How to Increase Your Confidence
Have you ever noticed how successful people seem really confident? Do you struggle with confidence in yourself or your ideas?
I come across as confident and there are many things I am confident about in my life, I wasn’t always this way though.
Being completely confident all the time might not be possible but we can increase our confidence. Increased confidence often leads to an increase in achievements and opportunities which further increases our confidence. It’s a great cycle!
Building confidence can be hard if you feel you have failed a lot. Successful people I know don’t let failure or fear stop them. They embrace it and use that nervous energy to push them forward.
Instead of dwelling on what could go wrong, they focus on what could go right. If they are nervous before going on stage they use that nervous energy and jump around or dance before going on stage. It gets them pumped instead of scared.
Increasing your confidence can be a slow process, it is worth it though. I had none when I was in my abusive marriage, then after I started blogging and I was offered opportunities like a book contract, speaking and freelance writing my confidence grew.
I want to make it clear, that while the tips I am about to give help me, if you have severe anxiety or other underlying issues, I highly recommend professional help. A great psychologist has helped me at different times in my life so I always recommend getting the help you need if the confidence issues have underlying causes you need more help with.
To gain more confidence, try some of the following methods.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and services I use.
1. Know Your Purpose
Having a strong sense of purpose gives you the confidence to keep going when things get hard. If there is no purpose behind what you do, there is no strong motivation to keep going.
Life isn’t about only one purpose either. While some people feel strongly they have one single purpose in this life, and that is great for them, others have a rollercoaster ride in life with many purposes.
My life has been a mixture and I truly believe my traumatic experiences and extreme obstacles such as domestic abuse, homelessness, paralysis, repatriation, blending a family and more, combine for various purposes.
The reason behind why I do something or my purpose for it can be different depending on what that thing is. For the most part, my kids come first and they are my main purpose in a lot of things.
However, with my public speaking and charity work, that has been predominantly about raising funds and awareness to end homelessness and domestic violence while inspiring others.
My travel has often been about helping others, promoting destinations that rely on tourism and don’t have large marketing budgets as well as working with locals to increase their profits.
Each area of my life is different, with a different purpose but being sure of my purpose for each one made it easy to be confident in them.
2. Write a List of Things you Like About Yourself
Sit down with a pen and paper and list out things you like about yourself. The first time I did it I aimed for 100 things I like about myself.
It was extremely difficult as I had severe depression at the time. I started with 10, then did the next 10 and the next until I reached 100.
Starting with simple things like “I have great eyebrows because they are shaped nicely naturally and I don’t have to wax them”, followed by “I have long eyelashes that curl up” and “I am good at helping other people” made it easier.
Think about the positive things people say about you, the compliments you are given and kind words people say. We are quick to dismiss these but genuine compliments can help boost your self-esteem.
Ask close, trusted family members and friends what they think your strengths are, what they like about you and pay attention over the coming weeks to the compliments you get.
I was careful with where I sourced the compliments and only listed ones from people I trusted who I knew were honest and genuine. Also, when discussing these things with other people, ensure no criticism or negativity is allowed.
Once I had my list I made a few copies to place in various locations as a reminder of my qualities and values when I felt low. I put one in my wallet, one on my bedroom wall, one on my computer and took a picture to keep on my phone.
At times I struggled to believe they were all true. As I read them and thought about examples of each thing such as a time I helped someone or a discussion with a family member about the qualities they admired in me, this list became more believable and eventually I stopped needing it.
Get the guide on creating this list, along with other resources in my freebies section.
3. Have a Daily Positive Affirmation
Words have power. The way we speak to ourselves is often worse than anything we’d say to anyone. Or if a friend spoke to us in this manner, we’d quickly drop them.
Affirmations are not simply about repeating a quote or line to make you feel good. Affirmations are meant to change your mindset and create a genuine belief within yourself based on the affirmation.
One of my favourite quotes that I use as an affirmation is “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ~Carl Jung.
I repeat this to myself whenever I need a pep talk.
Using “I am” statements creates a new identity and is more powerful than a collection of nice quotes.
Choose some “I am” affirmations you want to be, feel or have and repeat them in the mirror a few times with conviction. It will feel weird at first but it gets easier and you will come to believe them.
4. Write a List of Your Achievements
Similar to the list of things you like about yourself a list of achievements can help you see how amazing you are, the impact you have had on the world and why you should be confident in yourself and your abilities.
Achievements are not limited to awards. Recently when I was looking for ideas for my bucket list I was reading through other people’s lists and was surprised by how much on other people’s lists I have done.
Travel didn’t seem much of an achievement but realistically, many people never get the opportunity to travel at all.
When it comes to parenting, seeing all the things I have helped my kids achieve and the confident, strong, intelligent people they are I include.
What are things you have done or goals you have achieved that you could list and be proud of?
