Did you ever decide not to do something due to lack of self-confidence? This could be any situation at home, work, or one related to following a dream of yours.
It is not uncommon to get nervous about a new situation or project. And feeling a little nervous is perfectly ok. But I noticed that sometimes I would experience this feeling of fear that would stop me from saying yes to something exciting because I did not feel confident enough. And that is definitely not ok.
I want to share with you some things that I have done in the past that have helped me gain the self-confidence to say yes to things that I actually wanted to do. I will give you examples of situations when I have applied each of those actions.
Think Back to Previous Success
When you find yourself in a situation that is new to you or is very difficult to navigate, it can be very challenging to go into it feeling confident that you can make it work. I have been in this situation a lot of times, especially at work.
And I have learned that the best way to gain self-confidence in those cases is to think back to a similar situation that you have successfully overcame in the past.
I always think back to a project that I was working on at the very beginning of my career. I was assigned to project that involved piloting an initiative that has never been attempted in my organization before, it had a very short timeline, and very high visibility from the leadership. It was a very stressful few months but I was very determined to make it a success. It took a lot of dedication, long hours (his was before I had kids), and a lot of flexibility and adaptability. But I did it.
And even though this happened almost 10 years ago, I still think about it as most challenging but most rewarding project in my career. It became a cornerstone of my self-confidence at work. Because if I could pull that off, I know I can do other challenging work.
So do the same thing for yourself. Better yet, create a list of challenges that you were able to overcome. And reference this list anytime you face a difficult, new, or challenging situation as a reminder that you can do it! Because you have done it in the past.
Another big thing that can help you with self-confidence is personal development. I did not realize how true that was until I started being intentional with personal growth about a year ago.
Why? Because personal development allows you to learn things about yourself that you might not have realized before. You will discover why you make certain decisions, why you prefer to work on certain projects, or why you are having a hard time developing certain habits.
And having that knowledge about yourself is golden. It will help you look at situations from a new perspective. And you will become more confident in you work and your decision making.
I remember very vividly when I read Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. In one of the chapters, she was talking about anxiety and how she discovered the root cause of it. And she asked a question “who are you trying to please”? That was a very defining moment for me. Because answering that question gave me a lot of clarity of why I feel so anxious in certain situations.
Learn Something New
Learning a new skill skill can be a real confidence booster. This really applies in all types of settings. Maybe you are trying to become a better cook. In that case, learn how to cook a new dish or sign up for a cooking class at a local community center to learn some cooking basics from a professional.
Or maybe you have started a side business and are trying to build your online presence. In this situation you could take a training course on how to use social media to grow your audience and learn some new skills. I know I have gain a lot of self-confidence with each new skill I have learned when I started this blog and my YouTube channel.
So learn something new to become more confident in your abilities in a certain area of your life.
You Don’t Have to be an Expert at Everything
I’m saying this so you understand that you do not have to be an expert to be confident in your skills and abilities. You need to realize that having the baseline knowledge is enough. Because that is something you can build upon.
Let me give you an example of this. I work as an analyst and my job is to assist different division in my organization. While most of the analysis that I do is related to my area of expertise, there are some cases where the scenario is very technical in nature. In other words, it is not something that I am an expert on. After working on a couple of those projects, I quickly realized that I don’t have to know all the technical details to do my job. I have the fundamentals – the research and analytical skills. The rest I will learn by asking questions and reading relevant materials.
Therefore, you should feel confident in those situations! Trust the skills and abilities that you already have. That is all you need to get you started. The other details you will obtain as you go.
And if you are looking for an even better example – it’s parenting. At first we are questioning every decision we make. But very quickly we develop a parenting style and anytime we are facing a new challenge, we fall back on our values and trust our instincts.
Practice, Practice, Practice
This should go without saying but if you do not feel confident about something – keep practicing.
It could be a new skill, it could be a presentation at work, it could be making jewelry, or training for a marathon. Whatever it is, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel while doing it, and the more self-confident you will become.
Another great way to become more self-confident is by asking questions. You could ask questions when you are trying to make a decision and have doubts if the choice you are making is the right one. Ask people who have made similar decisions in the past.
I find this to be a great approach to use at work when I am working on a new project or initiative. I used to think that asking questions would make me seem incompetent. But now I believe that is the exact opposite. I think that not asking questions and making the same mistakes that someone else has already made will make me feel much less self-confident and incompetent in front of my colleagues.
So don’t steer away from asking questions! The more you ask, the more you will learn, and you will gain more self-confidence in your approach.
And last, but definitely not least, is asking for feedback. The only caveat to this approach is to make sure that you are asking the right people. Find someone who will provide constructive criticism and not someone who will simply nitpick your approach to the situation. And someone who is qualified to provide feedback.
For example, if you are trying to get feedback on the book you wrote on the struggles of motherhood, don’t ask someone who does not have kids to provide you with feedback.
Or maybe you have started a new side business and are not confident in the way you wrote your business plan or the way you have decided to approach marketing of your products. Your spouse, who has never been involved in a similar situation, is probably not the most qualified person to help you with that. But a person who owns a side business, even in a completely different industry, might be just the right person to provide you with constructive criticism.
Getting some validation on the things you do good and getting some advice on the things that could be improved will give you a huge self-confidence boost.
What are some other things you do to increase your self-confidence?