For the past few months, the professional women of the ASPIRE Success Club and I have addressed these and other questions, and the discussion has been nothing less than profound. Confidence is one of those vague, hard-to-measure life areas, yet critical to our success both personally and professionally. How can one succeed without a baseline of confidence?
Although quantifying confidence is tricky, building it up does not have to be. Here are three starting points to enhance your confidence in work, leadership, and life:
1. Take Action.
Spinning in mental circles chips away at our confidence more than just about anything else. As Katty Kaye and Claire Shipman emphasize in their excellent book, The Confidence Code, "Action separates the timid from the bold."
In some instances, your action doesn't even need to be related to the area you're questioning. For instance, have you ever stared at a computer screen for hours trying to figure something out, then the answer instantly comes to you once you go for a walk or hop in the shower? Take an action and let the momentum grow your confidence.
2. Upgrade Your Self-Talk.
Before you skim over this suggestion, watch this 2-minute video by Dove. We have a constant internal dialogue looping through our minds, often without our conscious awareness; this video shows what it's like to hear those things aloud. Commit to fueling your mind with confident, healthy, positive thoughts and let the unhelpful, negative, disheartening ones go.
3. Replace "Compare" With "Learn From."
One of my favorite quotes speaks directly to this suggestion: "Confidence isn't walking into a room thinking you're better than everyone. It's walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone at all." Rather than comparing yourself to others and feeling "less than," ask yourself a few questions: What does my reaction tell me about myself? What action could I take to grow in this area? What can I learn from his/her experience that will help me in my own development? What's the lesson here?
COACH CHRISTI'S CHALLENGE: Which of the above three suggestions would benefit you the most? A word of caution: It might be one that you initially dismissed; after all, we tend to resist what we most need to learn.
Choose one this week and focus on it intently. For example, if you choose #3, notice when you find comparison creeping into your internal dialogue. It might be while in a meeting, listening to a speaker, or scanning your Facebook feed. Notice it, acknowledge it, then ask yourself what action you will take to boost your confidence.
Please, do this without any self-judgment. No worrying about past instances or "shoulds" - just focus on growing your confidence with meaning and purpose from this day forward.
One final thought: Consider why enhancing your confidence is important. What's the purpose behind your confidence-boosting actions? For some, it might be to serve as a role model for your team or your children. For others, it might be to save time currently spent in overthinking or comparing. Let your purpose drive your meaningful actions, and let your confidence radiate out and inspire the rest of us!
What boosts your confidence? Share your thoughts, tips, and ideas below.
Dr. Christi Hegstad is a certified and award-winning executive and leadership coach who helps people work, live, and lead with meaning and purpose. Learn more at www.meaning-and-purpose.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.