1. Set realistic targets for yourself.
Self-confidence will not turn you into Superman or Wonderwoman – only allow you to make the best of what you are personally capable of doing. So set reasonable and realistic expectations for yourself, rather than compare yourself with others. Keep upgrading your own standards in lifestyle, behaviour, relationships, and professional achievements.
2. Know what you do best.
If you stop and think about even the small things you do each day, you may be surprised to find some abilities and positive features that you haven’t given yourself ample credit for in the past. Try to emphasise the positive at all times – and you’ll gain confidence to work on those less positive aspects.
3. Monitor negative thoughts and feelings.
How negative are you about yourself? Do you spend long periods of time worrying about your inadequacies? Do you hold back because you think your report or response is not good enough? Do you compare yourself with another person and always come out second best? Such thinking will get you nowhere. When you find yourself thinking negatively, clench your fist, say ‘Stop!’ to yourself, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Consider your blessings what and whom you are thankful for, your accomplish-ments, what you have done that you are proud of so far, and your goals, ambitions, and dreams.
4. Heed the advice of Norman Vincent Peale.
Find a copy of Norman Vincent Peale’s classic ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’. Embrace his timeless advice, which includes these five ideas:
- Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Always picture ‘success’ no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment.
- Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal powers comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.
- Difficulties must be studied and efficiently dealt with to be eliminated, but they must be seen for only what they are. They must not be inflated by fear thoughts.
- Do not be awe-struck by other people or try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can. Remember that most people are often as scared as you and as doubtful of themselves.
- Make a true estimate of your own ability – then raise it 10 per cent. Believe in your own powers.
5. Look for small victories.
All is not lost if that big achievement eludes you. If everything seems to be falling apart in one area of your life or work, consider your accomplishments in another area. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you have already achieved.
6. Learn from your mistakes.
Don’t let your mistakes drag you down. Look on each stumble as a learning experience. Ask what went wrong and what you should do next time.
7. Look and sound confident.
Learn to walk more erectly and authoritatively in public. No matter how you feel, always act, walk, and dress as if you’re feeling on top of the world and master of the task. Others will respond to your positive vibes, and that, in turn, will boost your confidence. Try to delete negative or uncertain words from your conversation ‘maybe’, ‘I’m not sure’, and ‘but’. Use positive terms such as ‘I will’ and ‘I can’.
8. Adopt a confident approach to your day.
Consider the following confidence-boosters:
- Plan a positive experience for the day and look forward to it.
- As you travel to work, at every stop light, get yourself into a positive frame of mind: ‘I can finish the Gordon report today!’
- At work, get your tasks into priority order and work confidently to your plan.
- Participate actively in meetings.
- Show a colleague how well your day is going.
- At day’s end, review your plan and celebrate the crossing-off of tasks completed.
- Reward yourself for a good day’s work.
9. Please yourself.
Extending yourself just to impress other people runs counter to what self-confidence is all about. You need to spend more time doing things simply because you want to do them, because these are the things you can succeed in. Use them to bolster your confidence when they go well.
10. Reward yourself.
Enjoy your successes, however small, and celebrate them by yourself or with others. In this way you will be taking the focus off your inadequacies.