I remember so many shots I have missed because of lack of confidence, the same way I gained many opportunities when I was confident enough to ‘give it a try’.
I attended a networking event recently and I was excited at the thought of the people I would be meeting at the event. It was an event I had to attend, I wasn’t going to miss it!
There was an opportunity to network at the event with people I only came across on social media and never expected I would be meeting so soon. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to pitch my ideas. This was my opportunity to make at least one viable contact in my profession, share what I do, and propose a beneficial relationship.
Perfect setting. Perfect atmosphere. All set – except I didn’t make a move.
Was I too scared or I was just afraid of being rejected?
Least I forget, I was only a few feets away from someone I was interested in making an acquaintance with but to my utmost surprise, my feet did not respond to any promptings from me? This was my excuse – “I didn’t want to be a nuisance”, however, I should have known that the major reason I didn’t make a move was that I was scared of being told “no”. I wasn’t confident she would listen to me or consider me worth listening to.
How many of us often think this way? How many of us belittle ourselves because we feel the other person wouldn’t regard us “fit” to interact with?.
When we allow lack of confidence, we rid ourselves of different opportunities that could have been beneficial to us.
Imagine a small business owner who needs to get funding for their business from investors willing to invest, but they feel they are not the ‘kind of person’ the investors would want to take a chance with. So they are willing to keep the business idea to themselves. Such a person has just deprived themselves of an opportunity.
If you find yourself always holding back when you should be reaching out, always feeling incompetent when you should be utilizing your skills, always keeping quiet when you should be letting your opinions know, these is how you can build your confidence level:
It is important to know who you are. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and your skills. This helps you determine the areas you need to work on. You need to understand your unique selling point and leverage on your strengths. Then work on your weaknesses.
Never allow anyone’s idea of who they think you are to make you feel less than what you truly are. The reason why this is the first step in building your confidence is that you may not always get a “yes”, people will also try to tell you who you are and what you are worth but if you really know who you are that won’t change a thing.
It is okay for people not to see who you are. It isn’t your fault or duty to convince them otherwise. What really matters is how you see yourself. So, my question to you is, who are you?
Surround yourself with the right people
You must also surround yourself with people who motivate and believe that you can do anything you set your mind to do. Try to detach yourself from toxic friends with no excepting to toxic family members.
We all need friends who can cheer us on to great things. That friend who would go ahead to get you a form for that competition knowing that you are ready even when you think you are not. We can’t overemphasize this enough.
Your friends must be goal getters. I am encouraged when I see my friends doing great and taking the bull by the horn. Friends who are hyped about the things that I am crazy about. Friends who are making an impact and living beyond limitations placed by society. Why won’t my confidence soar? If they can, I can!
Practice what to say & how to say it
If you talk too fast, you will be considered shy and someone who is afraid to talk. And so, talk clearly and steadily; take your time, you would look more confident. Prior to going for an interview or even attending a networking event such as mine, learn to practise what to say.
You may have a short introduction as a conversation starter irrespective of what the occasion is. The idea is to be confident hence the reason why delivery is important in a conversation. Learn to take small pauses and be very articulate.
Always be prepared for the interview, for the networking event, for a pitch, etc. Live prepared, preparation makes you more confident. Opportunity always presents itself, but do we live ready?
I have discovered that we are often not confident when we are unprepared. Remember that exam that you didn’t prepare well for? What was your confidence level like? Be ready at all times.
If called upon to make an impromptu speech, how ready would you be? Don’t miss such an opportunity because you weren’t ready. Equip yourself now, not tomorrow or when an opportunity presents itself.
Pay attention to your appearance
Your appearance matters. How would you want someone to regard you if you are looking so unkempt? We all know the saying – don’t judge a book by its cover but we live in a society where that happens daily. Don’t forget first impression matters. Dress for the role that role/position/pitch. This in no way means that you can’t be simple. It just means that you are comfortable enough in your choice of clothing, neat and organized. I would like to tell you appearance doesn’t matter but it does, in every sense of the word.
Dress for that role/event/pitch. This in no way means that you can’t be simple. It just means that you are comfortable enough in your choice of clothing, always neat and organized. I would like to tell you appearance doesn’t matter but it does, in every sense of the word.
Avoid negative thinking. For instance, do you need to market your business? Then think about the best that could come out of it, then work towards it! Never say Never.
In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” You choose which side of the divide that you belong to. Nobody can decide this for you. People tend to view you by the way you view yourself. So, if you approach others with a beat down attitude then chances are that’s the way they are going to treat you.
Positive affirmations help you remain positive. You can say them at the start of each day. I stumbled on these five positive affirmations: (1) Today will be my day (2) I am the best me there is (3) I know that I am a winner (4) I can do it, I know I can (5) God will always be with me.
Step out of your comfort zone
Do something helpful that you won’t normally do. Call that person, give someone your opinion on the news, speak up in meetings, etc. Sometimes, we get so comfortable in our zone that we refuse to step out and take risks for the fear of failing.
Like I mentioned earlier, I did not speak to the person I wanted to make an acquaintance with because of the fear of getting a negative response. That was me remaining in my comfort zone. What have you been wanting to do today?
Conclusively, it is also important to know the difference between self-confidence and over-confidence. Over-confidence is a waste of time, it often leads to opposite results. However, have the right self-confidence can boost your morale and help you reach out and take action on those things important to you.
What have you learned about self-confidence in the past? Kindly share them with us below.