Discover 5 ways to improve self-confidence

Do you wish that you had more self-confidence? The self-confidence to show up as your strongest and best self and go for what you really want?

You are definitely not alone.

Way too often we are making our self-confidence dependent on external factors.
We have to lose weight to feel more self-confident.
We have to finish a certain course to gain a higher qualification. That will give us the self-confidence to take the next step.
You have to do _____ (fill in the blank) to have higher self-confidence.

I had learned that shutting up was the safer option

I have been so guilty of this in the past, and sometimes still fall into this pattern. At this point in my life I can see a lot of different reasons why these issues developed early in my life. A huge part is that I “learned to shut up” in order not to be ridiculed or rejected. In the beginning of my teenage years I simply learned that being quiet was the safer option.

With higher awareness around the pattern and around things that are much more important to me than getting hung up on lack of self-confidence, it has become easier to escape that vicious circle and waiting loop.

Unlearn old patterns and gain self-confidence

So here are five fundamental and sustainable ways for you to build self-confidence. If you are looking for a quick fix, this is not for you. I don’t believe in quick fixes or in “fake it ‘til you make it” advice.

That said, I am a strong advocate for taking small action steps immediately, so you will find those too.

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1) Train the muscle

Muscles need to be trained. None of us expects to build muscles and physical stamina in a week or two. We all know and are very aware of the fact that building up a strong and fit body takes time and consistency. How is it that we expect this to be much easier for the internal stuff going on?

Also here, you need consistency. You need to push your limits, be willing to feel uncomfortable just as it feels uncomfortable in the beginning when you start exercising your body. And when you have those small (or bigger) success moments, be proud and celebrate them.

Here are some hands-on tips for you:

  • Leave your comfort zone intentionally and push your limits. Over time, when your efforts show results, THIS is what grows your self-confidence. In my previous blog post on overcoming challenges I gave the tip to make a list of action that scares you and take one action on purpose every single day.
  • Do that regularly and don’t be discouraged by failure. And I would like to reframe the concept of failure here – see failure as opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Celebrate successes – AND the opportunities for growth. Whenever you have those moments, it means that you have taken action that you maybe have never taken before.

2) Craft your environment

Maybe you have heard the saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? While I do not fully agree with this, I do agree with the essence. Consciously crafting your environment, meaning who and what you spend your time with, is extremely important.

How are you supposed to feel self-confident if you are surrounded by factors that discourage you?
If people you tell about your ideas don’t believe in you?
If you try to approach tasks and activities in a way that you “have heard” is the right way – it is just not a way that is right for you, because your strengths lie somewhere else?

Make building self-confidence easier for yourself

So what can you do instantly to avoid situations that drag you down? Be aware of feedback and responses that you get. If you notice that they make your self-confidence plunge, try to change something about it.

You can choose what you tell to whom. So if you know that someone in your direct environment has a very different opinion about something that is close to your heart, you don’t need to talk about that topic with that specific person. It is not inauthentic or dishonest to choose that. It is just you choosing your battles and trying to do the best for yourself. You are taking care of your energy and drive, and you will gain self-confidence along the way.

3) Make conscious decisions

It is so important to be conscious about what you say ‘yes’ to and what you say ‘no’ to. Making conscious decisions that feel right for you are a huge part of feeling self-confident. This is back to setting your boundaries, which I have written about in my previous blog post on how to overcome challenges. Making conscious decisions that are aligned with your needs, values and desires is a huge source of empowerment. And the feeling of empowerment in turn helps you build self-confidence.

So tune in with your true needs, values and desires and have the courage to say yes and no to the right things in your life.

Even creating the Life you Love is not something that will happen by coincidence but starts with a conscious choice. In that moment you would say no to feeling overwhelmed, unfulfilled and stuck – and say YES to living a life with joy, abundance and freedom.

Bonus tip (easy to implement):

A simple twist in your language can make a huge different. When you decide for something and communicate this decision, don’t use “I can’t, I couldn’t, I shouldn’t” as your explanation. Instead use the empowered wording of “I choose, I chose”, which puts you in control. Drop the victim language and use the language, which signals a power of choice to yourself and others.

