Looking for 7 practical ways to be more self-confident? Be it at work, while speaking, dating, or in yourself? Stick around for these tips!
What is self-confidence?
Before we start with the 7 practical tips, we must understand what exactly self-confidence is!
When I was searching for the meaning of self-confidence, I stumbled on one that is really descriptive. According to the University of San Francisco’s Counselling Center, it states Self Confidence is as follows:
Self-confidence is an attitude about your skills and abilities. It means you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weakness well, and have a positive view of yourself. You set realistic expectations and goals, communicate assertively, and can handle criticism.
My confidence story…
Okay, so now that we have an excellent description of self-confidence, I want to tell you what sparked this post.
I met a young lady who was curious about my self-confidence and asked, “What’s your secret to self-confidence?”.
At first, I giggled because I wasn’t the most confident person growing up. I think people would have passed me as far as looking for confidence advice.
However, I think with continued self-development and growth; I have grown into a very confident person.
So, if you are reading this post, it’s possible to shift and become more confident!
I can say that nowadays, people actually come to me for mindset and confidence advice.
7 practical ways to be confident in life
I shared the following 7 practical ways with the lady. Note that I implemented these steps without a specific blueprint. I just did one after another during my journey, and my efforts compounded over time.
Therefore, I can say I have become more confident in numerous facets of my life. Be it work, home, etc.
An affirmation is essentially a short statement that motivates and inspires you!
This is really big (don’t underestimate this)! I actually adopt it into my life.
I have a list of affirmations that I recite every morning that has been put on my bathroom mirror.
As I state each affirmation, I look into the mirror at myself. I make eye contact with my reflection and really rally myself to say these affirmations enthusiastically. Yep! I give myself a pep talk.
You will notice that the more you practice and incorporate this into your daily routine, it will become second nature, and you will start to believe yourself more and then become self-confident.
You can tailor each affirmation based on what areas of self-confidence you want to target. One particular one that I like is from HuffPost:
My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless; my potential to succeed is infinite.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
Negative inside voices (negative self-talk) sometimes start as outside negative voices that we repeatedly hear from people.
One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes that I find profound is as follows:
….Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally into you.”
Isn’t that profound? Words from negative people will eventually get into you! You will start to believe those very words. You literally get conditioned to believe in them.
This is why it’s super important that you surround yourself with confidence builders who will essentially act as your cheerleaders.
These are friends who will not point your flaws and make you have a negative view of yourself. However, they will tell you that you can do it and cheer you on when you embark on any life journey you undertake.
This doesn’t mean that they will lie to you. They can provide constructive feedback, but it’s never meant to destroy your confidence but somewhat further reinforce and build it.
It is crucial to conduct a friendship audit to see if you need to evaluate a person’s fit in your life. This applies to social media (people we follow digitally).
If anyone is negatively influencing you, evaluate what you need to do (be it unfollow them or take a break).
3. Get out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to different people, places, experiences.
Yes! This definitely works. When I immigrated to the U.S, I remember that networking or small talk wasn’t my forte. I had a difficult time assimilating and integrating into the culture because it was foreign to me.
In short, I wasn’t confident when it came to networking.
What I found to be a significant shift was when I started interacting with different people, visiting other places, and making an attempt to learn about different cultures and backgrounds. Yes, I know it sounds a bit counterintuitive, so let me further explain…
The goal is for you to have an open mind and open to new experiences. Why? Because you will gain more confidence, knowledge and experience to speak to the next person.
Okay, so keep in mind that the goal isn’t to befriend them (although that can be a plus if you make a genuine connection!)… the goal is to interact with different people and have an open-minded approach. These people can be neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers and such.
I repeat- you want the interaction to be organic and not forced!
A good example of this is when I attended an Orthodox Jewish Wedding that, to date, has been one of the most amazing experiences that I had.
This experience gave me confidence in meeting new people and having conversation starters and in-depth meaningful conversations with people who have Jewish heritage. It shows that you have understanding and interest in them and this is huge! It shows you are not into shallow talk. Who knows, you may even close a business deal at this rate of engagement.
Simply put, the more you get practical life experiences, the more you can pivot and network confidently in numerous situations. You will not fear awkward silences or glances since you are making a genuine attempt to expose yourself and learn from other people. This can be a good way also to try to be culturally competent and sensitive.
So, in short, if you do this…you can confidently say…
Yes, I can talk more than just about the weather!
4. Say YES, take opportunities and invites!
When it comes to work experiences, I have found that saying YES is really important in confidence-building.
When there is an impromptu task where the boss needs help, volunteer!
I think saying YES also places you in positions that you can confidently leverage a promotion later on.
If you are always behind the scenes, likely, you will not be confident to ask for a raise or promotion.
5. Elevator Speech…
Okay, so an elevator speech is vital in the workplace!
What is it? This is a short brief message that clearly and concisely explains something about you or what you do.
It’s essential that you have this memorized and rehearsed.
I have always made an effort to draft an elevator speech that comes naturally for every job and internship.
Elevator speeches can really build your self-confidence because you are well prepared! I think it also gives a first good impression to clients or stakeholders in networking events.
6. Self-care & Dressing for success
Dressing well can boost your confidence. Remember to also be comfortable in your clothes and to dress for the occasion!
7. Toastmasters/ Public Speaking Clubs
If you don’t know about Toastmasters, then you totally need to check them out! I was a member of Toastmasters for 1 year and I learned invaluable communication skills that really boosted my confidence.
In a nutshell, Toastmasters is an organization that develops public speaking and leadership skills. There are numerous clubs in over 145 countries.
Often, most companies can pay your membership as part of your career development!
A college equivalent to toastmasters is AIESEC. I joined AIESEC when I started my first degree, and this was indeed a great way to interact with people from all over the world and practice public speaking and networking while in college. They seek to develop youth leaders who have the following qualities:
- Empower others.
- World Citizen.
Another truly phenomenal club is the Rotary club. This was a club that was outstanding and crucial in getting my peers’ feet wet in self-confidence. The Rotary Club was founded in 1905, and this is the following idea behind it:
…so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.
So that’s it, folks… 7 practical ways to be self-confident!
With these practical steps, I hope you have a few takeaways that you can reflect on or share with family or friends!
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