Confidence is a state of mind. A state, in which we feel we can move a mountain!
In times of uncertainty, for example when considering a scary leap or when we simply don’t know the outcome of a situation, our mind means well in protecting us and therefore comes up with tons of reasons why we should stay where we are – in our comfort zone where we are a subject expert and where we know every potential outcome of the next steps.
When we challenge our protection mechanism, our irrational brain takes over and overwhelms us with feelings. Fear of failure kicks in. We start criticising ourselves, feel we lack the knowledge and can get really insecure. Soon after, we come up with good reasons why we should perhaps postpone our move and not shake things up right now. And here we are again – back in this vicious cycle.
When going for something big in life, we need a good amount of confidence so that we dare to reach for our ambitions and don’t let our emotions stop us. As Katty Kay, author of The Confidence Code, nicely put it “Confidence is life’s enabler – it is the quality that turns thoughts into action”. It is one of the main ingredients that is required when we don’t know what our next step entails.
People with a healthy amount of confidence have an appearance; An aura that shines and somehow impacts people around them. They seem to take more risks and look at the bright side of life, even when things aren’t always going according to plan.
Building our confidence in times of uncertainty is inevitable. And it can be learned and mastered through practice and self-reflection. Here is how.
Confidence building exercises
Plan and prepare for the unknown
When taking a leap that results in not knowing what’s next, it is wise to plan ahead. For example, if you are considering to leave your full time job to pursue another career, plan ahead by speaking with people who have done this step before you and back yourself up in every area that could possibly throw you off track. Usual considerations would be your financial situation, fears that are likely going to hit you, and who is going to support you. Think about investing in a mentor or a coach, who can be your sparring partner during that transition.
Knowing what to expect makes us feel prepared and ultimately more confident. Read through this related article that describes potential fears one by one.
We are programmed to feel guilty if we haven’t given something our best shot. We tend to listen to our inner critic that tells us we are not good enough, not smart enough, don’t earn enough money and so on. Once in that trap, we keep beating ourselves up and remain in this mindset of negativity. Sometimes even certain friends or family can trigger our confidence to shrink.
Drop the negative mindset, distance yourself from those who aren’t good for you and surround yourself with positive energy, enthusiasm and gratitude. This is difficult at first, however it can go a long way.
Be conscious about your body language & appearance
The way we speak, move and interact with people plays a big part in how we feel. Simply being aware of our posture, for example, quickly reveals what gives us confidence. Wearing clothes that make us feel powerful and maintaining an attitude that is full of kindness and smiles support how we want to be perceived.
Try pulling your shoulders back and really be present during your next conversation. Be mindful (see related article Beginners guide to mindfulness), curious and actively listen. Talk slowly and notice the difference on the impact you have. It is likely you will get positive recognition.
Getting our endorphins released is one of the most powerful ways to increase our confidence. We can see the results so obviously, through stats and body improvement that we tend to approach every task that follows with the attitude to just ‘hit the ground running’.
Sports, movement, and fresh air plays such an integral part of our success, and yet is it often the first thing that people remove from their schedule due to ‘more important’ commitments. Make sure that you don’t compromise on your own well-being and treat it as important as other areas in your life.
For times when nothing else works
It happens to all of us that, despite having found good routine that sets us up in the right mindset, we do have days that are just not in our favour. Prepare for such days and have something in place that helps you to be ok with this situation. Some ideas could be to have a list ready that shows all your moments that you are proud of, getting lost in a novel or art work, calling someone who can lift you up or simply take a deep breath. Tomorrow is a new day to start all over again.