I have a friend who has unshakeable self-belief. A few years ago she set her sights on a new business idea that she knew would be a challenge on a few different levels. As someone whose not easily deterred, she mapped out a plan and started work. Within two years, she was turning over seven figures. It wasn’t the money that drove her and it wasn’t this that impressed me most. I loved witnessing her genuine passion for the business she was building. I admired her desire to make a difference in the world and I marvelled at how, like all confident people, she had an unbending self-belief. The nice thing about her is that this is coupled with a sense of humility.
I’ve tried to unpack why it is that some of us have such an unwavering sense of confidence and why others, who are no less exceptional, continually doubt themselves. It seems to come down to a mix of things. Self-belief is something some people are born with — I have seen this first-hand with my own children and with the children of friends. It’s developed, enhanced or inhibited during upbringing. It’s also impacted by our life experience.
Much of this is outside our control, but given the fact that life seems to reward people who believe in themselves, it’s useful to examine where you sit on the scale of self-belief, helpful to understand how that score is currently impacting the life choices you’re making and useful to explore the different ways you can build self-belief. In spite of your life circumstances to date, there’s plenty of research in the neuropsychology space that says that it is possible to change the way we perceive ourselves.
Consider for a moment one objective you have in your personal or professional life. One change you’d make in a relationship, a career move you’ve been considering or a financial goal that’s a bit of a stretch and then rate how confident you feel of making that change. Use a scoring out of ten with zero being ‘not at all confident’ and ten being ‘completely sure of myself’.
Then think about someone you know who has exceptional self-belief. How would they behave? Try to break down the different ways they might pursue their goals and if you can, ‘adopt’ some of their qualities as you tackle the change you want to make.
Here are some qualities that are common in confident people. Try taking on one or two in the coming weeks to see if they help.
Confident people break big goals down into small steps and celebrate (and focus on) small victories.
- They don’t look externally for validation.
- They’re able to remind themselves of the things they do well.
- They have a sense of purpose.
- They push beyond their comfort zone.
- They know that happiness resides within.
- They set healthy boundaries.
- They accept responsibility.
- They’re not afraid to make mistakes. They know they’ll recover and they accept them as part of the process.
- They don’t judge others. They subscribe to the motto ‘live and let live’.
- They don’t wait to be asked. They’re proactive about making change.
- They make a start and they stick with their objectives.
- They don’t lose heart easily.