We’ve all experienced low confidence – that feeling of not being good enough and doubting our abilities is no fun! If we’re not mindful of working on healthy confidence, low confidence can become crippling and hold us back from reaching our full potential.
When we have healthy confidence and self-esteem, we believe that we’re valuable, worthwhile and capable. We feel certain of our abilities and we’re able to face challenges head on.
Confidence doesn’t come from being perfect at everything we do – in fact, more confident people tend to fail more regularly, because they’re actually getting out there and giving things a go. Most successful entrepreneurs and high achievers have racked up a long list of ‘failures’ (they’d probably call them learning experiences though!) on their path to success.
People with healthy confidence, are willing to ask for help and advice, they persevere when the going gets tough, and they are quick to adapt and change their ideas when things don’t work out. Confident people tend to be less focused on succeeding and understand that whatever the result, they’re always gaining greater knowledge and understanding, which is what takes them to success in the long run.
We can’t expect to have overflowing confidence all the time but it’s great to have some strategies in our toolkit for when we need a lift. If you’re in need of a confidence boost to give you the courage to go after your big goals or reset after a setback or failure, try one of these scientifically backed confidence boosters:
1. Picture your success
Visualization is a powerful confidence booster and a tool used by top performers in every industry. Next time to you set to work on a difficult task, whether it’s a workout, a work project, a home renovation or a difficult conversation, picture how you would like the scenario to unfold. Visualization changes our brain in the same way that actual practice and experience does so you’ll be wiring your brain for your desired outcome and making it more likely to happen in reality.
2. Listen to music with deep bass
Listening to music with deep bass has been found to improve self belief. Make a power playlist with your favorite tracks that make you feel on top of the world – and keep it handy for the moments low-confidence is holding you back.
3. Adopt a powerful, confident pose In Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language, she explains how our posture and facial expressions can shape how you feel. Next time you need a boost (think before a job interview, big meeting, or new social situation) duck into the bathroom and adopt a powerful, superhero pose (think Wonder Woman or Super Man) and put a big smile on your face for a couple of minutes – and head out feeling more confident.
4. Ask for help Being confident isn’t about being the best at everything – it’s about knowing your strengths and your weaknesses. If you’re struggling, ask for help from someone you trust or even just let them know that you’re having a hard time. This type of vulnerability strengthens social connections which in turn, improves self esteem and confidence.
5. Set personal boundaries
Having personal boundaries is essential for healthy self esteem and confidence. When you feel taken advantage of, or overlooked, learn to kindly communicate your personal boundaries. Try saying ‘It hurt my feelings when…’, ‘I felt disrespected when…’ or ‘It made me uncomfortable when…’ and let the person know what type of behavior you’d like them to display in the future.
6. Reflect on success
While most of us are great at bringing to mind our failures and shortcomings, we often spend little time reflecting on our successes or achievements. Owning and celebrating our success increases resilience and boosts confidence to keep aiming higher. Try jotting down three things you did that moved you closer to your goals (no matter how big or small) each day to train a success mindset.
7. Affirm yourself
Positive self-affirmation has been found to decrease stress and increase resilience in the face of challenges. Next time you’re struggling, remind yourself ‘you’ve got this’ or ‘you’re great at what you do’ and see how it improves your performance.
Self confidence is a skill that you can learn and master with practice so choose one of these tricks and give yourself a boost now!
Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing: Brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological science, 21(10), 1363-1368.
Cuddy, A. (2012). Ted Talk. Power Posing.
Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Apfel, N., & Brzustoski, P. (2009). Recursive processes in self-affirmation: Intervening to close the minority achievement gap. science, 324(5925), 400-403.
Hanser, S. B., & Thompson, L. W. (1994). Effects of a music therapy strategy on depressed older adults. Journal of gerontology, 49(6), P265-P269.
Kernis, M. H. (2003). Toward a conceptualization of optimal self-esteem. Psychological inquiry, 14(1), 1-26.