It happens to all of us.
After reading the top blog posts on how to build your self-confidence, we go out there and give it a shot. We take every tip, shortcut, and strategy we can find and convince ourselves that this is all we need to succeed.
But, instead of more self-confidence, we get more anxious, nervous, and forget everything we tried to memorize.
It feels horrible.
Instead of feeling like an equal with our conversation companions, we’re lost in our thoughts, trying to find words to say and hoping we don’t look as foolish as we feel.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this forever. As your friend and fellow anxiety fighter, I’m here to help.
Sure, everyone struggles with confidence issues at times. But, for those of us still working to conquer our social anxiety, a lack of self confidence is our biggest frustration.
I used to think people were born with confidence. I thought they carried a special strand of DNA, while the rest of as end up fighting our own inner demons of low self-esteem and doubt.
But the truth is, you can learn self-confidence and be able to stand your ground in any situation life hurls at you.
In fact, there are three specific things you can do to increase your self-confidence and you can start today.
These three tips are not some gimmicks or get confident quick schemes. They are the framework for building confidence over time.
I know what you’re thinking… I said, “Over time.”
Now you’re wondering how long this is going to take. The fact is, it depends on your willingness to do the work.
Like anything, the more you work on these three keys, the sooner you will have more self-confidence.
But, if you decide to procrastinate, or don’t take any action on what you’re about to read, you will stay in the same condition. And change will take longer. Much longer.
There are no shortcuts to building self-confidence, but the more you work on it, the better you will get!
There’s no way around it. If you want to have more self-confidence, you have to practice, practice, practice. After all, practice makes perfect, right?
Well, not exactly.
They key to building self-confidence is deliberate practice. This is different from simple repetition. Deliberate practice focuses on a specific goal and improving your performance.
For example, let’s say you wanted to get better at shooting free throws. You’d head to their nearest basketball court. Grab a basketball, shoot 100 free throws and then call it a day. Then you would show up the next day and do it again.
But, with deliberate practice, you'd evaluate each practice session. Then, you would review your assessment and make incremental improvements over time.
This means, instead of showing up to shoot 100 shots, you would track your makes and misses. You would pay attention whether you missed to the left or the right. You would even note the exact placement of your feet behind the free throw line.
Then, you would review and make adjustments for your next practice session. In the next sessions, you would continue to track the same metrics and make more adjustments until you reached your goal.
Now, you don’t need to be as in-depth when you’re using deliberate practice to build your self-confidence. But, you do need to have some kind of feedback loop that you can learn from and review.
For example, if you’re working on having more self-confidence in conversations - try to pay attention to how people respond to you.
Are they smiling or engaging with you? Or do they seem distant and looking for a way to exit the conversation?
Jot down some notes about what stories you told. Which ones were engaging? Which ones were not? If the conversation died out, what do you think led you there? Is it possible you ask a closed-ended question that cut the conversation short?
Take note of what you can. Then review your notes for what worked and what didn’t. What made you feel more confidence and what made you want to become invisible and disappear.
During your next practice session, refine the things that worked, and tweak the things that did not. For example, the next time, ask an open-ended question that leads to more dialogue.
It’s the magic ingredient to success that you rarely hear people talk about - especially for social anxiety fighters.
Persistence is a dedication to work on something even though, at times, the going will get tough. It’s putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, so you can learn and grow.
If we were a little more persistent with our goals, I bet we would be a bit farther along. I know I would. Wouldn’t you?
When we fail at something, many of us decide to quit altogether. We determine that we smart enough or good enough or strong enough. We start to believe that we don’t have what it takes.
But that’s not true.
The truth is that we could have practiced more, or done something different. We could have worked with someone who could see our flaws and correct them before the big event. Even after failing, we rarely take the time to learn from our mistakes.
Instead, we sulk or quit, or say terrible things about ourselves that are not true.
But, if you want to grow your self-confidence, you will have to persist in the face of failure.
Bad days are inevitable. We will all experience failure, shortcomings, or a loss that may rock us to our core.
But, we can recover.
If we get up, dust ourselves off, and pay attention to some of the mistakes we may have made, we can approach the next day with renewed energy, and excitement to succeed. If we’re not successful, at least we will learn a little more about ourselves and how we can improve the next time.
The final key to self-confidence is self-talk. You know, those internal conversations or statements you make to yourself as you go throughout your day.
Social anxiety sufferers have very active self-talk, which is usually negative. The problem with negative self-talk is that those statements can damage our confidence.
It is my belief that the things we say to ourselves, we eventually begin to believe. We have to be careful about how we speak to ourselves. Even the Bible warns us, "the power of life and death lies in the tongue." Which means, what we speak has the power to help us flourish or tear us down.
This is the most difficult part of this process.
Because so much of what we think or say to ourselves is automatic. It’s engrained into our personality.
So how do we turn this around?
You have to get proactive. You have to make a conscious effort to be honest with yourself.
I still struggle with negative self-talk. It comes from experiencing anxiety or fear instead of accepting honesty and truth. But, I do not allow those thoughts to linger.
Instead, I say to myself one simple sentence…”That’s not true.”
For example, lately, I’ve been struggling with writing consistently. My goal was to build a habit of daily writing, but I haven’t been able to string consecutive days together.
Since I’ve been having trouble with this, I’ve been suggesting to myself that my goal was too ambitious. Or that I’m not going to be able to accomplish it. I’ve told myself that it’s too hard and too much to handle.
But, when those thoughts come to mind, I take a step back and ask myself if any of those thoughts are true? I might ponder it for a moment, but I know none of it is true. So I tell myself, “That’s not true.”
Once I say that, I’m able to redirect my mind and confidence to keep trying and working toward my goal.
What things do you need to correct in your own self-talk? What things are you saying to yourself or about yourself that are not true? Are any of those thoughts true? I bet they are not.
Do not allow those thoughts and fears to rob you of your self-confidence. Be deliberate about the things you’re working on. Persist through the tough days. And be honest with yourself about your abilities. You are more than enough. You are blessed with the ability to reach your dreams.
Do not give up.
In the Comments below…
I want to help you build your self-confidence. In the comments below, tell me where you are lacking confidence. I’ll share my best strategies with you right here in the comments. Or I’ll talk more about it in an upcoming blog post.
I am here to help you. I look forward to your comments below.