Like a dark, gripping aura, fear can stop you right in your tracks. It can trigger bouts of anxiety, worry and inertia.
Here’s the thing about fear, also manifested as a lack of self-confidence: It is universal. Even the people who are seemingly courageous and bold enough to stand in front of hundreds or even millions of people also experience a sense of fear.
But, here’s the difference between those who are self-confident and those who are not: They’ve learnt the skill of doing it anyway, in spite of the fear.
That’s the essence of self-confident: Cultivating the courage to do it, regardless of feeling the fear.
Here are 3 steps to proactively build the self-confidence to do the things you have been too fearful to do:
Think about it: How comfortable is it to stand and perform in front of millions of fans? If you ask most popular singers and performers, they will tell you that before stepping onto the stage, they often shake with fear. In this fascinating podcast, UK multi award winning artist Laura Mvula talks about the crippling stage fright that almost ruined he career and how she tackles it.
A great way to actively build your confidence is making peace with uncomfortable situations. These situations yank you out of your comfort zone and put you in seemingly vulnerable situations that expose and challenge you.
If you are too afraid to speak in public, the best way to conquer your fear is to take up opportunities to make presentations to a group of people. Without a doubt, standing to speak to strangers may be uncomfortable, even terrifying. But doing it anyway is a great step in mastering the art of self-confidence.
A major cause of low self-confidence is poor self-imaging. This means that we are often less courageous when we think we are not good enough.
You will feel less confident when you think you need to be an expert before you can do what needs to be done.
It is certainly a mindset you need to cultivate day by day by pushing yourself to do things you otherwise would not be bold enough to do.
Through all this, you also need to remind yourself that you are OK. Yes, you are open to learning from others and from experience but believe in your OK-ness and remind yourself every day about your default status- You are OK.
Often, lack of self-confidence is less about lack of ability. It really is about having unrealistic expectations and trying to meet other people’s standards of what is acceptable. Relax, breathe and just be you.
This takes us to the next point…
External influence can impact on a person’s level of confidence.
People who are extremely concerned about what others expect of them are often entrapped in a web of low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.
Are these your predominant assumptions?
‘I must always project a perfect image.’
‘People must always love and approve of me.’
‘If I fail, then I am a failure.’
‘People say I am incapable of XYZ, so it must be true.’
These are just a few underlying assumptions that could be dampening your self-confidence. You might need to list down your own personal assumptions and positive alternatives that allow you to have realistic expectations of yourself.
Once you unveil and challenge your assumptions, you will gradually start to make peace with your OK-ness and your ability to do the things that seem very uncomfortable.
Outward appearance is essential to contributing to your self-image. However, to develop a rock-solid confidence, you need to do the inside job of redefining your assumptions and cultivating the boldness to put yourself in uncomfortable situation, feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
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