Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Build Confidence


Confidence is an attribute needed by many, yet sometimes it seems it's achieved by few.  Want to start your own business?  You'll need some confidence to sell it and believe you can make it happen.  Want to become a great investor?  You'll need confidence to ride the waves of economic cycles without losing your mind.

Building confidence doesn't just make us better with building money sources; it's also often a co requisite of a happy, fulfilling life.  So how do you get there?

1. Recognize the amazing things you've done.

While humility is a noble attribute, taking some time to sit down with yourself and put to paper the things you have accomplished in your life can do you a world of good.  Your accomplishments don't have to be what the world would consider monumental.  Have you helped someone get through a hard time?  Have you ever felt like you nailed a project at work?  Have you made a difference in the life of a child?  Or worked well on a team?  This list is not exhaustive.  You have done great things in your life, even if you've marginalized them to this point.  Brainstorm and recognize them.  You are awesome, and knowing that will plant the seed of confidence.

2. Talk to Yourself in the Third Person

That sounds silly doesn't it?  But studies show that it works.  We say things to and about ourselves that we would never say of others.  But when we talk to ourselves, we somehow feel we don't have to be nice and kind and observe proprieties.  

When people use "I" and they're feeling negative, they tend to say things like "I can't do this." They go on to list all their flaws that support that argument.  But when they switch to "(insert your own name here)" they tend to say things like, "You can do this.  You're amazing, and you've overcome much worse." And they go on to list all the reasons why the task at hand is possible.

You may think you'll sound crazy, but at least you'll be crazy and confident.

3.  Get Prepared and Educated

Self-talk is great for building confidence.  But I'd never advise that someone give themselves a third-person pep talk in the mirror, and immediately commence to throw money in investments they knew nothing about.  A huge part of actually doing anything is learning how to do it, though it's a step we'd like to forget or use as an excuse for forward progress.  It's time-consuming and sometimes difficult, but learning about whatever it is you'd like to accomplish will help you become successful at it, which in return will instill some hard-earned, well-deserved confidence.

4.  Fake It Until You Make It

Sometimes even after we've done all of these things, we still feel trepidation as we stand on the cliff of action.  At these times, we just have to fake it.  Don't feel like you can run a company, despite your market research, education on the subject, and belief in your product?  Act like you do as you walk into that investor's meeting.  One great way to do this is by practicing power poses before you start an activity you're feeling nervous about.  They work not because others see you posing like Superman in front of a mirror in the bathroom, but because you see it, you feel it, and you end up exuding belief in yourself in front of others.  Acting confident makes others believe in you, and, eventually, you'll learn to believe in you, too.

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