Here are some confidence building exercises that individuals can practice to boost their self-esteem and achieve their goals
“Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.”- Michelle Obama.
Confidence is a state of mind that can be described as your expectations of your own performance and your belief in your ability to perform. Though there is no magic formula for building confidence, and like any other set of behaviors that are stemmed from beliefs, confidence can be created by practicing certain behaviors and changing thought patterns.
Research has shown a strong correlation between self-confidence, positive mental health, and higher self-esteem. “The beliefs and evaluations people hold about themselves determine who they are, what they can do, and what they can become (Burns, 1982). These powerful, inner influences provide an internal guiding mechanism, steering and nurturing individuals through life, and governing their behavior”.
Even though our environment and upbringing play a significant role in our level of confidence and our self-esteem, our own behavioral patterns that lead to self-development and growth can break barriers that were present in our upbringing and environment.
Our self-confidence and belief in our self-worth generally dictate how we connect to the world around us, communicate, relate to our personal and professional relationships and our tolerance for boundaries. Especially in our professional life, our confidence assumes a significant role in living up to our true potential and showcasing our infinite authentic, unique potential, and presenting the most authentic and genuine version of ourselves living by our values.
Sometimes people confuse confidence with arrogance, but both are entirely different states of mind. Confidence is characterized by a sense of self-assurance, a belief in one’s abilities, and a willingness to take risks. On the other hand, arrogance is characterized by a sense of superiority, a lack of empathy, and a tendency to dismiss the opinions of others. This implies that to feel genuinely confident, you must have the ability to perform and do your homework.
Here are 6 exercises we have gathered with our research to help you build confidence along your journey to success.
Rewrite Your Story
This is an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) exercise that encourages you to shift the way you look at yourself and the story you keep telling yourself. To perform this exercise, you must keep an open mind. And be honest with yourself.
We all have a biased mind which is mainly used for looking at the bad side of the coin to keep us miserable because that’s how we have unintentionally programmed our minds. The good news is that you can change this at this very moment. However, to install this new program in your mind’s software, you must consistently instill the new (positive) thought patterns.
Step 1: Find a quiet time and place with no interruptions. And write the story that you usually tell yourself. What is missing from your life, why you are not enough, what is keeping you from being happy, what is hurting you, what was wrong in your childhood and what is wrong now, and so on. Write all the wrongs you can find, and don’t be shy.
Once you are done, take a few moments to pause and clear your mind as you have just released all your negative thoughts onto this paper.
Step 2: Now, on a clean sheet of paper, write down all the current positive things in your life. Write down the blessings that you have, even the smallest ones, Keep in mind that there is someone in this world who would be struggling or wishing to have your blessings. Things that are working for you, bring you joy and what you are grateful for, and there is always something to be thankful for no matter what situation you are in.
And once you are done. Re-read this story and let it sink within. This is the actual story that your mind keeps hiding from you to keep you stuck.
Recently, I have worked with a client who is a 39 year old male living independently in a foreign country away from his family. Working at a multinational company in a reasonable position (that some of us can only dream of). In our first few sessions, he seemed highly disappointed in his life. According to him, it was because he is unmarried and longs for partnership, he doesn’t have a lot of friends or hobbies, and he is afraid that he would lose his job (although there is no objective evidence of losing his job at this point).
This self-made story (true from one perspective) has completely shattered his confidence to live his life and his ability to connect with others and form new relationships.
When he rewrote his story, the results were close to:
I’m a 39-year-old “healthy” male. I swim every alternate day. I’m very dedicated to my profession and reap positive rewards from it. I have built a house for my parents this year without a mortgage and support them financially. This makes me feel fulfilled as a son. I have a few old friends in my city who genuinely care about me and are there for me whenever I need them. If I ever lose my job, “I would love” to go back to my home country and live close to my parents.
Even though both perspectives are true, it’s a matter of which one we choose to look at. We all have these two narratives in our lives. The one that is insufficient and the one that is fulfilling, when we keep reliving the flawed narrative, it starts to chip at our self-esteem and confidence instead of believing in ourselves for all that we have to be grateful for.
Do Your Homework
As described earlier, confidence is based on our abilities. This means it can be achieved by enhancing the asset of your knowledge. Whether it’s your skills or going to a meeting, if you are going to put in work to prepare yourself for success, the chances of your success will be higher.
Much like when we used to do our homework for school, it is essential to do the same for your life. Relying on assumptions leads to apprehensiveness. Therefore, whether you are going for a job interview or for an important meeting, take your time to do your research and gather as many facts as you can. Also, be prepared to present to the best of your ability.
Work on Your Posture
The mind-body connection is powerful. Just like when you are sad or stressed, it affects your poster. It also works the other way around, also. A good posture can neurologically lead to feeling confident.
Especially if you have been unaware of your poster for a long time, you can train your body to adjust to a good posture and feel confident and self-assured. In addition to feeling confident, a good posture conveys confident energy about yourself to those around you.
“When I was a teenager growing up with the changes in my body, I developed a slouch as I didn’t know how to embrace my femininity. Years later, this bad posture unknowingly became my escape from my everyday stress. So, whenever I got stressed, I would sit and stand completely slouched. As a result, last year, I developed extreme pain under my scapula, making it impossible to function. It was only then that I realized how bad my posture was and how it affected my life and confidence. Since then, with a conscious effort, I have improved my posture, and I can tell the difference when I’m sitting and standing gloriously and how it shifts my energy”.
Look Good to Feel Good
Similar to posture, how we look impacts our confidence. This does not mean carrying the most expensive bag or wearing the most expensive suit. But representing the best version of yourself to others, even to yourself.
People who invest time in taking care of themselves have higher self-esteem and a higher level of confidence. When you are looking at your best, it will make you feel confident and self-assured in any situation. Even the most minor things, such as personal hygiene and clean clothes, help with feeling positive about yourself.
Many of us lose many opportunities because we don’t think we have what it takes to do the job. We must stop standing in our own way and own up to our true potential. Life is not a race of getting one up, but we are all gifted with unique qualities and talents. Having the self-confidence to use these unique qualities is living a fulfilling life.
If you are a HerMeNow participant or alumni, book your free coaching session now through the HerMeNow website https://www.hermenow.com/wellness.