The One Thing Stopping You From Achieving Your Dreams
10 Steps to Mastering Self-Confidence
When it comes to dreaming big and achieving our goals, it all boils down to self-confidence. At the end of the day, It’s not about who wants it or even who deserves it. It’s about who believes in themselves and who works to make their belief a reality.
The truth is, our dreams don’t come falling into our laps and knocking on our doors, and it’s not even enough to go out knocking on doors ourselves. Our dreams come to fruition when, and only when, we have the audacity — the self-confidence — to create those doors for ourselves.
But self-confidence is hard, and most of us are lacking it, whether we know it or not. Many of us live in a self-crafted world where our dreams and goals are reserved for “other” people, and we’re constantly telling ourselves we aren’t good enough, smart enough, rich enough, fit enough, savvy enough to achieve the things we want to achieve.
As long as we continue down this path, though, our self-crafted worldview is correct: our dreams are reserved for those “others” who believe in themselves.
The good news is, we don’t have to stay in that mindset. In fact, I think there are just 10 relatively simple steps we can take to mastering our self-confidence and getting on the road to achieving our dreams.
1. Straighten up.
What’s your posture like right now? Drop your shoulders, exhale, sit up, and tilt your chin slightly up. How does that feel? Sometimes, just the slightest adjustments in our posture can change our mood and mindset.
Walk straight and tall.
Take pride in the way you carry your body physically, because that carries over to how you carry yourself mentally, too.
2. Make a mirror note.
Leaving yourself positive affirmations and reminders in places like your bathroom is a simple and effective way to not only start your day from a place of confidence, but a way to engrain a mantra in your mind and begin to really rewire the things you tell yourself.
Consider the words I currently have scribbled in dry-erase ink on my bathroom mirror, “All you can be is all you can be.” It reminds me that everyday, I am simply asked to be the best “me” I can be, and nothing else. I also have “show up” on my full-length mirror. Mirror reminders like these enforce the message that a) you are already enough and b) you need only show up as yourself. This is the pathway to self-confidence.
3. Learn to genuinely say, “Thank you.”
When someone compliments you on a presentation, an article, a new project or simply the way you’re dressed, do you bashfully accept their kindness, maybe even say something to belittle it like, “Oh, it really wasn’t a big deal but thanks.”
Say, “Thank you,” and mean it. Really, truly, mean it. Learn to absorb compliments, and let them really take hold in your mind and heart. Quit brushing them off, belittling your accomplishments, or trying to act like you’re not excited to hear something positive about your work. Say thanks, genuinely, and mark it down as a win.
4. Help someone, even when they don’t ask.
Extending a helping hand feels good, not just because it makes us feel needed, it makes us feel that we are contributing members of the world, and that contribution triggers a mental stimulation of confidence. Because if we can be there for someone, if we can do someone a favor or provide someone a service without them even asking us (or paying us) to do it, we matter, right?
Mattering is a huge piece of the confidence puzzle. Whether that means holding the door for someone, washing the dishes that aren’t yours, offering to carry a box for someone or giving someone directions — help someone.
5. Ask for help.
The flip-side of helping others is coming down from your high horse and being brave and honest enough with yourself to admit when you need help.
I cannot stress this enough. For too long now, we have associated assistance with weakness, but if you think about it, it’s — in a way — one of the greatest forms of strength, and most of us can’t/don’t do it. We can’t do it because we’re too proud, and there is no room for self-confidence when too much pride is in the room.
If you’re struggling with self-confidence, be sure your pride isn’t in the way, first.
6. Set 3 daily intentions every morning.
This is a crossover into the productivity realm, but turns out, productivity fuels our self-confidence. So why not kill two birds with one stone, right?
When you wake up in the morning, make a list of 3 intentions for the day. (I’m carefully not using the word goals because I feel its connotation is a bit lofty, and also, this one is more about being than doing.)
Your intentions should be things like “be kind,” “be grateful,” “smile more,” “make positive choices” or “stay engaged.” They should be broad, not task-focused, and they should intertwine into most parts of your day. Bring yourself back to them at the end of your day to see how you did.
Accomplishment breeds self-confidence.
Set those intentions daily, and make a habit of reaching them to give yourself a consistent and easy spike of accomplishment.
7. Give yourself some credit.
How often do you acknowledge the hard things you’ve done? Or even the things you don’t consider to be “hard” but were accomplishments nonetheless?
Take time to recognize yourself for your accomplishments and contributions, and don’t limit this recognition to only certain performing environments of your world. Give yourself credit for the good things you do, the time you spend, and the efforts you make. Big or small — they’re worth celebrating.
8. Celebrate someone else’s success.
Not only is it important to celebrate your own accomplishments, it’s important to take time to celebrate other people’s accomplishments. This can be particularly troublesome for many of us (me included) because we tend to believe there isn’t room for everyone to succeed. We’re afraid that by celebrating another person’s victory, we’re removing the potential for the spotlight to be on us.
The spotlight is unlimited and abundant. We can all shine at the same time, and not only that, but we have the opportunity to shine brighter when we illuminate others. It may seem counterintuitive that to better believe in yourself, you have to support someone else, but when we show our admiration for another’s work, we are subconsciously sending a message of confidence in our own work. We’re giving ourselves permission to be comfortable with another’s success so that we can get rid of jealousy and make room for confidence.
9. Think less, do more.
So many times, our self-confidence gets killed in the 5 seconds we spend analyzing the potential negative outcomes of a situation. We’re faced with a decision, confronted with a new and unknown experience, and rather than acting on it and taking charge, we sit back and consider the risks and almost always let them win.
We need to think less and do more.
We need to stop wondering if it’s going to work and being afraid of what will happen if it doesn’t, and just get out there and do it. Confidence will stem from both outcomes: if we succeed, we’re proud of our success, and if it doesn't go as planned, we learn resilience and gain access to new strategies for next time.
Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.
10. Be always learning.
The more you know, the more you can do. And the more you can do, the more access to self-confidence you have.
Despite what we may believe, self-confidence does not come from what we already know but from what we are willing to learn.
Make no mistake — the more learning situations you can put yourself in, the more self-confidence you will gain.
No questions asked.
Acquiring knowledge requires that we venture into feeling uncomfortable and then experience the resolve of this discomfort. That resolve is the consequence of personal effort. What could boost our self-confidence more than being personally responsible for not only being brave enough to get lost, but wise enough to find our way back?
Be always learning, though it be scary and uncomfortable, the flip-side is so incredibly worthy — an undeniable sense of self-confidence.
I believe so strongly in the message of this post and want this type of confidence for everyone so badly that I encourage you to forward this to someone who needs to hear it, or reply/comment with a way you're going to start practicing self-confidence. Make it real for yourself. Don't let the momentum stop here!