I was the least confident person on the face of the planet.
Well, I’m not confident that’s true.
Jokes aside, to answer, “how to be more confident” we should look at it as a skill. But before that let me tell you an incredibly embarrassing story so you get the picture.
Senior year in college, I am teaching an engineering class. Oh wow! It was actually one of those “easy A” classes that nobody took seriously. But I was teaching it, so I took it seriously.
Each day I need to fill an hour and a half of class time. That’s pretty intimidating. If you sort of know me, you know that I am introverted, and I like to hide in the corner in all my classes. Oh, also I was single all throughout college, because I had no confidence whatsoever.
Alright, with that out of the way. The first day of class I am explaining the syllabus, everything as normal. Stuttering here and there, whatever. Then this attractive girl in the front row, that I totally didn’t even notice, raises her hand and asks a question.
There is a mistake on the syllabus, and I have no idea what the right answer is.
Everyone is waiting for my response, and I just stare at her. Stare. At. Her.
The class is staring at me, completely silent.
It’s getting very awkward, very fast.
Then, finally, another student answered her question.
Thank God that’s over.
If I had the option I probably would have dropped that class.
But I didn’t need to, she did instead… and so did half the class.
Who wants a creepy teacher?
So with that out of the way, today class, we are going to talk about confidence.
What is Confidence?
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Confidence is a feeling of certainty. It’s a feeling that you can accomplish something, that you have the ability required, or that you know the outcome.
It’s a sense of self-efficacy — you know that you are capable. Confidence is a state. It’s a feeling, and it is something that you can control.
How to Build More Confidence
“Believe you can and you’re already halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
The subheading is, “How to build confidence,” not, “how to be born with confidence.” Many people may think that confidence is a trait, or characteristic; if you weren’t born with it, then you are out of luck. That’s not true! Not even close!
If you think about it, everyone has a moment when they aren’t confident. A time when they feel doubt, or fear, worry, or imagine a scenario that isn’t ideal.
There isn’t a single person who is always confident! The important part about confidence, is being able to turn it on when you need it.
When having it would make the difference. That’s what we are going to discuss today.
Turning on confidence is as simple as changing the way you are using your body, what you are focusing on, and what you believe.
You can turn on confidence by using any, or all of these techniques.
Change how you are using your body.
Breathing shallow versus breathing deep. Talking loudly versus talking softly. Standing up straight and looking up, versus slouched and looking down.
The simplest way to make yourself confident is to ACT IT OUT with your body. Just act confident, and you will be confident!
Don’t believe me? Test it by breathing in really deep and shouting I CAN DO IT. I CAN DO ANYTHING I PUT MY MIND TO! Squeeze your hands into fists and shoot your hands into the air after a deep breath!
At the most basic level, move with confidence, and you will feel confident. Move rapidly, with assurance, and you will feel powerful and confident.
I like to do a little shoulder arm dance in my chair where I pretend I’m strutting around while I’m still sitting to get myself to feel confident. Create your own confidence movement to trigger yourself into a state of confidence.
Change how you are using your focus.
If you are focusing on “Plan B” once “Plan A” fails. Then you are not going to feel confident. If you even CONSIDER that what you are going to do might fail, then you aren’t going to be confident.
What you need to focus on is how it is going to succeed. Vividly see in your mind success at whatever it is you need confidence for. If it’s teaching a class, imagine all the students raving about how amazing a teacher you are
Imagine yourself talking to someone you find attractive and you feel an amazing connection because you have similar interests. DO NOT imagine being rejected, feeling awkward, or being humiliated.
I like the idea of closing your eyes and saying “I hope I achieve my dreams” versus closing your eyes and saying “I expect to achieve my dreams.” It feels different, like one is going to happen, and one might not. Choose the empowering version!
Even if you really don’t know the outcome, just imagine the best case scenario so that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success, because otherwise you are only undermining your efforts.
Change what you believe
We all create beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of based on the results that we get in life. When I was in college I would really get down on myself, as I’m sure you can tell. A technique I discovered was collecting all the emails, awards, anything that had the word, “Congratulations!” in it.
I put them all into the same place, and whenever I needed assurance that I am capable, I would open it up and see all the great things I’ve accomplished.
The same is possible for you! Imagine all the great things that you have done in your life. I know that you are an incredibly skilled person who has achieved so much. Sometimes the most accomplished people are the most depressed, because they are always focusing on ways to improve.
I know that I fall into that trap sometimes too! Change your focus to things that you have accomplished for a bit!
But what we have to remember is that we have grown so much and even if there isn’t evidence in front of us, we have evidence behind us that proves we are capable. Create your own collection of proof to change what you believe about yourself.
Think about it another way; if you are confident, imagine how much more action you will take toward your goals. Not only will you take more action, but you will be expecting a certain outcome. That expectation is confidence, and it will mean you are fully committed to your action because you know your time won’t be wasted.
But, when you are filled with doubt, you aren’t sure if your actions will create the result you want. And as a result you might not give it your all and you won’t perform as well! Which brings us to the question: why sabotage your own success by feeling anything other than confident?
Force yourself to imagine the best case scenario, and totally believe it, even if it seems impossible, just so that you give yourself the best chance at success.
I highly recommend Personal Power by Tony Robbins for more information on taking control of your body, focus, and beliefs. The audio goes into more detail on how to be more confident and taking control of your destiny, which can only be a good thing.
Thank you for reading, and remember, confidence is something you develop. The habit of being confident can be created just like any other habit. You can do it!