5. Accept Compliments
How often do you talk down compliments? If someone says they like your top/shoes don’t say “this old thing, oh, it’s nothing” just say “Thank you, I love it too.”
You can compliment them back if you want but it’s not necessary although it can be nice. Accept the compliment and feel good about it.
Stop putting yourself, your things or your work down. The compliments are deserved.
6. Change Your Mental Dialogue
We are our own worst critics. Whenever you start to think negatively about yourself, whip out your list of things you like about yourself or the list of compliments and read it.
Generally, if you have a negative mindset, especially if it is caused by depression, anxiety, ADHD or anything else along those lines, you will need some professional help to change your internal dialogue.
If you are not in a position to afford a professional or have had bad experiences and want to avoid them, there are other things such as books you can read and exercises you can do to help shift your mindset.
Lucky Bitch is one I love and got a lot of value from for mindset. The People Pleaser’s Guide to Putting Yourself First is a great resource to change your thinking and take care of yourself.
7. Make Self-Care a Priority
Many women put themselves last, especially after they become mothers. I spent years putting myself last, not doing the things I needed to take care of myself.
I felt bad if I spent money on clothes, the beauty salon or things I wanted. Over time, I got frumpy, overweight and my confidence plummeted.
Part of this was because of the abusive marriage I was in and him not allowing me to get nice clothes or anything either. I was too scared to stand up for myself but once I finally left, I changed all of that.
When I divorced, one of the first things I did was overhaul my look. I am fortunate that my sister, Jac Lambert, was a personal stylist, designer, and make-up artist and has a keen eye for all of that naturally.
She helped me find my style which boosted my confidence. I started booking in monthly to go to the salon and scheduled time with myself for other beauty maintenance such as regular facials, body scrubs and things at home.
I started putting myself first and my confidence grew as a result.
Stop telling yourself you aren’t worth it. You are. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel happy with your health, mind and body. Take care of yourself.
8. Find Balance in Life
Life can easily get overwhelming with work or kids needs or other things taking control and dictating how we spend our time. When this happens, our confidence usually takes a hit too because we become lost in everyone and everything else.
Take a look at your life and the kind of life you want. What actions take you towards the life you want and what takes you away from it?
By viewing our life more objectively, taking on only that which is necessary and working to achieve the life we want, you will feel happier and more confident.
Read how to balance work and family to help you sort this out for yourself.
9. Watch Your Body Language
Our body language is a clear indication of our level of confidence. Sitting or standing with our legs crossed, our shoulders hunched or our arms in our lap are all submissive poses. You are trying to make yourself smaller than the other person.
If you want to be confident, act confident. Use strong, confident body language such as a superhero pose – hands on hips, shoulders back, legs apart. Stand tall, with good posture. Claim and own the space you are in.
Not only does it increase your confidence, but it is also better for your overall health.
Take some time to learn about body language and start to incorporate more confident poses into your life until they feel normal.
Music is powerful and can change your mood completely. Look how music is used in movies and the media to convey emotion, make you sympathetic to the victim, get your blood pumping in dramatic action scenes or scare you in a horror film.
Music impacts your mind.
Start taking note of how music makes you feel and create a confident playlist to use when you need a boost. I have playlists for motivation, working out, cleaning and certain songs I play before I go on a stage to speak.
Music can help you overcome fears and project a sense of confidence.
11. Act Positive
Being happy, smiling and giving compliments will make you feel better about yourself and it makes thinking positively a whole lot easier.
On days I would dread doing certain things, I would make the decision to compliment 3 people and find 10 things to be grateful for. This shift in mindset and taking that action made a world of difference in how I felt.
And when I felt happier, I felt more confident too.
Check out 12 tips for happiness.
12. Be Prepared
Know what it is you are doing or talking about. We all have to start somewhere when learning, so accept which stage you are at, learn as much as you possibly can and be prepared.
When you know what you are talking about or have to do you are a lot more confident than if you don’t know.
With public speaking, I could confidently get up on stage and discuss homelessness, domestic violence, going from homeless to CEO, motivation, my personal story, social media, blogging, blog monetisation and goal setting because these are topics I know a lot about, I speak on often and I am confident in them.
I prepare beforehand, I have key points, I refresh my memory with current statistics as needed and know that when I get up I have prepared myself as much as I can.
If I was to simply get up on stage without preparation I would fail miserably, have no confidence and everyone would see right through.
Preparation is key.
13. Be True To Yourself
What are your standards/principles/core values? What do you live by? Without principles, we have no guidelines or direction for our life.
No direction is a reason for low confidence since you aren’t working towards anything. When you have direction and aim you are more confident because you know what you are doing.
Learn about yourself, what you want and what direction you want your life to go then start living accordingly. Say no to things that don’t take you towards the life you want or don’t feel good to you.
