In Part One of this series on Self-Confidence for Women, I defined what self-confidence is and then talked about how the lack of it manifests in a woman’s life. I concluded Part One by saying that self-confidence can be learned but first it takes recognizing that the lack of it underlies the current undesirable results in our lives. Once we acknowledge and accept that, the next step is to commit to a program of building self-confidence.
Any journey of self discovery begins with an honest assessment of where you currently are, so in Part Two, I offered some questions whose answers can serve both as an inventory of your strengths and talents and as guidelines for goals to improve your self-confidence.
There are two things I would like to point out before giving you some steps to help build your self-confidence. First, no article or book can ever fully do justice to the important task that building self-confidence is. Building self-confidence requires learning a new skill set. All skills take time…and persistence…to build. Decide to make building your self-confidence a priority. Commit to it. Allow yourself time and consistent focus to achieve it. Give yourself the gift of support by getting a coach to keep you on track.
Second, because of our unique experiences as women, we do not all start in the same place. Some of you reading this may already have a fair amount of self-confidence and would like to finally blow past the barriers that keep you from achieving the success you desire. Some of you may suffer from an acute lack of self-confidence and will need to have more time and more encouragement to achieve a healthy level of self-confidence.
Here are my Ten Best Suggestions for Building Your Self-Confidence and the Secret to Making it All Come Together:
- Change Your Self Talk – Our self-talk can range from disempowering to downright abusive. The first step of any process is to raise our consciousness about what we are saying to ourselves. If you do find yourself saying words that are abusive, immediately stop. If you use words such as “I can’t…”, “I should have…”, “Yes, but…” then change them to “I can or I am on the way to…”, “In the future, I will…”, “Yes, I can do that…”
- Practice Daily Self Care – Tend to your physical, emotional and spiritual needs on a daily basis. Get enough rest and eat in a way that supports your health and vitality. Even if you cannot afford a lot, you can find small ways to pamper yourself .
- Learn to Take a Compliment – Whenever someone offers you a compliment or acknowledgement, you really only have to say two words “Thank you”. Drop the disclaimer or explanation that usually comes after your thank you.
- Take Full Responsibility in All Aspects of Your Life – It has been said that we should take responsibility for every thought we think, every feeling we have, every action we take and every result we get. Just doing this alone strengthens immeasurably your confidence in your own power.
- Stop Explaining Yourself to Others – As women, we often feel compelled to offer an explanation when we say “No” to a request. We also feel compelled to explain ourselves when someone doesn’t agree with what we are saying or doing. Just because someone asks why you believe what you do or did what you did, this is not reason to explain yourself to them.
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – One of the ways you disempower yourself is by comparing your accomplishments to those of others. You are unique; there is no one like you. You are here to bring your own unique message into the world in your own voice. Revel in the fact that no one else can do that and celebrate your uniqueness.
- Surround Yourself with Support and Distance Yourself from Those Who Don’t Have Your Best Interests at Heart – Every close relationship in your life should be one of mutual support. If it isn’t, you have to seriously consider the amount of time you spend with that person. The corollary to this is to only share your goals, aspirations and feelings with those who can be supportive.
- Learn Everything You Can about Yourself – There are wonderful tests out there to understand your personality style, character strengths and natural instincts. Three tests that measure these facets of you are MBTI, Seligman Signature Strengths and the Kolbe A Index.
- Set Goals for Yourself but Do Not Make Them Perfectionistic, All-or-Nothing Goals– You can set for every aspect of your life…body, mind and spirit…but keep them attainable and build on them incrementally.
- Always Put Your Best You Forward – Choose to always look your best (and this does not require you to spend a lot of money). Choose to always take the high road…speak from a place of high integrity (no gossip, no talking behind the back of another). Choose to be a good listener. Choose to be gracious.
Now for the secret:
From This Moment Forward, Act as the Self-Confident Person You Want to Be – Whatever you do, wherever you go, whomever you meet, act like and be in the moment the person you aspire to become, the self-confident person you envision yourself being. Over time, you will grow into and become this reality…after all, it is who you already are – you are really just peeling off the layers to get to the self-confident you.