Written by Karl Perera, MA, DipLC
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According to the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report (2016), 85% of women lack self confidence, largely because of their appearance. In the US, those who have less confidence earn on average $28,000 less per year (Drago 2008). As someone who has helped many people to improve their self confidence through coaching, I am going to offer you my best tips for building your self confidence.
The self confidence tips that work best require you to leave your comfort zone. The best ways to build self confidence involve focusing on your achievements, improving your body language, setting realistic goals and celebrating milestones along the way.
From the many self confident tips I could include here, I have decided to list the most effective and often neglected areas where you can make progress. If you follow my advice and focus on these tips each day, you will gradually build your self confidence and improve your life beyond what you are able to do now.
So let’s get started with my top 12 tips for building unstoppable self confidence…
1. Look for a Role Model to Inspire Your Confidence
Look for a model (someone who has positive self confidence) and observe them carefully. How does this person act that makes him or her seem confident? If you act confidently you will feel more self assured, (according to an article in Health Psychology). Sometimes a smile is all you need, but there are other steps you can take to feel more relaxed in any situation.
2. Reflect on Your Successes and Achievements
Take the time to reflect on and celebrate your successes as they happen. This will change your focus from failure to success, which is a winning mentality! If you do find yourself thinking about how you failed (or better, haven’t succeeded yet), look at what you did right and how you could improve next time. This thinking will make you more positive and will boost your self confidence.
One important area which can be a major problem for people is dealing with others. If this is an issue for you, try these tips for improving your confidence in relationships.
3. Set Realistic Goals You Can Achieve Confidently Step By Step
Now that you have reflected on your successes so far, this self confidence tip takes you one step further in planning for your next achievements. Goal-setting is a great way to build self confidence if you do it the right way. It is actually, as this study found, feedback from successes that boosts self confidence.
Set achievable goals for yourself and break up challenging tasks into smaller steps. Achieving these steps on the way to your larger goals will help you believe that you can succeed. This positive mentality will boost your confidence over time.
Reward yourself when you succeed no matter how small the achievement. Remind yourself that you are moving forward with determination and that you are one step closer to achieving your goal. Give yourself credit.
4. Improve Your Body Language So You Feel and Look Confident
By changing your body language, you can send off a more positive message to others about the kind of person you are. The aspects of body language that help you look confident, according to Elizabeth Kuhnke in her book Body Language: Learn How to Read Others and Communicate with Confidence, are posture, eye contact, expression on the face, and the gestures you make.
Kuhnke also explains that if your body language is positive, you will look more confident and others will respond to you more positively. This will help you to actually feel a lot more confident which will reflect in how you act.
So, always smile and stand up straight. Your posture and smile will project confidence and you will feel better able to cope with anything. You will also find that others respond to you better and this will give you an added boost. This is especially important with public speaking.
Enjoy the excitement of an amazing new journey to unstoppable self-confidence.
Finally, understand the steps you can take to build your confidence.
Believe in yourself more.
Experience the motivation of setting goals that matter to you.
5. List the Things You Like About Yourself
Think carefully and I’m sure if you are honest, you can list a few things that you like about yourself. A couple of questions to ask yourself if you need some suggestions…What do your friends like about you? Are you reliable? What are your strengths at work? Is there anything you like about your appearance? What are your strengths? Is there anything positive you like about your personality? What can you do well? Do you have values which others admire?
You may need help with this, and it’s here in this course “Beat Your Inner Bully”. Check it out and see how it will help you develop self belief and confidence today.
The above questions can help you find things to put on your like list, but I am sure you can think of many other things to write. If you are feeling brave, ask others what your strengths are.
Listing these will help build your self confidence, and also change your thinking from negative to positive.
6. Thoroughly Prepare for Challenging or Difficult Tasks You Face
There’s is a saying that success is nine tenths preparation and one tenth luck. So, it pays to be well prepared, even over-prepared to ensure that the odds are in your favour. The fact that you know your stuff and are absolutely prepared will boost your confidence and also increase your chance of success. This will also make any challenge that little bit less stressful, so you can relax more.
This study published in the Advanced Medical Education Practice Journal confirms the importance of self-confidence and how preparation helps build confidence for nurses in their final year of studies.
7. Develop New Skills and Improve Existing Ones
This is related to the last point about preparation because if you know with certainty that you have the knowledge and skills for the job you will be filled with confidence. Self doubt will melt away as you acquire and develop your skills.
