One of the things that held me back from pursuing my dreams for many years was fear of failure…and the lack of self-confidence that I needed to overcome that fear. It’s something we all face, to some degree, I think. The key question: how do you overcome that fear?
By working on your self-confidence and self-esteem. Without really thinking of it in those terms, that’s what I’ve been doing over the years, and that’s what helped me finally overcome my fears, and finally pursue my dreams.
Anyone can learn how to be confident – even those who really don’t have any faith in themselves! It’s a question of practice; even if you have to fake it to begin with, by acting confident you’ll gradually feel more at ease and will eventually start to believe it. So if you need to believe in yourself more, here’s how to get that confidence boost.
Start by making a list of your plus points. Yes, you do have them, so don’t be modest! If you find it a challenge, imagine that you were writing about a friend, or that a friend was writing about you. You’ve got a lot of great qualities, so remind yourself exactly what they are – and keep reminding yourself.
You might feel that you haven’t really achieved much to date, or think more about the things that you haven’t achieved. But instead of being so down on yourself, think of what you have already achieved. Remind yourself of your successes, and you’ll realize that you’ve already done quite a lot; this will make you feel more confident.
Everyone has doubt about themselves; even the highest achievers aren’t full of confidence all the time. So it’s perfectly understandable that you would feel this way. It doesn’t make you inferior to anyone else, it makes you normal. So if you feel those nagging doubts creeping in, acknowledge them but don’t let them destroy your confidence.
Our confidence can often take a hit when we get things wrong. But I’m a firm believer that even messing up can be useful. Getting things wrong can help us to get things right next time; making mistakes is how we learn. So don’t let mistakes or bad experiences shake your confidence – you can still turn them into something positive.
Another way to boost your confidence is to step outside your comfort zone. Some people find they have to take big leaps; others prefer baby steps. Do whatever is right for you. By pushing yourself just that little bit, you find that you can survive things you thought you wouldn’t be able to cope with – and that will give you the confidence to do the same thing again.
It’s a very British thing to try to negate a compliment; we feel embarrassed about agreeing with someone that we look good or have done well. And we’re probably not alone. If you tend to do yourself down when someone compliments you, stop it – they mean what they say, so accept it graciously and be happy that they wanted to say something nice.
One confidence boost that shouldn’t be underrated is to have a makeover. Whether it’s getting some help from a personal shopper (department stores often provide this as a free service), finding some really flattering makeup, or having a fab new haircut, changing your appearance can make you feel fantastic.