Confidence is the quality that we are looking for above all things else. In fact confidence is the magic key to happiness and inner fulfillment. Confidence is the foundation of success. It is the vital ingredient for any achievement.
What is confidence? I asked many people this question and the answers they returned included that confidence is the ability to stand up and talk in front of people. Confidence is the willingness to try something new. Confidence is the willingness to go against what others are thinking or doing. Others see confidence is the willingness to explore what has not been explored.
In this article on confidence we define precisely what confidence is, how you get confidence, what are the steps for achieving confidence and lastly how do you give confidence.
Confidence according to Webster's dictionary is full trust; belief in the reliability of a person; self-reliance; assurance or boldness; having no uncertainty about one's abilities. To me, it is the last definition that best sums up what is confidence.
No one is born confident. Of course there are people who are naturally extrovert, some are naturally bold and impulsive; others are naturally introvert, people who need to be more cautious and analytical. But extroverts are not always confident and introverts are not necessarily lacking in confidence.
Experience has taught me that people who are not born with certain qualities, tend to do better than people who are born with them. They don't take them for granted, they invest their time and energy in those qualities. In fact some of the most confident people are some of the quietest people. They are naturally laid back. Confidence does not just mean a person is loud, or a person is ready to do some crazy things in front of other people. Confidence (once again, from the Webster's dictionary) means that you have no uncertainty about your own abilities.
What kills confidence more than anything else? What really smashes your confidence to smithereens? It's when you have negative beliefs about yourself. Phrases like "Well I am too young." "I am too old," "I am not good at this," "I do not have enough education," "I don't have enough experience," "I am not good at this," "I am bad at this," or "I am weak at this." If you have negative believes about your abilities, then you will never be confident. Your belief is your own internal truth. Remember the Webster's definition of confidence: that you have no uncertainty about your abilities.
Everyone is world class at one thing; everyone has the ability to be extraordinary at something. If you don't know what it is, just know it is there. Your mission right now is to find it, then to develop it, and to help others find and develop their own. All of us should be a modern day Columbus. In the 15th century, Columbus refused to believe that you could travel the ocean and all of a sudden fall down a steep cliff into the mouths of monsters. It took guts for Columbus to explore the unknown and it is going to take guts for you to explore the unknown. Except your unknown is not what is out there, it is what is inside of you. You have to confront yourself. You will have to have guts to go through difficult times and failures, to come to the other side. If you have guts you can do what you want to do. Have the guts that you can develop confidence. The process of being a human being is the process of learning, discovery and stretching. We never reach a point where we reach maximum capacity.
So far, I have given you an introduction to this concept called confidence. What I want to do now is to give you a recipe to developing confidence...
Confidence is essential in our lives; without it, we will not make the first attempt to do what we really want. Confidence allows us to move forward despite temporary discouragement. So where does confidence come from, and how can we become and remain confident? Brunkhorst (2005) developed seven actions that will help to develop unshakable confidence...
1. Expand Your Knowledge
Gaining new skills for any endeavor - personal or career - is the first step toward confidence. Identify key areas where you need more confidence to be successful. Then expand your knowledge by taking courses, reading books, and attending learning events. Tele-classes are enjoyable and convenient for learning and discussing ideas with a peer group. Continuous learning is essential for maintaining a high level of confidence.
2. Experience Small Successes
Confidence also comes from experiencing small daily successes. They are like rewards for putting knowledge into action. They may not be the final goal. Yet they are important. Even a pat on the back from a colleague or a compliment for a job well done will boost a person's level of confidence. Keep track of each small success you experience. You will begin to feel your confidence grow day by day.
3. Exercise Passionate Faith
Confident people have faith that there is a special purpose for their lives. They appear to know inherently that when they follow this purpose, they will be successful. If you want to achieve something, you absolutely must believe that it is possible for you. You must believe firmly in your potential. A passionate faith will lead you to find and follow that purpose.
4. Enable Firm Resolve
There will be disappointments and set backs. It is natural to become discouraged at times. However, disappointments are not the end of the road if we view them as learning tools. Faith in your abilities will lead you past discouragement into a firm resolve. Resolve overcomes obstacles because it displays patience. Instead of giving up, you will meet challenges by continuing through difficult times. Keep your mind on your intended outcome, not on the obstacles. Think of reasons why you can, not reasons why you cannot. With time, talents develop and abilities grow. Then you will get a taste of what is possible -- a measure of success that leads you forward with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm keeps you fired up to achieve more of those small daily successes.
5. Enlist Expert Help
Enlist the help of experts in areas where you need more confidence. Experts can be found though books, articles, videos, seminars, or via a phone call. A professional coach will help you stay focused on your objectives and hold you accountable for taking the necessary actions to complete your plans. Confidence also attracts more confidence. Experts will support your plans and offer to help you in tremendous ways if you are enthusiastic and believe in your goals. Moreover, when you show confidence in others, they will show confidence in you.
6. Envision Confidence
Envisioning confidence begins to make confidence real in your experience. Imagine how you will feel and act if you already had the confidence you need for a specific situation. See yourself in your mind's eye, acting with courage and conviction. Hold that picture in your mind, and your vision will start to become real.
7. Expect to be Confident
Expectation is faith in action. Now that you have imagined how confidence will feel, act as if you were already confident. Move assuredly and energetically as you go for your goals. You are now seeing, feeling, and acting in a confident manner. You will achieve what you expect. Expect to be confident, and you will become confident.
Give yourself time to increase your confidence by using these actions during the next several months. Get a sheet of paper now and write down how you will apply each of these actions. They can make a tremendous difference by allowing you to move more quickly and assuredly toward your objectives. Today, you can begin developing an unshakable confidence that will bring you joy and success in every area of your life.