Becoming more confident isn’t a creative, intuitive or mysterious process. And it’s not something that is only available to certain people and not to others. Confidence, if you want it, is a skill that is yours for the taking. You provide the curiosity and determination and these 3 habits will provide the blueprint.
Scientists are still trying to determine if there are specific biological markers for confidence. As of now, although there is some evidence that confidence may come easier to some than others, the overriding evidence appears that it is available to everyone for the taking.
The reason? The development of confidence is largely a learned quality reinforced and perpetuated by habits. And we can all practice good habits.
Confidence, like many other qualities we admire in people, is the result of thousands of small subconscious thoughts, beliefs, decisions and behaviors made over the course of years. They become such a habit most confident people don’t even realize they are doing them.
If you lack confidence, then, it isn’t because you didn’t get the “confidence gene” or are broken in some way. Although sometimes it can feel that way. It’s that you haven’t been practicing the right habits.
Take note that confidence, real confidence that spans your lifetime, isn’t built on how you look, how smart you are, or what type of job you have. Those things fluctuate too much to tie your confidence to. If you get into the practice of the 3 habits below, you’ll create a stable anchor that you can hitch your confidence to.
But first, a little warning. The most common mistake that people make when pursuing change is setting their sights on a particular event, a massive transformation, or an overnight success they want to achieve, rather than focusing on what it takes to make it happen. It’s okay to be excited about the new skills you’ll be developing but it is also important to treat any type of change as a journey. Or in another way, see it like a marathon and not a sprint. Forming habits and routines takes practice and repetition. So plan on confidence taking a little time to cultivate and you’ll set yourself up for long-term success!
3 Habits of Confidence
Habit #1: Don’t Wait, Do
We can’t just think ourselves into being confident, we must take action. All-too-often, however, people are stuck with the thought that action follows confidence. As in: I’ll take action when I’m confident. When I’m definitely ready. 100% ready. And not a moment before.
We convince ourselves that if we watch one more webinar on a topic or listen to one more podcast THEN we’ll be ready and have the confidence needed to achieve our goals.
Do any of these sound familiar? It is easy to fall into that way of thinking. After all, no one likes to not be good at something. But in the world of building confidence, this type of thinking is counter productive.
So how do you change this way of thinking? One action step at a time. Or as Aristotle once said, “Do good, be good.” It actually isn’t about how you’re feeling about something or how much you know about something that determines your confidence, it is your ability to act.
You can think of it like playing tennis. In order to gain confidence in your ability to play tennis you can read all the books you want but if you want to improve your tennis confidence, you’ll need to actually get on the court and play!
In order to “get on the court” so to speak, you’ll need to regularly make choices that put you outside your comfort zone. So don’t wait, go out there and do something, anything today.
Habit #2: Fake it Until you Learn it
Let’s face it, change isn’t always comfortable. Even good change.
But it’s not you. Humans have a tendency to take the easier option in any situation more times than not. Researchers now say this may actually be ‘hardwired’ in our brains. A recent study has found that the more mental effort something requires, the less likely people are to do it. They say it is so powerful, it can even change what we think we see in order to make the easier option more attractive!
Improving one’s confidence definitely isn’t the easier option for most people. Talk about having our deck stacked against us! But just because we may have an obstacle in our path doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around it. For ways around it, we look no further than the cause of our obstacle itself, our brain.
Introducing, “Fake it until you learn it.” Researchers have found that “acting” a certain way allows your brain to “rehearse” a new way of thinking and can set off a desired chain of events in the future.
Professor of organizational behavior Herminia Ibarra writes in the Harvard Business Review that one highly effective strategy you can use to improve your confidence as you “fake it until you learn it” is to mimic someone else around you who displays the skill sets you are desiring, even if your first inclination is to worry about appearing like an imposter.
So, figure out someone who has what you want. Then mimic away. Seriously, this is how we learned as children, you definitely have it in you!
Habit #3: Fall down 5 times, Get up 6
Overanalyzing everything you do is a terrible habit to fall into. We all are guilty of it at times. Our feelings of uncertainty drive us to overthink and doubt ourselves, especially when we make mistakes or don’t succeed. Many times our overthinking makes us not want to try again when we fail.
When you have a setback or failure, all of your past difficult life experiences, pains, and stressful circumstances want their ‘voices’ to be heard. They want to remind you that you’re not good enough. In a counterintuitive way, they are doing this to protect you. They don’t want you to get your hopes up because you might get knocked down again.
Interestingly enough, successful people have that voice too. It’s normal. But, the difference is successful people know how to turn that voice off early and often. Or they just power through.
How you deal with those voices is based on your mindset and sheer repetition. Fortunately, those are two qualities are available to everyone. Mindsets can be changed, cultivated and created any way you choose. Successful people know this, and have worked hard to make sure setbacks don’t become their Achilles heel. You can too.
If you choose to have a ‘growth’ mindset, meaning you start to view your ability to grow and learn from mistakes, you will be able to see setbacks as just part of your journey. You’ll quiet those over analyzing, self-critical voices because they won’t have fuel anymore.
It is as easy as choosing this new “growth mindset” way to tackle setbacks and reminding yourself that that is what the pros do. They’ve fallen down 5 times and gotten back up 6!