We all know women who seemingly and effortlessly achieve goals they set out to accomplish -- and they reach those goals quickly. Do you ever wonder how they can do it?
Their secret is simple -- it is self-confidence. It is a skill that can be learned at any age. I know because I had my confidence ripped away by divorce and addiction in my early forties. I learned what it took to build my confidence and also one very important fact about how to keep my confidence.
Confidence needs to be exercised regularly just like the muscles of my body. Without intentional effort to keep my confidence strong it will ebb away no differently than my body muscles if I stopped my exercise program.
You may be wondering how to get started. And so here are techniques that I use on a regular basis that you can implement immediately to gain confidence in achieving your goals:
1. Get outside your comfort zone. Challenging yourself to new tasks is a great way to build confidence.
- If you are shy, make a goal to talk to one new person each day. This may be small talk with the cashier at the grocery store while you're checking out or going out to lunch with a co-worker you typically don't lunch with.
- If you want to enhance your cooking skills, take a cooking class or ask a friend to be a cooking mentor once a month.
- If being a better speaker is your choice, then join Toastmasters.
The idea is to stretch yourself, as you take small steps towards learning new things your confidence will grow.
2. Create an Appreciation Journal. Every night, make a list of 10 items that you appreciated that day. This is a chance to reflect on your day. Celebrate your successes no matter if they are big or small. Also list out those experiences you enjoyed that day. My list may include a beautiful sunset, a nice bubble bath, an enjoyable evening with my daughter. Recognizing that you are richly blessed and have much to be grateful for is a cornerstone of confidence.
3. Unsolicited Advice. Typically any advice never asked for is not that helpful. My experience has proven that most advice given in this manner is not positive. I find that it helps a person get something off their chest, is heavily biased and can undermine your confidence. I respond to advice with one of two answers depending on the situation. I either say nothing, or, may say "thank you for sharing your opinion." And I drop the topic. Never do I get into a discussion about their viewpoint because it is THEIR viewpoint -- not yours. Finally, don't think about the advice anymore because it will erode your confidence, just let it go with the thoughts of "everyone is entitled to their own opinion."
4. Stick with the Winners. Stay close to people who are optimists, not pessimists. People who are chronically negative will overtime pull your confidence down. You want people around who you'll be able to share your successes with. An optimist will be cheering you on. A pessimist will be telling you that you have a long, difficult road ahead.
5. Set Achievable Goals for Yourself. The key word is achievable. Do not have your first goal be to win the Noble Peace Prize. Pick a goal you can achieve in two to three months. It may be you are a couch potato and you set the goal of running three miles non-stop within three months. It may be to have one TV-free night a week with your family and play board games.
My experience and those of the women whom I coach has been that once you start building your confidence your life expands. By that I mean new opportunities will come into your experience that you never dreamed of. What is exciting is that now that you have confidence; you will leap at the new opportunities which will open up new doors in your life and the cycle will continue.
For me, I started running because of concerns of osteoporosis later in life. I started with the goal of running 2.5 miles four times a week. Never in my wildest dreams did I think because of running I would meet than man of my dreams or that in three years I would be crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon which is 26.2 miles.
Life is meant to be wonderful and exciting. For that to occur we need to continue having new experiences and for that you need confidence.