5 Steps to Build Self-Confidence

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Portrait of a child showing the muscle of his armI had an interesting conversation with a gentleman last week. We were at an event I’d spoken at, and he and I were discussing my performance.

He told me that in the first 60-90 seconds he could tell I was nervous, yet, after that, I loosened up and got into the feel of it. Although he told me he believed public speaking was certainly in my future, there was one very important area I needed to master to bring it all together.

Here’s a what-my-memory-will-allow recap of our conversation:

Him: Besides the higher-ups, who are the best paid people in a company?

Me: Developers?

Him: Sales. And why is this?

Me: Because most people aren’t comfortable asking for money.

Him: So, what is it about sales people that enable them to feel comfortable doing so?

Me: Aggression?

Him: Confidence

This intrigued me and led me to the article “Key Qualities of a Great Sales Person.” The author lists eight of the most common traits of great sales people, and guess what came in at number two? Confidence.

The author writes that a confident person believes in his/her own abilities and can handle rejection. Sales people either don’t take no for an answer or don’t take no personally. They are driven and go for what they want, oftentimes stopping at nothing until they’ve accomplished their goals.

I wonder what would happen if we’d all adopt a “sales mentality” for every area of our lives? How much could you accomplish if you didn’t take no for an answer? If you were driven and relentlessly pursued your desires? I believe this mentality is possible for everyone, but it all begins with self-confidence.

You know the saying, confidence is key? Well, it’s true. If you don’t believe in your abilities and skills, how will you stay motivated? What will drive you? What force would push you to accept nothing but what you set out to accomplish?

Below are five tips for building your self-confidence, advice I also plan to take to ensure I have a “sales mindset” for all my endeavors:

1. Review past accomplishments

When facing a big challenge, project or task, sometimes all we need is a reminder that we’ve been there and done that. Look at your past accomplishments to see if any are similar to what you’re currently facing. This should help build your confidence, knowing that you’ve already successfully accomplished a similar task. You can do this too. Even if you don’t have past accomplishments similar to your current task, you have past accomplishments. Don’t forget what you have done, which can show you that you do have the skills and abilities to achieve things.

2. Don’t underestimate your role

Unsure if you’re “good enough” or qualified to fulfill a task? Think about your current role. You applied for the job and were selected out of  X amount of other applicants. Obviously, you’re qualified to fulfill the role you’re in; don’t underestimate that. Look for ways your current role relates to the task at hand. Were you asked to manage a project because of your role? Were you chosen to speak at an event because of the topics you regularly write about? Just like your current role, there is a reason you were presented with the opportunity at hand. Don’t downplay that.

3. Think about your strengths

A great way to increase your self-confidence is to think about your strengths. Make a list of every area you’re strong in (you may be surprised at how long it is). Don’t forget areas others, such as managers, mentors, colleagues, etc., have noted as your strengths. This helps build confidence because it reaffirms your skills and abilities. You can also make a list of your weakness and challenge yourself to improve upon them. Personal and professional development, i.e. making the effort to improve weak areas, is certainly a sign of strength.

4. Assess your goals

A lot of times it helps to assess your goals. What are your short-term and long-term goals? What is your motivation for both? Sometimes looking at the reason behind why we’re pursuing something helps our confidence. It’s much easier to maintain your confidence when working toward a degree in a field that you love and are passionate about versus a degree that family and friends think you’d be “better suited for.”

Also remember when thinking about your goals, only you can get you there. If you don’t believe in yourself and your capabilities, who else will? Think about a job interview. If you’re not fully confident that you’re the best person to fill the position, why would a hiring manager be convinced? You must be your number one fan.

5. Fake it till you make it

This is a common saying, but I think it’s true when it comes to confidence. The gentleman offering me constructive criticism agreed: If your confidence isn’t there, you still need to act like it is. He told me to think about actors and actresses, they play a part and become a character on screen, but that doesn’t mean that’s who they are in real life. Of course, you eventually want to truly possess self-confidence, but this doesn’t always happen overnight. Sometimes you need to act like you’re confident. Oftentimes when you do this, confidence will inevitably build within you.

By Shala Marks