interacting with other people. Don't say anything that would be contrary to your true intentions. You do not need to be aggressive to assert yourself. It has been shown that assertive behavior is very effective when accompanied by a smile.
             A lively and positive faith is extremely important for a happy and serene existence. Faith is belief that help is forthcoming when it is needed. It is belief in guidance in time of perplexity and in courage when pain and suffering strike. Have the attitude and conviction that for everything lost there is something to be gained. Confident people are strong enough to admit their mistakes and to be honest. By your courage, openness and honesty, you will experience rewarding relationships, personal growth and happiness as well as some pains. By building your confidence you become less afraid of fear, of emotional pain, of taking risks and of making mistakes. As you find the courage to be honest and to open yourself to others you start to respect yourself and others as fellow human beings. Your life unfolds and develops based on the confidence you place in yourself and in all that you do. Become aware that you are able to develop your self-confidence.

Now it's your turn to share how you develop your confidence.
Excerpt from my book: BECOME YOUR BEST