14. Do Something You Love
Or even something you are good at, for example, cooking, swimming, gardening, piano, painting etc. Write a list of things you enjoy doing and are good at then do them.
Whatever it is, do it regularly. Doing something you love and doing it regularly gives you positive feelings about yourself and what you are doing.
These positive feelings can then overflow into other areas of your life. The happier you are and the more you achieve, the more confidence you will have.
I love writing, hiking, standup paddle boarding, swimming, diving, yoga, working out, reading, cooking (certain things) and sometimes gardening. All those things make me feel good, accomplished and confident.
When you are busy, overwhelmed and distracted it is easier to lose confidence than it is when you are calm, in control and feel secure within yourself. Take time out each day to meditate in whatever form you are most comfortable with.
Getting centred regularly enables you to clear your mind, focus and feel more confident. There are guided meditations you can get to focus on confidence if you prefer.
16. Set and Achieve Goals
To begin with, it might be something simple like paying your bills, or a to-do list such as groceries, banking, returning library books etc…
Set a goal or mini list of things to do and complete it. Having goals gives you something to strive for.
Starting small gives you a confidence boost when you achieve them. Having big goals to work towards gives you direction and even more confidence when you achieve them.
Don’t make goals so big you will not be able to achieve them though. If you break them up into sub-goals, every time you achieve one of those sub-goals you are a success.
Check out 10 steps to success with goals for more information.
17. Recognise What Makes you Feel Insecure
Take note of your feelings doing certain things. What makes your confidence waiver?
Why are you insecure about it? What can you do to change it?
I am insecure about dancing because of an incident that happened when I was a teenager. I have taken dance classes since and done well but the thought of dancing in a group or in public at all strikes fear into my heart.
Getting up on stage and speaking to a room or even a stadium full of people is easier than dancing in public for me.
18. Five Why’s
In the book, The People Pleaser’s Guide to Putting Yourself First, I read about the Five Why’s which I had completely forgotten about.
Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Industries, developed the 5 Whys technique in the 1930s. It’s a technique to help you get to the root cause of a problem and Toyota still use it today.
It’s as simple as asking yourself why, five times. Here’s an example from a meeting with a friend who was struggling with the motivation to make some promised changes in their life despite having the resources.
Why don’t I do what I say I’ll do?
Because I don’t put systems in place and commit to taking action to make those changes.
Why don’t I make those changes?
Because I don’t make it a priority.
Why don’t I make these changes a priority?
Because I assume it’ll all work out without any effort from me and if I make it a priority, it means I care and things have to change.
Why do I do that?
Because of my childhood and adulthood experiences (I won’t share what they shared or what I know for this part). I self-sabotage so I don’t have to do it.
Why do I self-sabotage?
Because I don’t feel I deserve to be loved.
This hit them so hard, they cried. It was a huge realisation for them and they immediately put things in place to make some changes.
I saw them again recently and they had managed to stick to the changes, increased their self-esteem, were more confident and all aspects of their life had improved.
19. Remove Toxic People From Your Life
Growing up, it was impressed upon me that you stick with family no matter what. We should always give people multiple chances (religious upbringing so I was taught we should forgive others constantly no matter what e.g. Jesus said “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
That created a toxic environment and thought process where I forgave and allowed people to walk all over me. You can forgive without continuing to have that person in your life though.
So how do you change that? And how do you get the courage to remove toxic people from your life, even if they are family/childhood friends etc?
Therapy is essential for some people. For me, I was able to start doing it when I noticed how bad for my life these people were.
My own teens noticed the difference when I cut toxic people out of my life. I grieved at first, it was difficult but overall, I was happier, less stressed and our life was fuller.
Toxic people can come in any form. They leave you questioning yourself and what you are doing. They don’t encourage you or if they do, it is backhanded compliments.
You often feel confused, hurt, used and overall awful around them.
Once you start to recognise the impact people have in your life, you will see who deserves to be in it and who needs to be removed.
I’ve done this a few times throughout my life. It’s not easy, especially when my life has been so linked to theirs but every time it has been worth it.
When you are trying to do everything and be everything for everyone, it’s overwhelming. Often in this state, we freeze up, feel depressed, stressed and like we are failures.
Take a step back and look at what you want or need to be doing. The important things that matter for you, not everyone else.
Choose something to focus on and follow through with that. The book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, discusses this in detail and how beneficial it is.
Stop trying to do it all and instead do what matters to you to create the life you want. Take the steps and action that will result in positive change for you.
When you switch your focus this way, you will have more confidence in what you are doing which leads to a higher chance of success. This boosted confidence will flow through to other parts of your life too.
What increases your confidence?
Here are all the resources mentioned throughout the article.
Freebies: Resources that changed my life
The People Pleaser’s Guide to Putting Yourself First
6 tips for self-care
How to balance work and family
12 tips for happiness
How to work out your core values
10 steps to success with goals
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results