Confidence is an interesting feeling, an internal manifestation that we allow to be influenced by events that may or may not be in our control. The outcome of these events can impact our confidence positively or negatively with our permission.
One should recalibrate their confidence when they have not adequately prepared. Confidence in the absence of preparation is simply arrogance. Arrogance is ignorance and is too often mistaken for confidence. Arrogance is often born out of a lack of confidence in one’s ability, so the ego takes over to protect its vision of the person. Inside of each person, there is a struggle taking place. It is a struggle between reality and fantasy. Reality is who we are, and fantasy is the story we allow the ego to tell us about ourselves. When the gap between the two becomes too great, bad things begin to happen. When the ego takes over, we will do almost anything to protect the image of ourselves that it has created.
When we live in reality every day, we are more likely to make the changes necessary to get our lives back on track after a derailment. Making the changes and believing in the future is the start of rebuilding our confidence. Without confidence, we spend most of our time seeking validation from external sources – peers, social media, family, etc. I will tell you right now that I believe in you and your ability to figure things out, but my belief is pointless unless you believe in yourself. After a reality check, there are several actions to take and implement in your life that will immediately begin to rebuild your confidence.
Accept your reality.
Forgive yourself and others that have wronged you, and take action. These things alone will make all the difference for you. When we harbor anger, bury guilt, blame others, and deflect responsibility, there is no chance of regaining our confidence. If we accept, forgive, and take action, there is nothing that can stop us long term. It is really a recipe for life.
Start a routine.
Nothing can restore confidence and certainty faster than the discipline of a regular routine. When we know what is next and discipline ourselves to follow a routine, we create space. This space is where we begin to think, and thinking allows us to formulate a plan. Plans, coupled with actions, build momentum. Momentum in the right direction builds confidence in our ability to change our current situation.
Hone your skills.
Take a class, read a book, listen to a podcast, learn a language. Skill development is another way to build confidence. Dan Sullivan refers to it as the confidence-competence loop. Increased competence can also lead to higher levels of external confidence in your ability. Competence leads to greater trust in your ability from others. While I am not a proponent of relying on external influences to impact your confidence, if the increase is from positive feedback, take it!
Exercise is an amazing confidence booster. Let’s face it; when you don’t feel well, you won’t do well. The discipline of making yourself do something you really don’t want to do is an easy way to build confidence. I recommend finding an accountability partner. Studies have shown that you are 83% more likely to show up when you have a partner counting on you. You can also hire a trainer because they want you to show up too.
Join a community.
Humans are communal creatures. When you are involved in a community that supports you, your confidence will continue to grow with their support. Community is also an opportunity to help others with your knowledge. A word of caution: don’t let your identity get tied up in the community. Community is excellent for validating our ideas and building our confidence, but we must stay grounded in our own reality. Some suggestions for communities include church, networking groups, workshops, seminars, or fitness groups.
The fastest way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to help someone else. The opportunities for contributing in a meaningful way to the lives of others are seemingly infinite. What are you passionate about? What are you willing to support? Who else do you know that is involved in helping others? Reach out and ask them for feedback. Often when we help others, we realize we don’t have it so bad. There is not much that’s better for the soul than the act of helping others.
Just these things can lift the fog of insecurity. From time to time, despair might creep in, but these tools can help overcome the temptation to give up. When your confidence is rocked, don’t shrivel up into a ball on the floor forever. Implement some or all of these suggestions, and your confidence will return stronger than before. Life is a series of tests and trials. The best strategy I am aware of for tackling and overcoming all is to prepare and believe. Always be growing your competence, and your confidence will always be accessible.