The world loves a person with self-confidence.
We will gladly give our time, attention and money to a person who knows what they are talking about. Or at least thinks they know they are talking about. But self-confidence does not come naturally to a lot of people. I think our upbringing drastically affects whether we leave the nest with a ton of self-confidence or very little.
Self-confidence is the ability to believe and display the attitude that you know what you are doing. It is a virtue desired by employers, mates, and friends. The world is a beautiful balance of people who have varying levels of self-confidence. The people on one end of the scale are fearful that they are not good enough or don't know enough to open up and share their wisdom. The people on the extreme other end of the scale of self-confidence are brash, arrogant, and generally unpleasant to be around. If you can find a way to be confident but be just below the extreme, the world will love you and eat you up. They will applaud you and live vicariously through you. And as a bonus - they will pay good money to be around you and learn from you.
Here are the mindsets that you should remember when you are not quite sure of what you are getting ready to tackle - or even if you should be doing it:
Do less wishing and comparing, and more DOING. If you spend a lot of your time watching people that are at the level of life where you want to be, you will become jealous very fast (click here to see my post of being jealous of successful people) . It OK to take some time to study how they got to that level. But I would recommend severely restricting that time. Self-confidence comes doing something that you've never done before. Spend more time working on completing things you think are impossible. Start small. Try to make incremental steps in things that are just a little bit outside of your comfort zone. Then keep expanding those. Keep finding ways to put yourself in situations that make you a little uncomfortable. Want to write a book? Quit reading about how to write a book and start writing. Keep it down to just a paragraph a day. Eventually your speed will increase and before you know it you will have a completed book (something that I am working on right now too). The same rules goes for being in sales, for public speaking, or for any of the other numerous areas where people don't feel sure of themselves. Don't shoot for the big improvements. Work on the small ones and you will wake up one day and be sitting next to that guy/gal who has the same self-confidence that you don't think you have.
Know that you will make mistakes and fall. It is 100% guaranteed. But taking non-physical risks will rarely kill you. I believe that some people suffer from a lack of self-confidence due to the fear of failure and embarrassment. I will tell you firsthand that both will happen, and neither one has ever killed me. When you attempt to do something that you are not confident you can complete, understand that you just might crash and burn. But your desire for achievement needs to be just a little higher than your fear. The fear will never (and should never) go away. The fear is what helps you plan and protect yourself. But the fear should not stop the forward progress.
Believe that there are plenty of people want to know what you know and be where you are. Several years ago, I gave a presentation at a Toastmasters conference that talked about to get paid for your knowledge. (If you'd like to see the video click here.) One of the first topics I covered is believing that you have something to offer to the world. Whether you are 20 or 90, you've experienced some things that nobody else around you know about - but they want to know what you know. I made the audience yell "I believe" several times because I wanted to cement that in their head. You must believe in your story and your wisdom. It may seem very trivial to you. But it has shaped you in ways that you will carry to your grave. Be confident in your wisdom and your history because someplace out there, you have a fan that is waiting to hear from you.
When you see people that appear "self-confident" and wish you were more like them, remember this: They may have the same fears and insecurities that you do. Fifteen minutes before you saw them, they may have been sitting in their car doing self-talk to get up the courage to do what you are seeing them do now. Some of the people that appear confident in public are terribly insecure in private. They are just really good actors, and their desire for accomplishment is greater than their fear of failure.
What do you think?
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