By Essie Bester
Self -confidence – that feeling of certainty that you can achieve anything you have decided upon. In a leader’s position, where the ability to persuade and dependability are required, self-confidence is non-negotiable. No-on can follow a leader who appears to be uncertain of him/herself. Self-confidence is essential – even if you’re just a team player and not fulfilling a leadership role.
Creating self-confidence is not about knowing everything or being absolutely sure of yourself. It is about having the confidence to know that, regardless of what happens in a specific situation, you will be able to handle it and will learn something from the outcome.
The three principles of being self-confident
To become master of your emotions – this is what these principles are about. According to experts, the secret is to change your perspective and disposition while choosing to be self-confident.
- Body language
Act as if possessing self-confidence, even if you don’t feel like it. Think about your first meeting with a person whom you experience as self-confident. You probably knew he/she was self-confident even before exchanging any words, due to the way in which the person conducted him/herself and moved. He/she made eye contact, gave you a firm handshake and stood up straight.
Change your focus. Wherever your focus goes, your energy follows. So, stop concentrating on all the ways in which something can go wrong and focus on all the ways in which it can be successful. What you focus on becomes your reality.
- A growth propensity
Self-confidence does not come about because of your outer achievements – it comes from within. If you fail you can get up and try again instead of throwing in the towel.
Tips that can enhance your self-confidence:
- Conquer your debilitating convictions
Firstly, learn to love yourself. If you practise self-love, you will have self-confidence regardless of what happens, as that self-confidence will come from within. However, many people never learn to love themselves and develop a lack of self-confidence early in life. Unconsciously they adopt debilitating convictions about what they are capable of. This leads to self-sabotage, which in its turn strengthens these convictions.
- Determine what matters to you
When you start standing up for yourself, it has an enormous effect on your self-confidence. Self-confident people earn more money in the workplace because they take credit for their achievements. Make your manager aware in a business-like way when you have made a contribution to the achievement of the company’s goal – as long as you keep it business-like it’s not boasting.
Establish what drives your decisions. Everybody has six human needs: certainty, purpose, variety, love/commitment, growth and contribution. Each one of us considers one of these needs more important than the rest. This influences every decision we make and can even influence our self-confidence. If, for example, your top need is certainty, you could feel unsure in unfamiliar situations.
The self-speech you use has an important influence on your confidence. Take note thereof and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Gratitude is the key to a happy life. Gratitude makes fear disappear and abundance appear. When you begin to appreciate all the things your body allows you to do, it will begin to feel more like a gift than a burden.
Stand up straight, pull back your shoulders, breathe deeply and walk with quick, determined steps. With such a posture you feel stronger and where your body goes, your thoughts follow. Also observe the body posture of others to learn more from it and in this way get a head start in negotiations.
- Practise attitudes of strength
Connect with your inner strength. Breathe deeply and connect with your inner core. This can be a yoga posture, like putting your hands on your hips and standing with your feet a shoulder width apart – as long as you awaken your inner strength and convey that strength and confidence to every interaction.
- Think about previous successes
Sometimes we forget all the successes we achieved in the past. Reliving those moments can help you to utilise your potential. Think about one of your recent achievements if you are nervous or unsure about an upcoming situation.
Positive visualisation is a powerful instrument. If you visualise something over and over, your mind starts believing that it has already taken place. When the situation eventually arises, your brain thinks it knows how to react – this is self-confidence. Visualise a situation, think of yourself as succeeding and do your best to limit thoughts of failure to the minimum. Remember that you get that on which you focus.
To meet with others and show self-confidence through eye contact is one of the quickest ways in which to exude self-confidence. Use the 80/20 rule by looking someone in the eye for 80% of the time and focusing on something else for the remaining 20%, so that you don’t appear too intense or make the other person feel uncomfortable.
You need not shout, just project your voice – a bit louder than what you find comfortable. It won’t sound so loud to others and you will make your presence felt even more.
Learn to appreciate what you have now, without worrying about tomorrow or about what happened yesterday. Experience how self-confidence follows.
By changing how you present yourself physically and on what you focus mentally, you can create the self-confidence that will help you achieve your goals.