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4) Paint a crystal clear picture of your Future

Confidence in where you are going and what you want to achieve in life makes such a huge difference in how you are able to communicate and in how you are going to interact with people. Not only does it help you in conversation with people around your future plans, but it also makes you more grounded in the present moment. The knowledge and awareness that you are going after something that you desire helps you to be sure and confident about your current action.

Personally, I have not always had this vivid and compelling vision. What I had instead were vague dreams and hopes. This has been quite a show stopper for me on several occasions in my past.
For example when looking for a job in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, what I was looking for was a job that “I could feel happy and fulfilled with”. Although I still believe that this is such an important aspect when it comes to finding a job, it is not sufficient in order to communicate in a self-confident and inspiring way to the question “where you see yourself in five years”. And that is a common one in job interviews.

Your benefits of having a vivid & compelling vision

  1. It keeps you focused on a longer perspective and makes it easier to push through with determination and confidence when the going gets tough. The higher purpose makes it so much easier to keep the motivation up.
  2. There are situations where you should be able to tell in a convincing way what it is that you want to achieve. Even in casual conversations, having a compelling vision captures your audience’s attention, inspires them and makes them want to listen to you!
  3. And last but not least, knowing where you are going gives you a much higher chance of actually getting there. Your compelling vision functions as your North Star and gives your daily action direction. Based on the destination you can make a specific plan with action steps on how to get there.

How to start on gaining clarity about your true North Star

Here are 3 thought experiments you can reflect on to get an idea of what your vision might be:

  • Imagine it is your 90th birthday. All your friends and family are gathered to celebrate you.
    What would you like them to say about your legacy? About what you have created throughout your life?
  • Which activities do you most long for and dream of?
    Think about work situations, but also about social settings and activities you like to do for yourself.
  • Which tasks do you naturally and easily take on?
    Think about situations at work, voluntary work, at home, in social settings, etc. 

To quickly sum up: while a crystal clear vision gives your life direction and meaning, it also gives you a foothold and self-confidence right now. Don’t miss valuable tips about topics like this in the future – subscribe here and receive 3 tips how to be happy abroad for free.

5) Explore your beliefs

What are you telling yourself is true? Because you see, whatever it is – you will most probably act accordingly. And then whatever you believe and tell yourself becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What we are talking about here is limiting beliefs. Those are convictions that you hold to be true. Wherever they come from, you have become convinced that they are the final truth. Like when people in ancient times believed the Earth to be flat. It limited them in their travels, because they were fearful of what would happen if they reached the world’s end.

So just like in that analogy, limiting beliefs make us fearful due to the expected consequences. While they might not come true at all, if something really is just your own limiting belief.

They are typically quite difficult to spot for yourself. So if you are suspecting that something might be a limiting belief of yours, get help. Talk to a friend about it, a family member or get yourself a coach. Limiting beliefs are your blind spots. You have lived with them for so long, and as said before – you do consider them the truth. So you probably haven’t really questioned them ever.

How to discover your limiting beliefs?

Next time you feel stuck in a situation and find yourself finding explanations of why that is, ask yourself one simple question: “Is it the truth?”
Basically what you are doing here is doubting your own explanations, because what you might find is that you are actually not coming up with a valid reason, but instead it is your limiting belief holding you back.

What are your next steps

If you want to build self-confidence in a sustainable way, there is no fast lane. You will have to break your limiting beliefs, leave your comfort zone and do things that you have never done before to get results that you have never achieved before. To make the self-confidence authentic and rooted in who you are, you will have to increase your self-awareness, embrace yourself with all your strengths and flaws and align your action with your beliefs and words.

Is it worth all the effort? Yes!

I have gone from feeling doubtful about myself and my abilities to being convinced that I can create success on my own terms. And now it is my passion and mission to help others do the same by sharing my experience and guiding and empowering them on their journey.

I would love to hear what is your most important take away from this blog post. Which one action are you going to do today to boost your self-confidence?

Leave a comment below or send me an e-mail or a message.

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