Developing skills and learning will also have the extra benefit of gaining respect from others who will acknowledge your expertise and knowledge. At work, this could result in promotion or added responsibility and once you get experience using your new skills, you become more valuable in your career and opportunities open up.
Learning new skills is necessary in this fast-paced world and can really boost your confidence, so always take an opportunity to learn more.
8. Develop the Ability to Relax in Even the Most Challenging Situations
Work on your relaxation skills. Being relaxed multiplies your confidence and improves your performance.
When you experience challenging moments or thos ocasions you feel fearful of, relaxing will enable you to control your negative emotions and project positivity. Breathing is a major part of being able to relax because controlling your breathing controls your body’s reactions to what’s going on around you. This relaxation technique based on your breathing is explained fully in my article on this page. Try the technique as it will really help you in stressful situations where you need more confidence such as giving presentations or speeches.
9. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Don’t be over competitive or compare yourself with others. Be yourself and accept that life is not a race against others. Your self confidence depends on you and your personal needs. Set your own standards and allow yourself to overcome challenges at your own pace.
10. Face Your Fears and Overcome Them
You should face your fears and go beyond your comfort zone. This is the only way to know what you can really achieve in life. The success you have, no matter how small, will boost your self belief. Avoiding the things you fear will give them power and hurt your confidence. No pain, no gain!
Fears grow with negative thinking and if you avoid the things which scare you your confidence will drop. Know what you fear most at work or in general life and confront that fear by gradually taking on the fear and overcoming it.
For example, giving presentations is a common fear but being successful at them will bring many benefits to you both professionally and personally. So, first speak in a small group and raise a question or two. Gradually try speaking up in more difficult situations, and when you are ready, say goodbye to your fear, do a presentation. Each successful attempt you make, the better you will feel about yourself and your fear will reduce and your confidence will rise.
11. Use Self Help Tools to Boost Your Self Confidence
Many people try this but fail. Let me try to help you to choose and utilize self help tools in the correct way so that you can succeed in building your confidence rather than waste time.
There are so many sources of self help!
Use any tools available to you to improve your performance. These include books, courses, seminars, videos and information available on the internet. Try using a journal to plot your successes as they occur. And when things don’t go as planned, note down what went wrong and how you can improve next time. It is so important to write these down and begin to focus on improvement and achievement no matter how small. You can learn to become confident, I promise – so start today!
12. Change Your Thinking
Your thinking. Negative thinking to be exact. If you think negatively, you will be easily put off by what happens to you or by what others tell you.
One of my biggest self confidence tips is to read inspirational quotes that help you to believe in yourself. There are plenty of wonderful examples of suitable quotes online and off. Repeating these quotes can turn them into affirmations which help you to change your beliefs and way of thinking. Putting quotes where you can read them is helpful and this is why you see motivational posters in companies everywhere. Words are inspiring.
Now that you have these powerful self confident tips to help you, I want to move on to another very important fact of life that can destroy your confidence. Failure. How can you best deal with this, recover from it and still be strong enough to build your confidence afterwards? Well I’m going to show you how!
How To Regain Self Confidence After Failure
Failure is common in our lives, but if you allow it to, it can destroy your self confidence and self-esteem. Many people do not cope well with failure and suffer from self doubt as a result. If you are struggling with this, I will show you how to regain self esteem after failure with the following easy to follow strategy.
Regaining self confidence after failure is not easy, but it is possible. Tips include learning how to become more self-compassionate, to accept setbacks as a normal part of learning, to celebrate your successes and to build motivation that turns failure into success.
Self-confidence is purely a psychological state. It depends on how you feel and think, not on reality. High self-esteem can be very helpful and encourages confident behaviour. However, when your self-esteem is low, you discover that situations that you normally find easy become more difficult (see Leary et al, 1995). You may find yourself missing out on opportunities and losing direction in life. Learning how to regain confidence and self esteem after failure requires the correct mindset, attitude and determination.
What Effect Does Failure Have On Your Self Confidence
A significant factor that affects an individual’s self-confidence is a major failure or setback in life (Rosi et al, 2019). Regaining your self confidence after failure can prove very difficult. If you are in a situation where your self-esteem is low because of a major disappointment, here are some tips to help you regain your self confidence again.
