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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

December 08, 2019
| Career

How to fix a lack of self-confidence

We often think that people are born confident, and others have to fake it while internally squirming and feeling uncomfortable about it. We’ll this is simply not true, anyone can develop confidence in themselves and their career. It’s actually imperative to have confidence in order to be a high performer and ambitious leader.

There’s no way that you can build an amazing career if you don’t have self-confidence. It’s the soft skill that transforms people into ambitious and inspiring leaders.

Having a lack of self-confidence is bad for your career growth

When you lack self-confidence, you’re:

  • Less decisive

  • Have a closed mind and perspective

  • Less socially engaged

  • Often depressed

  • Less likely to engage with challenging projects

  • More likely to take personal offence from small things

  • Likely to feel less capable

  • Constantly comparing yourself with others

  • More willing to stay in your comfort zone

There’s no way that you can build an amazing career if you don’t have self-confidence. It’s the soft skill that transforms people into ambitious and inspiring leaders.

Confidence isn’t a feeling, it’s a belief

Confidence isn’t a feeling, it’s a belief. It’s the belief and affirmation that you are valuable, worthwhile and capable, with some optimism added in, to help you be certain of your abilities and act courageously.

Confidence isn’t a unique personality trait, it’s something that dwells within all of us, but we tend to shut it down because we don’t feel like we deserve it — well, I’m here to tell you that yes, you do! Being confident in who you are and what you want to achieve will be the best motivation to push you forward, and it allows other people to be inspired by you, too. This is what true self-confidence means. It helps you deal with failures more positively and put your best energy back into the work that is most meaningful to you.

Beliefs are more powerful than you think

One of the most powerful motivations we have is the human need to stay consistent with our belief.

Your WANTS don’t get met consistently, but your MUSTS do. If we want to become confident in ourselves, the fundamentals need to be practised daily — that’s how goals are achieved. If you want to master anything, you have to do it over and over again, with the real skill being not giving into boredom.

Here’s how you can get yourself out of the rut of lacking self-confidence and learn to build up confidence for the rest of your life by changing your core beliefs.

Once we find our WHY, we can overcome any HOW.

“He (or she) that has a why can bear almost any how”Friedrich Nietzsche

Here’s how the subtle techniques of boosting your confidence will enable you to change your career and your life.

Finding your ‘why’

Finding your why can be tough. We’re so wrapped up in the daily grind that we get used to our routine and never question it. Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle shows us that we have to start with our WHY, and the HOW and WHAT of our career, life, goals and dreams will take care of themselves.

Diagram-of-The-Golden-Circle-from-Simon-Sineks-Start-with-Why-Business-Concept-v2

The Golden Circle is designed to re-center businesses on the most important thing, their WHY. But, we can easily tailor it to work for your WHY. Your WHY encapsulates your purpose, your cause beliefs. It isn’t your results or goals – it’s deeper than that. You want to shape your ideals from the inside out because this leads to inspired work and a sense of energy and purpose. It’s about living life authentically and intentionally. And, when you ‘find your WHY’, you find your self-confidence.

As an individual, you should look at the Golden Circle like this:

  • Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose in life?

  • How do you do what you do? What’s your unique superpower?

  • What do you do? What are the actions that you take to put food on the table?

Start to find your WHY again

It can be hard to find your WHY. You may need to take some time and think deeply.

Here are some probing questions that can help you find your WHY again:

  • What do you want to achieve in your career?

  • What do you want your personal life to look like?

  • What does success in life look like or mean to you?

  • How do you want people to perceive you?

  • How do you currently perceive yourself?

  • What are the things that are exciting enough to get you out of bed in the morning?

Before we do anything, it’s important to know our WHY, first!

Here are some of the common inhibitors to confidence. The lesson here is that we can start gaining more self-confidence just by changing our perception and implementing some small tweaks in our interactions with others.

Body language

Non-verbal signals are extremely important, they comprise about 75% of communication. That’s a huge amount of information. It’s not just about what you say, but what you do that tells others how confident, trustworthy and competent you are.

“The important part is that most communication is nonverbal. In fact, nonverbal behavior is the most crucial aspect of communication.” – The Non Verbal Group

The key here is something called posture. The amazing thing about posture is that it sends signals not just to others, but to our own brain as well. This means, that our posture determines how self-confident we feel, and this changes how competent others perceive us to be.

Open vs closed positions

Be open, expose your chest, smile, spread out wide, maintain eye contact.

Every time you slump in your chair, fold your arms and walk with your back hunched over, you take on a ‘lower power pose’. This means that you are telling others (and yourself) that you “shouldn’t” be confident and that you are less competent than everyone else. The thing is, that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy because we humans will always strive in the direction of our beliefs, even if those beliefs are negative and harmful.

So, change your posture and you’ll inject some powerful and positive signals into your brain (and other’s brains, too). Once your brain sees that you are assuming a power pose, it will help you to strive forward in the direction of that belief.

Your motions impact your emotions” — Tony Robbins

Gratitude boosts your confidence

Let me ask you something, what and who are you taking for granted in your life? What opportunities and perks are afforded to you just because you were born into this country? When you feel grateful, you can’t feel fear. The two emotions are like a light switch, you can’t put a light on and off at the same time, can you?

The trick with gratitude is that it’s a skill and it does require practice. We’ve all had epiphany moments that feel like everything lined up, and it seemed like whatever was happening was meant to be. When these moments happen, it allows us to feel overwhelmed with gratitude. This could be a family reunion, a flight or hotel room being upgraded, or simply a gesture from your loved ones showing you that they love you.

Don’t take these moments for granted. In fact, write them down and remind yourself of them constantly.

Embracing vulnerability

We think that confident people are born that way or that they’re always confident all of the time. The problem is that this isn’t true — we make up this idea in our heads.

When we see confident people, attractive, intelligent and “flawless”, we don’t really trust them or open up to them because they are un-relatable — they make us feel horrible about ourselves. But, it’s not their fault, it’s ours because we’ve constructed this image of them in our own heads based on the limited amounts of information that we can see about them.

Vulnerability is linked to increased creativity. It gives people the much-needed courage and motivation to push through. Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability has nothing to do with being weak – it’s opening up yourself as an expression of trust and kinship. As social animals, we’ve used this method to form strong lifelong bonds for millions of years. Without vulnerability, there can be no close or intimate relationships. Just think about it for a minute in your own life, do the people closest to you open up to you? My guess would be yes.

Having strong social bonds is paramount if we want to increase our self-confidence. When people we care about affirm that we are capable, worthwhile, reliable and lovable — there’s no where for our self-confidence to go, but up!

Your remarkable life starts here.

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