“Be more confident!” “You need to be more confident at work.” “Just be more confident.” These are phrases I’ve heard many times in life. I would always think to myself afterwards, “Well, if it was that easy, but I would be more confident in a heartbeat!” Although I was constantly told to ‘be more confident,’ I didn’t know how or where to start. Discovering the keys to confidence in my case was a journey that still hasn’t’ ended. I share three things that have helped me to be more confident in work and in life- and brace yourself, I hate the “fake it til you make it” phrase. I have challenged that common phrase with something different and real for me.
“I think a lack of confidence is always, in a sense, worrying too much about what others think of you. You place too much value on external things, on what people think of you, instead of checking in with yourself. What do YOU think of yourself?”
PERSONAL GROWTH IS A MUST.
No matter what you’re doing in life or where you are, everyone needs to take their personal development seriously. For some, that can take on a more spiritual component like it did for me, but it doesn’t have to look like any single defined path. The way you choose to develop yourself, your inner armor can look like many different things. I was missing this self development component completely during my years experiencing burnout. It’s just not enough to go to work, workout, watch TV, go out with friends, and repeat. What are you doing with yourself to grow yourself on a daily basis? We take care of our hygiene and physical health everyday by brushing our teeth and eating foods that nourish us. Likewise, taking care of our mental and emotional health must be a part of our daily routines. Personal growth can be consumed via books, podcasts, workshops, conferences, videos, etc. For anyone that is brand new to personal growth and is looking for a place to start, I recommend reading “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, or listening to it on Audible.
DITCH ‘FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT.’
Although I find that when people say this phrase they have good intentions, I think it can be tweaked to be better. I am a fan of “Become What You Believe.” Tell yourself something that you believe so that you may become it. Keep redefining that as you grow. For example, if you come up with a thought like ‘I am 100% beaming with confidence all the time’ and you’re clearly not that, will you believe it? If it’s unbelievable, you cannot become it. Instead, craft a statement that challenges you, but is believable. You can start with: “I am doing the best I can at all times and I love myself.” I think that if we start with something that is more at your level, you can continuously evolve upward.
I remember I took a speaker’s workshop a while ago with some acting/improvisational exercises in the course. During one of the improv exercises, we had to practice introducing ourselves in a certain character that we drew out of a hat. I drew the ‘cool’ character card. I had to walk out in front of everyone in character, introduce myself in that character, and respond to questions in that character. I thought it was quite funny and very fitting that I drew the ‘cool’ card as most of my life I have felt very NOT cool, awkward, unconfident, shy, and anxious. I received feedback after my scene, which reiterated the thought the workshop instructors were trying to make. You BECOME what you tell yourself you are. I told myself I was cool, and I acted cool.
This isn’t about being fake or acting in real life. If you tell yourself you are shy, you are right. If you tell yourself you’re cool, you’re right. It takes practice and time and will take several iterations in order for you to develop into the person you want to become- fully confident. Start by practicing every day. Tell yourself your phrase (doesn’t have to be that end goal; start somewhere) in the morning when you wake up. Tell yourself that in the car, in the shower, when you get to work, throughout the day, before you go to bed, etc. Tell yourself what you want to become and believe. Keep challenging that as you grow. Keep growing. You’ll get to the point of one day telling yourself, “I am beaming with confidence with almost everything I do. I am unapologetically myself.” Keep at it!
DON’T CONFUSE CONFIDENCE WITH ARROGANCE.
Confidence is not arrogance. In this process, be clear with what you know and what you don’t know. In fact, when you admit that you don’t know something, you come off as more confident versus trying to fake an answer that makes you look insecure, doubtful, and nervous. I admire those confident clinicians that I’ve had the pleasure of working with admit when they don’t know something. Confident people don’t have all the answers. They just have an inner confidence in themselves and are on a continual quest to seek knowledge and better themselves. Be confident but humble. Not every moment of your life will be sunshine and rainbows, but developing this muscle of confidence will empower you to be your best you more often and frequently.