So how do you build this sense of balanced self-confidence,
founded on a firm appreciation of reality?
The bad news is that there’s no quick fix or 5-minute solution.
The good news is that building self-confidence is readily
achievable, just as long as you have the focus and determination to carry
things through. And what’s even better is that the things you’ll do
will build success – after all, your confidence will come from
real, solid achievement. No-one can take this away from you!
So here are our three steps to self-confidence, for which we’ll
use the metaphor of a journey:
Preparing for your journey; setting out; and accelerating towards
Step 1: Preparing for Your Journey:
The first step involves getting yourself ready for your journey to
self-confidence. You need to take stock of where you are, think about where you
want to go, get yourself in the right mindset for your journey, and commit
yourself to starting it and staying with it.
In preparing for your journey, do the following things:
Look at what you’ve already
Relive your life so far, and list the ten best things you’ve
achieved in an “Achievement Log.”
Perhaps you came top in an important test or exam, played a key
role in an important team, produced the best sales figures in a period, did
something that made a key difference in someone
else’s life, or delivered a project that meant a lot for your
Put these into a smartly formatted document, which you can look at
often. And then spend a few minutes each week enjoying the success you’ve
Take a realistic look at who
Use a technique like SWOT Analysis to take a look at who and where you are. Perhaps
reflecting on the list you prepared above and reflecting on your recent life,
think about what your friends consider to be your strengths and weaknesses.
From these, think about the opportunities and threats you face.
Make sure that you enjoy a few minutes reflecting on your
Think about where you want to
Setting and achieving goals is a key part of building
self-confidence. To do this effectively, you need the big picture of where you
want to go in life. See our article on goal setting for one approach to this.Inform your goal
setting with your SWOT Analysis. Set goals that exploit your strengths,
minimize your weaknesses, realize your opportunities, and control the threats
And having set the major goals in your life, identify the first
step in each. A tip: Make sure it’s a very small step, perhaps taking no more
than an hour to complete!
Start managing your mind:
At this stage, you need to start managing your mind. Learn to pick
up and defeat the negative self-talk which can destroy your confidence.
And learn how to use imagery to create strong mental images of what you’ll
feel and experience as you achieve your major goals – there’s something about
doing this that makes even major goals seem achievable!
And then commit yourself to
The final part of preparing for the journey is to make a clear and
unequivocal promise to yourself that you are absolutely committed to your
journey, and that you will do all in your power to achieve it.If as you’re
doing it, you find doubts starting to surface, write them down and challenge
them calmly and rationally. If they dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great.
However if they are based on genuine risks, make sure you set additional goals to manage
Either way, make that promise!
Step 2: Setting Out:
Here you start, ever so slowly, moving towards your goal. By doing
the right things, and starting with small, easy wins, you’ll put yourself on
the path to success – and the self-confidence that comes with it.
Build the knowledge you need to
Looking at your goals, identify the skills you’ll need to achieve
them. And then look at how you can acquire these skills confidently and well.
Don’t just accept a sketchy, just-good-enough solution – look for a solution, a
program or a course that fully equips you to achieve what you want to achieve,
and ideally gives you a certificate you can be proud of.
Focus on the basics:
When you’re starting, don’t try to do anything clever or
elaborate. And don’t reach for perfection –
just enjoy doing simple things successfully and well.
Set small goals, and achieve
Starting with the very small goals you identified in step 1, get
in the habit of setting goals, achieving them, and celebrating that
achievement. Don’t make goals particularly challenging at this stage, just get
into the habit of achieving them and celebrating them. And little by little,
start piling up the successes!
Keep managing your mind:
Stay on top of that positive thinking, keep celebrating and
enjoying success, and keep those mental images strong.
And on the other side, learn to handle failure. Accept that
mistakes happen when you’re trying something new. In fact, if you get into the
habit of treating mistakes as learning experiences, you can (almost) start to
see them in a positive light. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the
saying “if it doesn’t kill me, it makes me stronger!”
Step 3: Accelerating Towards Success:
By this stage, you’ll feel your self-confidence building. You’ll
have completed some of the courses
you started in step 2, and you’ll have plenty of success to