Do you want to feel more confident?
One of the things that holds many entrepreneurs I talk to back from creating their ideal future is a fear of failure, and a lack of self-confidence to overcome it.
Lao Tzu said “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince other. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
These entrepreneurs struggle with getting started.
Rather than creating their own path towards achieving their biggest dreams, they are held back by a lack of self-confidence to overcome the fear of failure.
As entrepreneurs, especially if we don’t have the right support system around us, it’s something we all face.
The key questions then become:
How do you overcome the fear?
Can boosting your self-confidence help you overcome this fear?
The answer. By making an intentional commitment to work on your self-confidence and self-esteem. Then having the courage to work on boosting your self-confidence and self-esteem every day, even if the marginal gains feel small and it feels really difficult to do so.
When I talk to coaching clients about this commitment to boosting self-confidence I often use my gym experience as an example.
A Brief Story About How to Feel More Confident
I was pretty fearful of going to the gym for the first time as I really wanted to get in shape and I knew it would be hard.
In the gym I would be surrounded by people that had more knowledge, experience and just looked better than me.
The experience of trying new things and really stretching different muscles put me out of my comfort zone.
During my first session I got out of breath very quickly and felt a burn in my muscles that I’d never experienced before.
It was pretty uncomfortable and my head was spinning after just 10 minutes working out.
With certain exercises, I was focused on doing 10 reps but only managed to do five.
The next day my body ached and I wondered why I bothered to put myself through that experience.
Have you experienced a similar feeling?
Things Get Easier With Small Steps Every Day
The thing is, when I went back the next day things got slightly easier and I was able to do a little bit more, and feel less out of breath.
I could run a little bit further and lift slightly heavier weights.
The process got easier the more I stuck with going to the gym.
Incremental gains were achieved every day that built up my self-confidence and motivation to continue.
Those incremental gains also reinforced my commitment and self-confidence to continue.
When I sat back and looked at what happened, when I looked at my experience I realised that this commitment and taking one small step at a time had helped my overcome that specific fear.
I have used the process of being committed and using courage to boost my self-confidence when I have a specific fearful situation on every occasion since the gym.
My capabilities had increased.
I could run faster for longer and lift heavier weights than I imagined.
Now, I still have fears, most of us do.
But now I know that I can overcome them and come out the other side with increased self-confidence.
This knowledge has helped me, and my coaching clients, overcome some of the fears we’ve faced, become mentally stronger, build our capabilities and increase our self-confidence in the process.
So, how can you overcome your own fear and boost self-confidence?
Your fears may be completely different than mine, but you aspire to truly be yourself and build your self-confidence.
Whether it’s public speaking, attending networking events, putting yourself out there, or tackling a scary project, we all have fears.
How to Boost Your Self-Confidence
If you are currently feeling low in self-esteem or self-confidence, is it possible to transform this feeling into one of higher self-esteem or self-confidence?
In the moment, during bouts of low confidence this may not seem possible, but I believe there are intentional actions you can take to increase your self-confidence.
You have the internal power to take control of your confidence and change it to create higher levels of self-confidence.
By taking control of your life, and taking the opportunity to boost self-confidence, through intentional actions and habits you can increase your self-confidence without the help of others
Below, I run through 10 proven strategies that will make you feel more confident.
These are a mix of proven strategies for my clients and some that have worked really well for me.
You don’t need to do all of them. One or two may align with you more than others, so pick the ones that appeal most and give them a try.
If the ones you’re tried don’t work, try a different one to find the perfect actions to boost your self-confidence.
Here are the 10 proven strategies, in no specific order:
1. Increase Your Capabilities
How can you boost self-confidence? By increasing your capabilities.
And how do you do that?
By making a commitment and having the courage to follow through.
Through practice and achieving improvement every day.
Just do small bits at a time.
If you want to be a more competent speaker, for example, don’t try to speak in front of 100 people on your first go.
Just begin to speak more.
Speak at smaller networking events. Record some short videos.
Talk to a small group of close friends or peers on a subject you know well.
The more you speak, the better you’ll be. That incremental improvement will boost self-confidence.
