The main thing that will help you step up your game from wanting to be the best to actually being the best are the actions you take. You need to practice your craft, find mentors, and have the ability to share your skills and talents with others.
That takes confidence.
Confidence leads to courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, though. Courage is taking action in spite of fear. (Without fear, you don’t need courage.)
Developing confidence is not found in theories, but in action.
Here are 18 proven ways you can develop greater confidence:
1. Show gratitude.
Thank someone. Thank anyone. Write a letter. Make a phone call. Find a reason to be grateful, find out who made that possible, and thank the person.
Thank yourself, too.
2. Act with kindness.
Don’t treat others how you want to be treated. That is selfish. Treat them how they want to be treated. Most people want to be treated with honesty, transparency, and kindness. Kindness is hard, because you need to stop thinking about yourself.
Be kind. When you are kind, you will also be treated better by others. This will give you confidence to keep being kind and, most important, to truly be yourself around others.
3. Define your values.
Not in your head. On paper. Get a pen and write them down. Then define them. Don’t just write down integrity. Define what integrity means to you. Jot down some examples. Make a commitment to live those values.
4. Find your true motivations.
Once you know what your values are, those values help you understand what motivates you. This will take some reverse memory engineering. Think back on four or five of your favorite memories. Write down why those experiences impacted you so strongly. Write down what caused those situations, who was involved, how you felt, how those experiences have affected you since. Write it all down.
Then make a mind map to find the connections. Answer this question: What similarities did all of these experiences have? Those similarities were driven by a true deep desire. That desire is your motivation. Was it the human connection? Was it the ability to solve a problem? Was it the chance to create?
Find the underlying similarities, and that is how you reverse engineer those experiences to find your true motivations.
5. Take special care to look better than usual.
Not everyone wants to look good. I don’t. But we all perform better when we look better. Get over it.
6. Perform a little mental Photoshop.
We are what we expect. Change your personal expectations and you will change your life. Picture yourself the way you want to be seen by others.
Your subconscious mind will take over and you will become that person.
7. Smile more.
Humans were made to smile. Humans react to smiles. We can’t help it. Smile more. You will be happier. Happiness leads to confidence. If you are not happy, watch a comedy show on Netflix.
Find a way to smile, especially when you don’t want to.
8. Visualize success.
If you can’t picture it, no one else will either. Define what you want. Imagine it. Try to feel what it will feel like to be what you want, to have what you want. Hold on to those images. Hold on to those feelings.
9. Erase negative thoughts.
Goes hand in hand with visualization. Your thoughts become your reality. You have to learn to be aware of how you talk to yourself. When I am doing work I am not particularly good at, or when I exercise, sometimes my inner voice will start saying, “This is too much; do something else. I want to stop and go read a book.”
The trick I learned is to stop listening to that voice by imagining the voice as a person. Tell that person to leave, and they leave. If they don’t leave, I get a big fat pink eraser and erase the person saying the negative thoughts. Erasers work.
10. Prepare, with focus.
If you are prepared, you will be able to decrease your fear. Some fear is needed; too much fear prevents growth. When you are prepared, you feel confident.
Study hard. Practice hard. Know your stuff.
11. Slow down your speech.
Talk slower. People who talk fast either don’t care about others or have anxiety issues. (We all show aspects of both.) Speaking slowly lets others know you care about them, while also showing you are not worried about what to say next.
Speaking slowly is a confident action.
12. Serve others.
When you think about others and what they need, it is impossible to feel sad for yourself. Serving others erases millions of personal problems. Focusing on others lets you feel useful and forget about what is wrong with your life.
You will accomplish something worthwhile and your confidence will increase as you actively serve.
13. Focus on solutions. Solutions are more important than problems.
Thinking about problems increases anxiety. Understanding the problem is not the same as focusing on the problem. Once you have the facts, change your mindset to be solution oriented. Focus on what is possible rather than what currently “is.”
14. Fix your posture.
I have really bad posture. That’s why I know this works. Stand tall, sit up straight, be present. Others will notice. You will notice.
15. Learn more.
You can’t be the best unless you know enough. If you don’t know enough, it is impossible to be confident. Learn from the best. Then learn more.
16. Set goals. Then set bigger goals.
Set a small goal. Accomplish it. Success breeds success. Set another small goal. Kill it. Then set a bigger goal. Own it. Then set a bigger goal. Keep setting and slaying your goals.
17. Exercise more than last week.
Improvement is key. Movement is vital to confidence. Movement creates action. Movement increases blood flow. The more you move, the more you will succeed.
More success = more confidence.
18. Clean your space.
Clarity of space allows for clarity of thought. Clean your space once a week. Allow yourself to throw away things. Keep what helps you help others. If it doesn’t create good for you or others, throw it out. The fewer distractions you have, the more you can focus on taking proper actions. The right actions lead to positive experiences.
Positive experiences lead to confidence.
Success is not measured by how we are viewed by others, though, but rather by the impact we have on others.
The only thing that can create lasting impact is action. Take action to build confidence. This confidence will guide you to share your talents.
Then use your talents to help others.
Originally published at www.inc.com on February 16, 2017.
Originally published at medium.com