5 Powerful Ways to Improve Your Confidence
My hands were shaking and slippery with sweat, which made holding onto my Sig Sauer 40 cal. extra challenging. The police Sergeant yelling, “Ready. Aim. Fire!” in my ear didn’t help either. The Sergeant was a bit shorter than my 5’7” frame and he was standing so close I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. I was momentarily distracted by the smell of coffee laced with tuna on his breath. If only I had a Tic Tac to give him. Refocus. Breathe. Sight the target. Finger on the trigger. Before Police College I had zero experience with guns. In fact, I’d never held a gun before. But I didn’t want my lack of experience and fear to show. It goes without saying that confidence is a critical concept when it comes to shooting a gun. You’re holding a weapon that can easily take a life. I was getting used to being one of very few women in Police College which made me feel like I wanted to prove myself worthy every single day. Think about a situation in your life when you invited self-confidence to the party, but insecurity showed up instead. It’s completely normal to feel uncertain sometimes. Read the biography of a person you admire, and self-doubt was certainly part of their story. Behavior never lies. Your words can shout, “I’m confident!” but if what you do each day reveals a lack of confidence, what you say won’t matter.
A QUICKIE CONFIDENCE GUIDE
Take a look at the following list. Which thoughts or actions are true for you? Choose either A or B in each question and record your answers. The A’s indicate self-confidence, while the B’s signify self-doubt. Regardless of you answers, overcoming self-doubt begins with self-awareness. The good news is that self-confidence can be learned and built on.
FIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CONFIDENCE TODAY
#1 – Surround Yourself with People Who Believe in You
Hanging out with people who encourage and support you, creates a self-fulfilling prophecy because you begin to believe in yourself. Who you associate with will impact your success, happiness, and confidence more than any other factor. As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Make this the week you find a mentor, reach out to a friend, or join a group of supportive people who will encourage you on your journey.
#2 – Get Physical
Doing even just a few minutes of mindful movement each day can significantly increase your self-confidence. The American Psychological Association reports that, when done consistently, just 30-minutes of exercise helps maintain a healthy sense of self-confidence. If you love high intensity workouts like HIIT or CrossFit, go for it. If yoga or long walks with your cat are more your thing, that works too.
#3 – Feed Your Mind
Like physical fitness, mental fitness requires consistency and commitment. When you feed your mind with positive books, podcasts, affirmations, and conversations, you increase your confidence. Decide today to feed your mind with “mental protein” like motivational and inspirational books and audios; rather than “mental candy” like gossip magazines and sensationalized news programs.
#4 – Prepare
One of the best ways to build confidence is with deliberate practice. Before I was permitted to carry a handgun in public, I had to practice. A lot. I trained in a safe setting at the Police Academy for months, and it continued to practice after graduation. Practicing your skills in a safe setting is key to building your confidence. If you’re unsure about your ability to do something, start by practicing in a safe setting.
#5 – Let Go of Perfectionism
Striving to be perfect is destructive and addictive. It leads to self-doubt because we can never achieve perfect. No one can. In fact, the less you aim for perfect, the more confident you will become. Because perfect is the enemy of done and when we don’t finish something our confidence wanes. For example, the imperfect blog that gets published, is better than the perfect blog stored on a computer that no one will ever read. I take my own advice on this one, and publish my blogs, even when I know they’re not perfect and never will be.
SELF-CONFIDENCE IS A CONTINUAL WORK IN PROGRESS
No one has it all of the time, and we all struggle with uncertainty. It’s important that we’re self-aware and continue to work on our confidence. When you’re confident, people are more likely to listen to you, follow you, and trust you.
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