Contrary to popular belief, true confidence isn’t built upon external achievements. You aren’t confident because you are a successful business man, or a NFL quarterback, or a famous singer. Sure, success in the eyes of society makes you more self-assured and boosts your ego, but that’s not true confidence and it can be gone from one moment to the next.
How confident is a quarterback who gets injured and can’t play anymore? Or a singer who had a one hit wonder and can’t seem to come up with the next big thing?
Fortunately, there is a way to build confidence that doesn’t rely on external achievements or genetics. Anyone can do it. All you need is balls.
So without further ado here is my guide to building true confidence that I have not only successfully applied in my own life, but also with every one of my clients back when I was a coach. Have fun!
1. Become comfortable in every situation
The confidence you see on TV, at concerts, sports events, even at your local doctor’s office, is what I call comfort confidence.
You basically see all these people in their own metaphorical living rooms. They have spent thousands of hours playing on that field, acting in front of that camera, and treating patients in that office.
But take the same people and put them outside of their comfort zone and often times they will suddenly transform into shy little kids.
To become truly confident you have to feel comfortable in many different situations. So, from now on, pay close attention to when you feel a little uncomfortable in a situation. Write it down and put yourself into the same situation until you feel comfortable in it.
E.g., let’s say you had to give a presentation at work and it made you a nervous wreck. Guess what, from now on you should volunteer to give presentations. After the first four or five you will start to feel more comfortable and slowly but surely your confidence will rise.
Tip: The best way to expand your comfort zone, I know of, is traveling alone. Pick a different culture than you are used to and go there for at least a month. No fancy hotels allowed!
2. Find out who you are
If I met you on the street and asked “Who are you?”, could you answer it with more than your name and job? If not, then what you need is find answers to the “Who am I?” question.
- I am a friend who is there when it counts.
- I am a restless searcher who doesn’t give up until he has reached his goal.
- I am a passionate lover.
- I am a person with a good heart.
- I am a family man.
- I am a person who loves animals, plants, rivers, lakes, forests,…
- I am intelligent.
- I am…
To become confident about yourself you first have to know who you are.
3. Face your bs fears
When I was a child I was afraid of everything: height, dogs, snakes, darkness, spiders, other people, the forest, being kidnapped, sharks, kissing,…
Some fears made a lot of sense, but others were complete nonsense and limited my quality of life.
So what did I do?
- I started rock climbing and challenged my fear of heights.
- I helped a friend with breeding bird spiders and challenged my fear of big but harmless spiders.
- I often walked through the forest and stayed until it got dark and challenged my fear of monsters in the dark forest.
I am not writing this to brag or anything. Everyone can do it! At one point I just felt miserable enough to finally get off my lazy ass and do something.
When you overcome an old fear something interesting happens. Not only do you become fearless in that one area, you also seem to become less fearful in other areas as well.
Now, what are your fears? Write them down and come up with ways to confront them. Take baby steps or else you will overwhelm yourself.
4. Become grateful
Have you ever noticed that it’s impossible to feel insecure when you are grateful? It’s true, try it!
Gratitude is a wonderful instrument for us because it makes all the tiny things that you think are problems seem unimportant. It opens your eyes for how lucky you should feel about all the great things you have been given.
What I recommend you do is keep a gratitude journal. That means you write down what you are grateful for on a daily basis. Write the sentences in a way that sparks the feeling of gratitude inside of you.
Here are some examples that work for me:
- I am grateful for having a roof over my head and enough food in my fridge.
- I am grateful for each member of my family, their unconditional love, and their support.
- I am grateful for living in a safe, peaceful country with great medical care.
- I am grateful for having friends that I can count on no matter what.
- I am grateful for being with a beautiful and caring girlfriend who has the biggest heart of everyone I know.
Gratitude is key to an array of positive psychological effects. Don’t take my word for it, here is what science says:
“Gratitude is concluded to be uniquely important to psychological well-being. …”
You now have all the tools. What you do with them is up to you.
No matter if you stick with this guide or not, please trust me when I tell you that confronting your fears, enlarging your comfort zone, getting to know yourself, and being a generally grateful and happy human being is one heck of an achievement!
And isn’t that something to be proud of?