Self-confidence is the first requirement of any undertaking. Competence, professionalism and interpersonal relationship skills are some of the crucial ingredients for professional/workplace success, but they can take you far only with increased self-confidence. Self-confidence is a positive belief and is more specifically trust in one’s ability to achieve some goal. When you believe in your capabilities and put in the work, you can do more than you think. Self-confidence also brings about more happiness. Typically, when you are confident in your abilities you are happier due to your successes. Also, when you are feeling better about your capabilities, the more energized and motivated you are to take action and achieve your goals.

Fortunately, if you believe or feel you’re not good enough for something, you can change it. With some reflection, hard work, and perhaps a shift in perception you can work towards a strong and stable belief in yourself. While self-confidence is not typically something one is born with, it can be built successfully by taking the right steps.

Below are some of the concrete actions that can be taken to increase self-confidence and to live life more boldly. While this list is not comprehensive, taking just a few of these actions will help to put you squarely on the path to a fuller and more rewarding life.

1. Clean up your self-image

You have a mental picture of yourselves, and it determines how confident you are in yourselves. That image determines the results you get in every area of your life —you cannot outperform it. But this picture isn’t fixed and immutable. If it’s not a very good one, change it. Figure out why you see yourself that way, and find a way to fix it. The key is to practice seeing, thinking, and feeling yourself the way you want to become, and the new image will begin to take root.

2. Dress nicely

It’s amazing how much more confident you feel when you shower and put on nice clothes. You’ll feel successful and presentable and ready to greet and take on the world. It will turn your mood around, and you’ll carry yourself with more confidence. You’ll talk to people more positively and people will take notice of you. It doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a Rs. 5000 outfit, but could mean casual clothes that are nice looking and presentable.

3. Get to know yourself

Even though you might think you know yourselves well, psychological studies prove otherwise. They indicate that most of us are deluded about ourselves and our capabilities because of some negative beliefs. Think about the good things about yourself—the things you can do well, the things you like, the things you’ve accomplished, the successes you’ve had and the negative beliefs shall start vanish.

Dig deep within yourself, and with time, you’ll emerge with greater self-confidence.

4. Increase your competence

Study and practice your craft to become better at it. Start with something small that you know you can do. For example, if you want to be a more competent professional, start by reading more related to your field of profession. Your competence and confidence will grow day by day by implementing these practices.

5. Understand Your Values

Most people don’t truly understand their personal values. Time and again, it is found that once people understand their values – who they are and why they do what they do – their confidence skyrockets.

6. Change a habit

It’s not easy to change a habit, so start with something small, like waking up 15 minutes earlier or meditating for 10 minutes a day. If you do it for a month, you’ll be eager to continue or improve the practice. When you’ve accomplished it, you’ll feel like a million bucks.

7. Learn about your potential

You can do this in many ways, but one of the surest ways to do it is through reading/studying books on self-help. You can also learn about your potential by watching, listening to and studying successful people around you. You will automatically become more confident as you discover who you really are. Remember! never ever undervalue yourself because it is said that “If you really put a small value on yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”

8. Focus on Small Wins

People are often so focused on the end result of a huge project, they fail to consider the small daily wins they have on their way to the end result. This can lead to anxiety and burnout quickly. When you are unsure of yourself at work, focus on these small daily wins to get small boosts of confidence. These small wins can avalanche into a huge boost of confidence over time.

9. Ask Yourself Empowering Questions

If you are feeling unsure of yourself, here is a 3-step method to help you re-focus: (1) Smile. You will power up your cortex and stay out of fear. (2) Catch your negative voice and tell that voice, “Caught you!” (3) Ask a question that focuses your mind on a solution (e.g. “How can I complete this project by Friday?”). Don’t try to answer it right away. Just keep asking, and the answers will come!

10. Do something

If you change what you do, you change what you are. Taking action to accomplish something is almost always better than not doing anything. Of course, doing something could lead to mistakes. But mistakes are a natural and necessary part of life. It’s how we learn. Without mistakes, we’d never get better.

11. Stand or Sit in a Posture of Confidence

An individual’s posture does not just reflect the level of confidence or insecurity, but sends messages to the brain that informs you exactly how you feel. That being said, if you need to feel confident, you want your posture to send your brain that message, so stand tall, sit up straight, and have a smile on your face.

12. Be Unapologetically You

This one is my most favourite: “Be Unapologetically You.” Confidence is an easy thing to lose and a hard thing to gain. And so often, you lose it when you are busy trying to be someone else at work and worrying about what everyone else thinks. When you start embracing who youare and being true to yourself, that’s when authenticity comes through. Be the best version of yourself, and embrace it. Stop imitating others.

If you want to be confident, find out who you are by always believing the best about yourself. You do that by refusing to think or talk about the way you don’t want to be. You must see yourself the way you want to be—not in the future, but now. Start thinking, walking, talking and acting like the person you want to become, Today!

Believing the best about yourself is not Pollyanna thinking. After all, theology and science indicate that you are God’s highest form of creation. Now that’s something you can believe in.

And when you do, you’ll open yourself to new ideas and possibilities like never before. Would like to end this article with following quote:

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” – Walt Disney

(The author of this article is a Practicing Company Secretary and can be reached at [email protected])

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September 2021