7 Ways to Boost Liking “U”/ Self-Esteem & Confidence to Get It
Take control of your life.
The majority of my clients crave more control over their lives. They’re successful by society’s definition of success. Yet, they don’t feel like they have control over much. Instead, they feel directionless and like there’s got to be more to life, leading them to constantly second-guess themselves — a self-confidence issue.
The problem is that they don’t see that they have a confidence problem because of what they perceive to be their success. But, how do you define success, exactly?
Luckily, coaching helps them identify that they have a confidence problem and gives them powerful tools for building self-confidence and getting control of their life.
You, too, can learn how to be confident and find the courage to take control of your life by learning 7 confidence-building steps.
But, before you start taking these steps for building confidence in your own life, you need to be aware of the relationship between control, success, and self-confidence.
Pretty much every client I have is considered successful — both by society and themselves. Yet, they also feel like they don’t have much control over their life or the path that they’re on. And, boy, do they crave control.
What is the relationship between self-confidence and control?
Obviously, my clients must have some level of self-confidence and self-worth or else they wouldn’t be where they are. However, there are layers to self-confidence — kind of like an onion. You can be highly confident in some areas of your life yet have very little self-confidence in other areas.
Most of their self-confidence relates to their skills and intelligence levels. But that’s not all there is when it comes to self-confidence. It’s way deeper than that. Peel back the onion and you’ll find that there’s a layer of self-confidence needed in order to feel in control of your life.
Feeling in control of your life is about being willing to take control.
No one else can give you control over your life and you don’t need anyone’s permission to take it. And you need confidence and courage to take control.
What does control really mean?
You can’t control many things in life. You’ll never be able to control other people, many of your circumstances, or even the outcome of your efforts. What you can control is your mindset, your behavior, and your responses or reactions to negative events.
Feeling in control requires that you feel confident in who you are and how you make decisions so that you have the courage to:
- Take responsibility for your behavior and your choices.
- Face and deal with your fears head-on.
What does that really mean? Basically, when negative events punch you in the gut, you have to determine what to do. For example:
- If you’re going through a family member’s death, do you crawl into a hole of denial and push people away? Or do you deal with your emotions and allow others to help you?
- If you’re laid off from work, do you ignore a looming financial problem or do you deal with it head-on?
- Or, if your marriage is falling apart, do you blame your ex-spouse for everything? Or do you take responsibility for your part in the dissolution of your marriage?
Make no mistake: this isn’t easy. It brings fear. If you’re not confident enough in who you are and how you make decisions for yourself, you’ll never do it. But your willingness to deal with negative emotions is a big part of taking control over your life.
Taking control of your life is about taking responsibility for yourself, something that requires both courage and deep levels of self-confidence.
Courage is nothing more than a willingness to do something difficult that has some fear behind it regardless of the fear. Your fear remains, yet you still act.
What about success and self-confidence?
Most of us believe that people who are successful in their careers or business life are highly self-confident. But that’s not necessarily the case. Again, it depends on the type of self-confidence you’re talking about. But, it also comes down to how you define success.
Today’s society primarily defines success as the attainment of wealth, status, and power. But, this definition is incomplete. What about how you feel on the inside?
For me, success requires you being happy and content with your success. And that means that you must be at peace with yourself and your decisions.
You can be a highly intelligent rule-follower who works hard and achieves high levels of success in your career yet still second-guess yourself and feel like you have no control over your life. Second-guessing yourself means that you lack faith in yourself. That lack of faith is a lack of self-confidence.
So, here’s the formula for the kind of success that can make you happy and helps you feel content with who you are, where you are in life, and the decisions you’ve made:
Self-Confidence → Courage → Taking Control + Hard Work = Success on Your Terms
I’m not promising that you’ll be successful at achieving everything you set out to do. But, you will learn how to be more confident, feel good about yourself, your decisions, and your efforts using this formula. And that’s the real success.
With that, here are the 7 steps for how to build your self-confidence, find courage, and become more successful.
- Face your fear
Fear is a confidence killer, yet there is something you can do about your fears so that they don’t take hold of you: you face them. Unfortunately, the long-standing cliché that you must face your fears is true. Most people work hard to avoid their fears, which makes your fears continue to haunt you and even grow (the opposite of what you want).
But facing a fear actually helps to put a dent in it. When facing your fears, start small if possible.
For example, if you’re afraid of speaking in front of an audience, face it by speaking in front of a room of 10 people and then build up from there.
Don’t want to go all-in immediately? Face it within your mind first by doing the following:
- Identify your fear: Name it and be specific about what you fear might happen.
- Feel into your fear: Experience it in its worst form and keep at it for 10 minutes. Do this and imagine your fear coming true.
- Let go of your fear: Do this by breathing deeply and concentrating on your breath.
The point of this exercise is for your brain to experience your fear and get through it. You’ll realize that you can make it through, which helps to decrease the fear.
- Play “What if…?”
