Confidence is life’s enabler.
When you’re confident about something you believe that it’s likely to turn out well. You have a positive attitude and approach; you feel sure that if there are any difficulties or problems you’ll be able to deal with it. Not only do you have faith in your own abilities, you can also inspire confidence in others.
Confidence is built from a sound base of foundation stones. These foundation stones involve principles – fundamental truths – which apply in a wide range of situations; professional, personal and social.
Know your values
Your values are what’s important to you and has some worth to you. When the decisions you make, what you do, the way you behave and relate to other people matches your values, then in a range of situations you can be confident that you are doing the right thing.
What do you value? Reliability, fairness, honesty, cooperation; are any of these important to you? If, for example equality and fairness are important to you, you can feel confident – believe you are doing the right thing – in challenging an unfair situation.
Values can determine your priorities and help you to make decisions with confidence, clarity and most importantly, with integrity.
Identify and acknowledge your strengths
Knowing what your strengths are, you can look for ways and opportunities to use those abilities and qualities and you can also look for ways to build on and develop those strengths.
Build on your strengths. When it comes to confidence, developing your strengths makes far more sense than trying to become better at things that are not your forte. Focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot.
Manage your failings and foibles
Of course, we’ve all got weaknesses but ignoring or denying flaws and faults would be deluded and conceited. On the other hand, dwelling on failings and foibles doesn’t help build confidence!
Rethink your weaknesses; see them as a positive light. Take for example, having a short attention span. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It’s neither. It’s just a thing. What does make it a good or bad thing, a weakness or a strength, is what you think and believe about having a short attention span. Usually, people see a short attention span as a weakness, but a short attention span can also be a strength. It means you can get a series of short tasks and activities done quickly. You find it easy to switch your focus from one task or activity to another. You know that the way to manage a long drawn out task is to break it down into smaller jobs, take them on one at a time and work in short bursts.
Having a positive outlook does not mean denying the possible challenges and difficulties of a situation. Rather, you acknowledge any potential challenges and look for solutions. Positive thoughts give you the beliefs that will make it more likely that you will be able to do something.
Have a phrase or word that stops negative thoughts. If you catch yourself thinking negatively, remind yourself that negative thinking does not help you feel confident. Simply say “Stop!” to yourself. Or tell yourself “No, I’m not going there. I’m not thinking like that!” Then refocus your thoughts to more positive helpful thoughts.
Add the word ‘but’. Anytime you catch yourself saying a negative sentence, add the word ‘but’. This prompts you to follow up with a positive sentence. For example, finish this sentence; “ I don’t think we can meet the deadline. But………..”
Speak with confidence
The words you use reveal a lot about your levels of confidence.
Use positive words. Words such as will, can, have, shall, want. Avoid using minimising and qualifying words words such as possibly, just, mustn’t and can’t that undermines your efforts to present yourself with authority and confidence. Instead of saying, for example, “We can’t get this done until Thursday” say “We can get this done by Thursday.”
Listen and read. You can learn a lot about confident language just by listening to and reading what other people say. Listen to people talk on the TV and radio. Read what other people say in their emails and texts. Do their words create a positive confident impression? Listen and look for ‘minimising’ and ‘qualifying’ words and phrases and think about how you would rephrase them.
About the author
Gill Hasson is a freelance tutor and writer. She works for adult education, voluntary and training organisations. Gill teaches a variety of Personal Development courses, including confidence and self esteem, assertiveness, communication skills and resilience. Her writing includes books on the subject of emotional intelligence, communication skills, assertiveness, mindfulness, and resilience . Her books How to be Assertive, Mindfulness and, most recently, Confidence Pocketbook: Little Exercises for a Self-Assured Life. Gill also works as a Career Coach: gillhasson.co.uk
To hear more, check our Gill’s podcast with LID Radio: Episode 53.