To build great confidence we first need to demolish a few bad habits.

Today I was chatting with a few people about confidence.  Why do some people have it (and sometimes an overabundance of it) while others lack it?  For me, it’s about awareness and choice. First you need to be aware of what prevents confidence from developing and next you need to make a choice to act differently.  

For most people, acting on the choice is what’s most difficult.

First, though, awareness:

Do you dwell on failures and mistakes? Or do you worry so much about something going wrong that you fail to act or hesitate to a point that it hurts your possibilities to succeed?  Whether it’s before the action takes place or after you’ve already acted, focusing on what is or could go wrong is one habit you’ll need to demolish to build you confidence.  When we focus on the negative,  we can’t see new opportunities or new ways to do it better next time. We also can’t learn. By focusing on what could go badly or what did go badly we tell ourselves to avoid situations like this in the future undermining our belief in our abilities.

Do you deflect praise from others? Do you deprecate yourself to make it seem you’re not that great to begin with? This is a habit some people learn as a counter measure to people they find are too boastful. It also appears you’re being modest. Unfortunately, what youre doing instead is saying that your hard work doesn’t really matter. It isn’t about what other people think. It’s about how it makes you feel. Being appreciated for a job well done is important to our confidence and our internal states of well being because it makes us feel successful. Remember that most people quit a job because they don’t like their boss. And most don’t like their boss because they aren’t recognized for a job well done. (If you want praise just for showing up and doing your work, that’s a different story. That’s not about building confidence it’s about being lazy.) Honor the recognition you receive from others with a simple “thank you” and be humble by feeling the praise inside without elaborating or countering with another compliment.

Do you second guess decisions?  Do you over think, over plan or get caught with perfectionism tendencies? This is the one issue that was common among all the people in the group today – struggling with perfectionism. If any of these people were around someone from a higher social status or someone who was wealthier, they would feel the need to show themselves in a perfect light. It was necessary to have the perfect family, home, or even a perfect dinner. What’s interesting was they all knew it was only their own thoughts that caused their anxiety. There was no expectation placed on them by anyone else. Even though they knew it was all in the mind,  they had yet to make the choice to take a different action.

What about you? What choice will you make today?

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