This is another fear-busting way to build your self-confidence. Here’s what to do:
- Identify and name your fear: Be detailed about what you fear and give it a name. Do you fear rejection or failure? Perhaps you only fear failure because of what someone (such as a parent) might think. Be specific about that.
- Ask “what if the worst happens?”: Imagine that the absolute worst happens. Where would you be and what would be happening? How would you feel?
- Ask “what next?”: Once you’ve given some thought to where you’d be if your worst fear came true, consider what you would do about it. Start to plan around your fear.
Going through this exercise will help you to get into action — instead of worrying over what might happen — and gives back some of your control. It also helps you to realize that you can still get through the worst-case scenario.
- Challenge and re-frame
Although this step is similar to the ones above, it’s more complex and works best when dealing with impostor syndrome and fear of failure.
Impostor syndrome is when, despite your successes and evidence to the contrary, you believe that you’ll one day be exposed and that you’ve just been lucky.
Amazingly, impostor syndrome is common among successful people. How can you deal with it and other fears, such as the fear of failure)?
Challenge your fears by doing these 4 things:
- Name the fear: Specify the fear you’re dealing with.
- Identify the belief behind your fear: What do you believe about yourself that gives rise to this fear?
- Identify what you know that rebuts your belief: For example, if you fear that you’ll be found out as a fraud and are afraid to take on something new you could identify all of your achievements to date and the skills and strengths that got you there. This will help put your fear and the beliefs behind it into perspective.
- Re-frame your belief by focusing on the positive: Ask yourself how you and others might benefit. For instance, if you’re afraid of asking for help because of a fear that you’ll be seen as weak, remind yourself of the benefits of asking. Not only will you free up more of your time for things that you’re better at, but you’ll be empowering others in the process.
- Affirm yourself in the right way
Positive affirmations are powerful tools…when done right. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation around how to use them.
Here’s how to utilize positive affirmations as a tool for building self-confidence in the right way:
- Be specific: Don’t generalize, but instead, be specific about what’s going on and why you lack confidence.
- Express your affirmation in the present tense: For example, here is an affirmation for dealing with a fear of failure when taking on a new role at work, “I have the experience, skills, and knowledge needed to take this on. I’m well prepared and have additional resources to back me up whenever needed. I know that I can do a great job.”
- Use only facts and what you know to be true: Don’t sugarcoat by being overly positive.
- Tell a narrative: Be clear about where you are and how you’re utilizing your current capabilities and strengths (plus any resources) to get you where you want to be.
- Challenge your self-doubt
Any time you doubt yourself, challenge your doubts by listing all the reasons why your doubts are false.
As you begin to find reasons to rebut your self-doubt, you’ll be transforming the negativity going on in your head into a more positive feeling (and you start using more positive language).
This step is simple, yet it’s important because you’ll be practicing kindness and compassion toward yourself. Plus, you’ll be finding a lot of reasons not to doubt yourself. And that builds confidence!
- List and build your success
List your successes, strengths, and skills. But, don’t make just about the obvious successes — it also includes what you learn through failure.
Take out a piece of paper and create 5 columns. In each column, do this:
- In the first column, list the achievements you’re proud of.
- In the second column, list your skills and how they have helped you to succeed.
- In the third column, list your strengths and how they have helped you to succeed. Note: Strengths aren’t the same thing as skills. Strengths are those inherent qualities about you that you’re good at, such as being able to identify patterns that aren’t readily identifiable (one of my strengths).
- In the fourth column, list your big “failures” — those times when you didn’t succeed at something you wanted or didn’t achieve a goal you set for yourself. Then, list the lessons learned and each skill and strength that was developed or strengthened because of the so-called failure.
This powerful exercise will remind you of all of your accomplishments and that you’re not failing if you’re learning something (making it easier to take a leap of faith).
- Analyze all the risks
Finally, you need to start making changes in your life. When facing something new or different, most of us look immediately to the risk involved with a change, assuming something big goes wrong. Very few people look at the risk of doing nothing even though there’s often a big risk in doing nothing.
The truth is, there are risks on both sides of the equation. You need to figure out the risks on both sides of the equation so that you can make a more informed decision. It will also increase your self-confidence around how you make decisions (especially those that involve big changes to your life).
To properly analyze all risks, here’s what you need to do:
- Assuming you take a leap of faith, consider the best thing that could happen: Be specific and take some time to feel into this.
- Assuming you take a leap of faith, consider the worst thing that could happen: Again, be specific about where you’ll be and how you’d feel. Ask also what you would do should that happen (i.e. how would you fix it or deal with this scenario)?
- Assuming you do nothing, consider the best thing that could happen: Analyze how good that really is.
- Assuming you do nothing, consider the worst thing that could happen: Be sure to think about the long-term repercussions of doing nothing and allowing things to go on as-is. Again, be specific about how you’d feel and where you’d end up.
- Make a choice based on what you’ve found.
Now that you know the steps to take to build your self-confidence, it’s time to utilize them and take control of your life and success once more.