We know confidence when we feel it or see it in others. If there’s no hesitation to start a conversation, try a new hobby, or perform in public, we probably have at least some confidence. Even if we don’t know for sure we’ll succeed at what we’re doing, we can have confidence that the outcome won’t be the worst thing that has ever happened to us.
If you take a look at the children in your life, you’ll probably see a lot of confidence. They can’t reach doorknobs or walk without bonking their heads on things. But that doesn’t stop them! They toddle around like they own the place. Confident that the world is their oyster and they’re impervious to harm. Based on a child’s experiences in life so far, their confidence is usually warranted. They are self-assured because they don’t realize there’s a bigger world around them. They are secure with who they are in the world because they’ve never had to consider anything different. Most children don’t know there are certain limits to their abilities, so they’re blissfully confident they can do anything.
That’s the type of feelings we need to have as adults. Despite the hardships we’ve endured or negative feedback we’ve received, we need to be able to feel what we feel without worry. Additionally, as we continually work on building our own confidence, we can lead by example and teach our loved ones to do the same.
Ways to Develop Confidence
You may be familiar with the phrase “Fake it till you make it.” A phrase many of us were told by our parents, teachers, or even employers. It’s an encouragement to pretend that outwardly we know what we’re doing, even if on the inside we have no clue. It is good advice, but it’s not always easy to follow. If you’re not comfortable showing up to a job and acting like you know what you’re doing, here’s how you can develop the confidence to perform the tasks required of you.
- Do Your Research – Even if you can get by faking it till you make it, it can set you up for more feelings of failure if you do actually succeed. All along you were just feigning confidence, but now you have to stand in front of a group and look like you belong. What do you do?
- Rely on the Facts – If you’ve done your research, and put in the work to provide an accurate, insightful report, you can rely on those facts to back you up. You know you have the facts, so focus on them.
- Take a Calculated Risk – Is there something you can tackle that has little chance of risk? Take that risk! This might be volunteering at your local school (less pressure to perform if there’s no paycheck involved), fostering pets for the animal shelter, or trying a new hobby. Focus on what could be the worst that would happen if you didn’t do well in situations like these. The new skill you test out might not come easily to you, but you still enjoy doing it.
- Dress For Success – If you worry that you may not be the right person to get what you want, what do you do? Try dressing for the job you want, and not the job you have. Looking more professional in the workplace can boost your confidence. Just like dressing comfortably may help you feel more at ease at the park with your kids and neighbors.
- Don’t Forget to Smile – Remember that you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Something as simple as a bright, inviting smile can change your mood from unsure to unflappable. Smiling can produce a chemical reaction in the brain, triggering the production of serotonin and dopamine. Plus, smiles can be contagious, so the feelings of confidence and happiness spread throughout the room.
Why Confidence is Important
Being able to command the attention of a room can show others you truly know your stuff. Whether it’s in your professional or personal life, people can appreciate a confident leader. By doing the research to feel prepared for the situations you engage in regularly, you show you have substance. Your knowledge of a topic can enrich conversations you have with others, or help you make tough choices in parenting or education.
Confidence can also offer us a certain level of protection in the world. When we show others we believe we’re allowed to feel how we feel, it can change how they treat us. Own your responses and others will be less likely to question you. Additionally, moving through life with confidence could potentially deter others from trying to take advantage of you.
Know Confidence is a Fluid Trait
Don’t get discouraged if some days are more challenging than others. It isn’t easy to be 100% confident all day, every day. Know that it’s a constant process to learn your worth, and there are tools to empower you.