“Justin, how can I increase my confidence?” Man, if only I had a nickel for every time I get asked this question.
Truth is, I may either be the most underqualified or highly qualified person, depending on how you look at it, to answer this question.
I make no bones about the fact that I had just about ZERO confidence growing up. Whether it was in relationships, sports, or the classroom, all areas I excelled ironically, my confidence was about like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.
Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to blossom into the breathtaking flower I am today. Ha! Totally kidding. But seriously, through my own personal growth journey, studies, and coaching, I’ve learned how to create confidence in my life and the lives of others.
And that’s what I want to share with you today, how you can increase your confidence. Because the reality is, confidence is foundational to success. Think about it, ever met a highly successful person who wasn’t confident in their ability to do whatever they do?
No! You haven’t. Because success and confidence are a package deal.
So, if you want to learn how to increase your confidence, keep reading.
But first, let’s talk about some confidence myths
This great article from Psychology Today talks about 10 myths about confidence. I want to take a second and chat about a few of my favorites, because I think most people have misconceptions about what confidence is and how it shows up in our lives. I know I sure did.
Myth 1: You either have confidence or you don’t
The biggest lesson I learned, that increased my confidence, was that it’s not a birthright. I think so many people believe that confidence is either something you have or don’t have when you’re born.
Like some people are just more confident because God bestowed that upon them.
Confidence is very much a skill. And like other skills, as you nurture and build it, it grows. Anyone can be confident if they’re committed to putting in the work necessary for that growth to take place.
Myth 2: There’s only one way to be confident
Another big misconception is about what confidence looks like. People often think of the vibrant, life-of-the-party, take life by the horns type of person when they think about someone who is “confident.”
While that person may be one representation of confidence (although not always – all that swagger can be a facade to cover up the insecurities underneath), they’re not the only version. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of deal.
I think of Andre Johnson, the great Houston Texans football player, who was described as having quiet confidence. The dude never talked on the field, but was an absolute stud who was clearly confident in his abilities.
Tell me in the comments below someone you know who has quiet confidence.
Introverts can be just as confident as extroverts. So don’t confuse your social personality type with your ability to be confident.
Myth 3: You must gain confidence before taking action
I’ll be damned if this wasn’t something I thought for so much of my early adult years. I tried to peg myself as a “planner” thinking that as soon as I had all my ducks in a row, I’d have the confidence to take action.
WRONG AGAIN! (sidebar – I never felt like those damn ducks were in a row anyways! Can I get an amen?)
In fact, that logic is exactly backwards. Confidence doesn’t come from planning to take action. It comes from the action itself. You gain confidence through repetition and experience.
If you’re waiting around to gain the confidence necessary to take action, you need to change your mindset. Understand that as you start to take consistent action and get better at something, the confidence will come.
How to gain confidence
Now that you know some myths about confidence, and what it’s not, like talk about what confidence actually is and how you can start to create more of it in your life.
Stop externalizing your confidence
One of the biggest issues I faced, and that so many others face, is tying confidence to external things. Whether it’s our body, bank account, job, or relationships, we have this tendency to root our confidence in things outside of us.
This typically shows up in 2 ways: tying confidence to accomplishments and other people’s approval of us.
Stop tying your confidence to accomplishment
Now, I already know what some of you are thinking. “Justin, I accomplished x, y, or z big goal, and that made me feel pretty damn good about myself. So how can you say confidence doesn’t come from accomplishment?”
Well, I can say that because it’s true. While you may think it was the end result that made you confident, that’s actually incorrect. It was the process of achieving that result that made you confident.
Confidence is nothing more than your internal belief in your ability to create a certain result in your life. So, that means that you believe in your ability to take the necessary actions and put in the required work to achieve any goal.
None of us can have absolute certainty in our ability to accomplish anything. But, we can all have that level of certainty in our ability to show up and do what it takes.
Therefore, it isn’t the end result that is boosting your confidence. That dinky ass trophy you won in little league isn’t what gave you the confidence to win. It was your willingness to show up and show out over and over again that did.
Stop tying your confidence to other people’s opinions of you
We’re judgemental creatures. It’s what we do. And it’s always been that way. It was a survival mechanism that people used when they were being chased by freakin’ dinosaurs and other scary ass animals.
Problem is, even though we’ve evolved as a species, that programming is still in us. So we judge. And, because so many people worry about the judgement of others, it can be a huge blow to self-confidence.
But you’ve gotta stop allowing that to be the case if you want to develop a strong sense of confidence.
There are over 7 ½ billion people on this planet. It’s okay if a few don’t like you. The problem with tying your confidence to other people’s opinions of you is that it begins to fundamentally change you. You start trying to be a version of yourself that you think others want you to be.
All that does is create this internal conflict. And, on top of that, people can smell bullshit from a mile away. With the way our society is today, people’s BS meters are cranked up to levels higher than ever before. So when you start stepping out as this fake version of yourself, you quickly find the only people who may accept you are ones you don’t want acceptance from.
Oh, and on top of that, you’re not that damn important anyway. And neither am I! Life is hard enough, and people have their own problems. So, while you’re busy worrying about what everyone thinks about you, most of them are busy trying to navigate their own lives and troubles and aren’t paying you any mind.
In other words, you’re worrying about what other people think of you, because you’re worrying for nothing. When you stand in your true, authentic self, sure, some people aren’t going to like you. So freakin’ what?! How many friends do you really have time for anyway?
The best thing to do if someone judges or doesn’t like you, is analyze the situation to figure out why. In doing so, if you realize it’s something you did wrong, learn from it. But, if you realize you stood in your truth as your real self, well then clearly you’re just not their cup of tea. And that’s okay.
Stack up small wins
If you’re someone who is wanting to seriously increase your confidence, focus on stacking up small victories. Like I said, confidence is your belief in your ability to figure out how to accomplish any goal. Well, there’s no better way to build that belief than by accumulating a series of small victories.
As a high achiever, I get wanting to go after the whole enchilada. But, if you don’t have the internal belief (i.e. the confidence) to match the goal, then you’re actually setting yourself up for failure. And ain’t nobody got time fo dat!
So, a better strategy is to take your big goal and break it into a series of smaller goals. By doing this, you can get quicker victories which fuels that internal belief (again, confidence) that you can accomplish the goal.
Get great at something
Going back to what I said in the intro, you’ve never met, heard of, or read about someone who is/was great at what they do, who lacked confidence in that particular area. And the reason why is because they’ve invested so much time, blood, sweat, and tears into becoming great at what they do.
When you become great at something, your confidence will go through the roof. One reason most people don’t find high levels of confidence is because we are dabblers who get bright shiny object syndrome.
If something doesn’t work out immediately, it’s on to the next thing. But if you really want to increase your confidence, figure out something you love, and get freakin’ great at it.
Honestly, the easiest way to build confidence is to get into the game. Because of all the paralyzing fears we subject ourselves to, most people just sit on the sidelines, even though they have this deep desire to experience the game first hand.
There is something to be said for showing up. Embracing the challenges in life and seeing that you can make it through. That workout or presentation that’s scaring the hell out of you, I promise it won’t kill you.
Or that fear of judgement that’s preventing you from letting loose and letting your inner child come out, nope, that won’t kill you either.
I’m going to continue to beat this dead horse because it is so important that you hear and truly understand this: WE ONLY GET ONE LIFE! That’s not just some catchy phrase to put on a bumper sticker – it’s a fact.
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to reflect back on my life with a bunch of “what ifs.” Well, the only way to eliminate those what ifs is to take action. And, who knows, you may even surprise yourself.
So, there you have it. That’s how you can increase your confidence.