Set aside 15 minutes to practice speaking (for example), and the practice will increase your capabilities.
2. Use Your Past as A Guide
Think back to a time when you achieved something but were fearful at the beginning.
What lessons can you learn? How was your confidence when you achieved that thing?
Was there are process you went through to overcome that fear?
If you have a number of examples of overcoming fear, you may notice patterns developing that you can use to overcome any current challenge that scares you.
This simple thinking exercise will prove to you that you have the ability to overcome things you are fearful about.
Knowledge of previous achievements can help boost self-confidence.
3. Start with Small Frogs
Rather than jumping straight in and tackling the big frogs, set a small goal and achieve it. This helps remove overwhelm.
People often make the mistake of shooting for something far bigger than their current capability.
When they fail, they get discouraged, frustrated and start beating themselves up for failing.
Instead, focus on achieving something you know you can achieve.
Once you’ve achieved it, you’ll feel good and self-confident.
Then, set another small goal and achieve that.
This builds positive momentum and belief.
You’ll develop new capabilities, and in turn boost self-confidence.
Soon you’ll be setting bigger (but still achievable) goals and achieving those too.
4. Focus on The Positive
Rather than focus on weaknesses that you wish to improve, focus on the positive and expand them.
One of the things I learned when I started my coaching business, was how to replace negative thoughts (see next action) with positive ones.
My intentionally creating positive thoughts, and reframing bad situations into a positive focus, made great things happen.
With that tiny mind shift, I was able to get new clients quicker and stay confident and positive every day.
5. Stop Negative Self Talk
This is an essential mindset to master to boost your self-confidence.
You have to be aware of your own thinking and give yourself some time and space to think about your thinking.
Become more aware of your self-talk and the thoughts you have about yourself and what you’re doing.
If there are specific themes to the negative self-talk, step back from that thought and ask yourself “why am I thinking that?” “is there a more positive way of looking at this?”
When you catch negative self-talk, try to replace the thought with a positive one.
If you think you are far away from achieving your goals, stop and reframe that thought.
Think instead about how far you’ve come from where you started.
Negative become positive and self-confidence rises.
6. Understand Your Unique Strengths
When you spend time doing things you love and you’re great at your self-confidence is at a high level.
Conversely, doing things that bore you, that frustrate you can lower your energy.
Spend some time understanding your unique strengths, and then try to spend more time doing those things that utilise those strengths.
7. Celebrate Achievements Every Day
Self-confidence grows when we achieve something that is important to us.
However, we often fail to recognise and celebrate all the great little wins we achieve every day.
At the end of each day, write down 3 things you’ve achieved or are grateful for.
This simple habit of celebrating achievements is one of the best practices for boosting self-confidence daily.
8. Really Understand Yourself
When you’re trying to overcome a negative self-image and replace it with self-confidence, your enemy is often yourself.
Most personal transformations start internally and come from making a commitment.
The key to creating this transformation is to really understand yourself.
Meditation and journaling are great tools to kick-start this process.
9. Act Positive
Thinking positive thoughts and creating a growth focused mindset is great, but you have to put them into action.
Courageous action is often the key to developing self-confidence.
When positive results come from taking action, you can change yourself internally and externally.
Talk to people in a positive way, become a creator and put energy into your actions.
Do this action every day and you’ll soon start to notice a difference.
10. Express More Gratitude
Being grateful and expressing gratitude is a very positive and rewarding activity.
There are many different ways to create a gratitude mindset.
You can start journaling and writing down all the things you’re grateful for.
Before you meet someone, think about all the things you’re grateful to that person for.
Send notes and have more phone calls with the people that matter most expressing your gratitude for them.
These habits can create a very positive mindset and boost your self-confidence as you understand that you have so many things in your life that are great.1
Overcoming fear will take commitment and a lot of courage.
The 10 proven strategies I’ve laid out in this article will help you overcome fear and make you feel more confident.
Some of them will work really well together to expand the impact, whilst others will work well in isolation.
Find the best solution for you that works and stick with it.
A version of this article originally published here.