1. Conquering Conflict
Confidence and conflict. They simply do not complement one other. When anything appears to be going wrong, your concerns can often impair your confidence. If anything does go wrong, shame and guilt can both have the same effect.
Because conflict has so much negative potential, you might avoid it at all costs. But this mindset is keeping you from growing into a more confident person.
We derive the most self-esteem from our ability to overcome obstacles. Conquered conflicts show you exactly what you’re capable of. Those feelings of pride and triumph will boost your performance and motivate you to tackle new challenges.
You can easily grow your confidence by confronting and resolving small conflicts. It could be anything from an argument with a coworker to a clash of personalities. It’s important to practice handling those little conflicts effectively.
Eventually it’ll work your way up from minor issues to major ones, and by then those conflicts won’t seem nearly as intimidating. Your fears will unravel and your confidence will soar, giving you the tools to handle even the rockiest situations.
2. Partial Objectivity
How can someone be truly objective about their own life? Can you really remove all personal biases from any decision?
Most people would argue that you couldn’t, and they’re probably right. It’s impossible to make something 100% objective.
Everything you think or everything you know has been influenced by something. In fact, the person that you are is largely a product of the world around you, your parents and friends shaped your personality, your school molded your interests.
The entire framework that you use to judge everything comes from somewhere, and this means you can never really remove yourself from any choice that you make. But it doesn’t hurt to try.
Assume you’re beginning your first day at a new job. It’s a more senior position than you’ve ever had. You’re driven to succeed, yet you’re concerned about making a good first impression. You want to come across as strong and confident. You want your employees to appreciate and respect you, yet all you can think about is fear and self-doubt right now. You’re convinced that they’ll see straight through you the moment you walk into that office. They’ll understand how terrified you are. So, how can objectivity assist you in making the best first impression?
Objective thinking will train you to block out your fears. You can free yourself from that swirling vortex of doubts and uncontrollable emotions. Objectivity gives you a much-needed sense of control over your life because it shows you where you need to grow.
In other words, being objective before your first day on the job will force you to change your perspective. Instead of constantly worrying about how others will perceive you, you can reflect on how you see yourself.
Do you think you’re confident? Do you think you deserve their respect?
Ultimately, your job is not to anticipate every person’s judgement in the room. That is simply not realistic. Even if you are the most self-assured person on the planet, there will always be some who wish to criticize you. It’s also important to realize that everyone in the room has their own set of worries. Because they already have enough to worry about, none of them will judge you worse than you judge yourself.
While you’re scared of looking insecure, they might be worried about coming off as annoying or lazy. So, when I say be objective, I mean try to view yourself from the lens of one hypothetical person who isn’t you. If you can satisfy that person, then you have nothing to worry about.
But what’s the point of knowing all this if objectivity isn’t even possible?
Well, that isn’t entirely true. You can’t be 100% objective, but you can be, let’s say 80 or 75%. Partial objectivity is way better than none. It still shifts your perspective, builds confidence and relieves stress.
Partial objectivity will still show you where you’re going wrong. It really isn’t important that you learn how to be completely objective right away, but don’t waste your time worrying about little biases here and there. The simple fact that you’re trying to look objectively at your life is often enough to change it.
3. Destructive Modesty
People who struggle with confidence frequently fail to see what they have to offer the world.
This is especially true for emerging artists and enterprises. You look around at the thousands of professionals who have carved out their own niche in the world and feel as if you don’t belong. Each of them appears to have something unique that you do not. A message to send, a change they wish to make, or perhaps you have something to say. You’re simply too concerned with what other people may think to say it.
This level of modesty is acceptable in some contexts. It’s always a good idea to keep yourself and your work in context. It assists you in managing expectations and relieving stress. It will help you remain humble in the face of failure, but it will also reduce your confidence. It will keep you from realizing your worth.
It’s easy to look at all the other amazing people in your field and value what they have to offer. But it’s much harder to feel the same way about something you’ve created.
To build your confidence, remember that whatever you create will be one of a kind. Whether you like it or not.
Even if you have the same idea as someone else, the fact that it’s yours will completely change how it turns out. Just look at all the different companies out there that make the exact same product or the artists. That experiment with identical subject matter. You may not think you have anything to offer the world, but your unique perspective is plenty.
4. Prepare For Nightmares
Lack of confidence often stems from a fear of the unknown. When you’re thrown into a new situation, you might feel out of control, your jumbled, frazzled and confused, which will destroy your self-esteem.
You might feel paralyzed simply because you don’t know what’s waiting on the other side. Here, take this example.
You have an office job that you don’t particularly enjoy. You’re always talking about how you want to pursue your artistic dreams, but there aren’t any opportunities. Suddenly, the ideal position becomes available. You might submit an application right away, but instead of pursuing your ambition, you settle for the same old office job.
Why? Because it’s easy and familiar. You know what’s expected of you, you know how to handle challenges. Yes, you’ve always dreamed of having that position. But you don’t know if you can actually handle it. You aren’t confident enough to dive head first into the unknown.
Luckily, there’s an easy trick to help you move past that fear. You have to prepare for the worst situation that you can possibly think of. Start by visualizing it step by step. You can even act it out if you want to.
The most important part is that you experience your biggest nightmare way ahead of time. After you’ve rehearsed your nightmare, you should figure out how to stop it from happening.
Taking precautions is not a bad thing. People are often afraid of being careful because it brings their concerns to life, but that is not how it works. In reality, confronting your worries directly frequently prevents them from limiting your performance.
For example, if you’re worried about messing up your speech. You should bring note cards with you. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to go blank in the middle of your presentation. Nine times out of 10, simply having those notecards in your pocket will keep you from using them.
In other words, taking precautions isn’t just a solution when things go wrong. It will also keep your nightmares from coming to life.
5. Defend Yourself
Your lack of confidence might come from the people around you. They might belittle your ideas or make you question your goals. They can fill your head with so many doubts that your confidence just falls by the wayside.
It’s tempting to take what other people say as fact, especially if you have low self-esteem. You might naturally assume that everyone knows what’s best for you better than you do.
For example, suppose a classmate rejects one of your presentation ideas. The majority of people would believe them. They are dismissive of their own views and are unwilling to say anything else. Rather than taking on a leadership role. They simply fade into the background because someone didn’t like their concept.
But why does one person’s opinion feel like such a big deal?
Well, when someone doesn’t like what you’re saying, it doesn’t seem like just one person. You wonder if everyone else is thinking the same thing. Oftentimes the spotlight effect will start to kick in. You feel like you’re the center of every bit of negative attention.
You start to imagine all the critical things that people might say to you, and before long you can’t even think about the project because you’re too worried about being judged.
So how do you turn this situation around? How can someone else’s criticism build your confidence and instead of destroying it?
When someone makes fun of your ideas or objectives. Take a stand for yourself. If you valued an idea enough to express it aloud, it’s worth defending. Those doubtful voices in your head may not go away easy, but it’s critical that you actively believe in yourself.
This builds confidence by forcing you to value your own opinions more than other peoples. Yes, constructive criticism is important. Sometimes you need other perspectives to see something clearly, but most of the time your opinion matters far more than anyone else’s.
So, if you believe in something. Don’t let anyone tear you down.