Confidence is one of those traits that allows you to do a bunch of things, right. It allows you to be comfortable around people, it helps your relationships, it helps your production at work, and it just helps your life, right. If “feeling good” came in consumables, it would probably be advertised as some kind of confidence elixir. 🙂
That’s because the two go hand in hand. So today I want to help you discover specific things you must work on to improve your confidence in any situation.
Sam Horn is a communication expert and Tedx Speaker. She’s written a number of books on communication and confidence, including: What’s Holding You Back?: 30 Days to Have The Confidence to Do What You Want, Meet Whom You Want, and Go Where You Want
According to her research, confidence can be boiled down to 6 components:
1. Communication Skills
Knowing how to express yourself in a way that helps you get what you want, need, and deserve. Most of us can sense how important this is just in terms of life-skills. But if you’re serious improving your life, feeling more confident, having better relationships with people, being persuasive and understanding negotiation, then I highly suggest you read books like:
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie (An absolute classic)
- The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane (More appropriate for work situations)
I have also written on that topic before:
2. (Self) Concept
Your “self-concept” is the collection of ideas you have about who you are and you think you should be.
So how you would describe yourself currently, what adjectives would you use, what you think you’re like now…etc And what you’d really like to be known as, what adjectives you would use to describe that, what you perceive as being the “ultimate” evolution of your personality…etc
In her book, Sam Horn asks us to consider the gap that can exist between those two notions. And she says that usually the narrower that gap, the healthier your self-concept.
So that’s something to think about…
Confidence comes naturally to those who essentially are the way they want to be. Makes sense.
And if you’re not the way you’d want to be, What’s Holding You Back?
It doesn’t seem like it but it’s actually a very powerful question. For some people it’s the same as asking: Why don’t I feel confident in myself?
Whatever is holding you back from moving towards a healthier self-concept is also what’s holding you back from simply feeling good about yourself on a day-to-day basis, and that’s why I think it’s something anybody deserves to have addressed.
No-brainer. I think everybody here realizes that, when you’re good at something, it tends to affect your entire life in a positive way.
So what’s an area of expertise that you can point to in your life and take pride in?
What are some hobbies that bring you joy as you practice them?
What are some pieces of evidence, past or present, that you can point to and attest of your competence in one or many areas of practice in your life?
In her book Sam Horn says it best: Competence is almost synonymous with confidence.
Again, I think most people realize that. It’s just that most of us we’re in between jobs, or still building. When it comes to hobbies most of us “used to”. It’s tough when you’re not in a position to really feel as competent as you’d want, either because you’ve stopped, or you’re switching to something new, or you’re still in the beginning stages.
That said, it’s still valuable to have this understanding at the forefront of your mind. Maybe it’s been in the back-ground but now with this information of how hobbies and career actually impact your self-assurance, hopefully it helps you put these things into perspective.
Hopefully it helps you understand just how critical these things are to living a fulfilling life, and maybe it inspires you to reevaluate some priorities.
Because in the end self-worth does amount, to some degree, to straight-up feeling like you’re worth something.
A couple weeks ago I talked about how meaning is what allows us to overcome personal tragedies. (Supersurvivors, Dr. David Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz) As humans, whatever our conditions, a crucial factor in survival, and well-being is meaning.
We want to know that our work matters.
We want to know that our sacrifices matter.
That our triumphs, matter.
Any time you can create that sort of exchange between yourself and the world, your confidence will be positively affected because it’s just such a great feeling.
It’s hard to have a healthy regard for yourself when you’re unhappy about the state of affairs in your life. I think that’s also quite intuitive for most. It’s going to suck being you if you essentially feel stuck in your career, in your relationships, in your environment, etc.
Feeling like we have control over our lives is one of those primal needs that when met, quite naturally allows us to relax into a confident attitude.
There’s so many great quotes on courage. But perhaps no one more qualified to teach us than Nelson Mandela:
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
And I like that Sam Horn found this to be a critical component to confidence because every single person I know and whom I consider “confident” is still human.
Even supremely confident people sometimes doubt themselves, or are afraid to step up. It’s so important for anyone to understand the simple fact that fear is part of the human experience and is not a sign of being broken or inadequate.
There’s pride in knowing you did what you had to do, despite fear, or uncertainty, or doubts. That’s courage. And that to me is truly the epitome of confidence.
So which one of these sounds like work to you?
It’s fine to take it one step at a time, because slow and steady wins the race. 🙂 Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts.
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Here’s the book I’m referencing in the article, for the more curious among you 🙂