How to Increase Your Confidence
By: Lorena A. Rosenbaum, Ph.D., LPC
Let’s begin by defining what confidence is and then discuss how to increase it. According to Psychology Today , confidence is the belief in our ability to achieve or succeed something. However, in this article we are going to discuss reasons we do not have confidence, as well as, three steps we can take to increase our confidence.
signs of high levels of confidence
First of all, have you ever seen someone that appeared to be “confident”? Therefore, take a moment to think what characteristics you observed. For example having worked with some amazing colleagues, I noticed I would admire some more than others. However, many times we confuse this admiration with a feeling of jealousy. We may think, “they think they are too good” or we may also inferior. Finally, let’s talk about what characteristics we perceive as confident:
- Know what they are doing.
- Are thorough in their area of expertise.
- Tend to be prepared
- Walk with their heads held high
- Seem to not be scared to speak up.
- Are sure of who they and what they are about.
Signs of low levels of confidence
In contrast, let’s now take a look at we perceive as someone who has low confidence. Therefore, I will use the same example of my colleagues. The colleagues that appeared to not have confidence or low levels were the ones that appeared shy, never prepared, tended to procrastinate, etc… Therefore, let’s talk about what we perceive as low confidence.
- Unsure or not know what they are doing.
- Are not thorough in their area of expertise.
- Remain silent or appear to be timid.
- Tend to coast through life
why am I not confident?
Here is the answer, the main reason we are not confident is because we have not identified what it is we want to feel confident about nor have we developed the right skills to increase that area. If I were to ask you what are you confident about, your answer would most likely include something you are good at or a trait you like about yourself. If I go back to the example of my colleagues, the reason I thought one was extremely confident was because of the number of publications he had. However, he did not wake up one day knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. As a result, I decided to speak with him and after speaking with him, I learned he intentionally worked on his writing, sought help, networked with experts, etc… The reason he was confident was because he prepared and did his homework. The following are reasons we are not confident.
- We do not seek learning in the area we want to be confident in.
- We do not implement what we know that will help us increase our confidence.
- What we want to be confident may be to please others and is not coming from ourselves.
How Can I be More Confident?
First, you want to narrow down what you want to be confident in. In other words, if you want to feel better about yourself, ask yourself what exactly do you want to feel better about? If your response is too general, you cannot develop the skills needed to increase your confidence. Second, you need to put your part and do your homework. Research your identified area and skills needed. Many time this includes changing our thinking patterns or behaviors. Finally, identify 2-3 skills that will help you and begin to implement them!
Thus confidence is something we can develop!
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