First, remember failures do not exist! Setbacks, however, do. Nothing worth having is ever easy and successes are often gained after many small setbacks. Success depends on how you react to these setbacks. The first tip I offer you to beat failure is not to regard it as failure, but as a temporary setback which you can overcome. You decide what failure and success mean in your head. Succeed can be taking one more step forward towards your goal and failure can stop you only if you allow it to.
In fact, failure, in my opinion, is giving up while there is still a chance of success, no matter how small.
Don’t Expect Failure – The Law of Attraction
According to Steve Greenwood, writing on PsychCentral, most people expect to fail. Expecting to fail is a major problem, as it makes a negative outcome so much more likely. If you expect to fail, you probably will. This commonly referred to as self-fulfilling prophecy.
Have you ever read about the Law of Attraction? According to Jack Canfield, what you think about and expect, you attract into your life. The opposite may also be true, so why not expect to be successful, or at least be prepared to imagine succeeding. It may not work all the time, but it should make your success more likely! It’s definitely a more enjoyable way to live your life, isn’t it?
Take Responsibility for Failure and Be Determined to Come back Stronger
Take responsibility for your failure; don’t blame somebody else because you are unwilling to own up to your mistakes. Yes, other people’s actions may have played their part. However, you should take responsibility and hold yourself accountable. Denial is not an option if you want to succeed next time and learn from failure.
Recovering from failure and regaining your confidence is much easier if you have self compassion. Be open and honest about your shortcomings and do something to develop yourself in the areas where you need to improve. Self-compassion helps you to do this with the right attitude and takes the stress off you.
Overcoming failure and learning from our mistakes makes us grow as humans and builds confidence. Failure is unavoidable; you must learn how to deal with and move past failure. Have courage and refuse to let setbacks stop you!
Forgive Yourself and Allow Yourself to Move Forward
You can’t move on from a setback if you remain angry with yourself. Just as you will forgive that friend who wronged you, you should also forgive yourself without holding back. By forgiving oneself and learning from one’s mistakes can one truly move on from a negative situation. Please do not beat yourself up about the failures you have experienced; people make mistakes; it is what makes you human.
Your self-esteem may remain low for longer if you don’t face your fears head-on. One way to do this effectively is by creating a strategy to grow and improve yourself. Go back to the drawing board and create an plan B to give you your desired results. Use what you learned from your failures to recalibrate and try again. Take yourself beyond your comfort zone and push yourself beyond the mental limits you normally set for yourself.
Moving on is vital in regaining your self-confidence after failure. Don’t get trapped regretting what you did wrong; move on. Remember, just as one door closes in your face, it provides potential for thousands more to open up. Moving on is part of life. Leave the past where it is and put your focus and energy into the present, as this is where we must live if we are to move forward to a better future.
It takes strength and courage to go back to the drawing board, to see that something won’t work out, then move on to something better. Never feel defeated when you decide to move on. Embrace it because it is only from moving on that you can get stronger ready for the challenges ahead.
Coming to Term With Your Experience of Failure
If your self confidence has taken a massive hit from the failures you have experienced, understand that this is normal. However, remind yourself that just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you are a failure. Acknowledge what you have learned from the experience and what you will do next to make sure you get closer to achieving your goals.
This study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that people tend to downplay their own successes and tell themselves it was because of luck, whereas, others’ successes are normally believed to be because of ability and not because of chance. This suggests that most of us have a natural negative bias which can cause us to fail to enjoy the journey we have to take if we are to be successful. It’s easy to see how this can affect our self confidence negatively.
An excellent exercise to try is to take out a notepad and list areas in your life where you have previously succeeded in, and the top achievements that you are most proud of. Then, list the skills that helped you achieve success in those areas, and celebrate having them. Be proud of your accomplishments and skills, because as long as you have those skills, you can never be a failure.
Self-compassion: Attitude Towards Failure
Self-compassion is being kind to yourself. One way of being kind to yourself is to accept your weaknesses. They are just areas that you can improve. Self-compassionate people do not criticize themselves for failing and are therefore less likely to avoid difficult challenges and more likely to cope positively with setbacks, (see this article from the journal Self and Identity).
Once You Accept Your Limits, Build Your Skillset
Now is the time to build your self confidence for future success by building your skillset. You have already experienced failure; nothing can change the past. However, the future can be bright, and it is closer than you think. Identify those skill sets that could have helped you in your path to success and build on them.
Was your failure caused by a lack of adequate knowledge, lack of public speaking skills, lack of self-discipline? What was it? Take out a pen and paper and identify those areas where you could improve. Now list out the skill set you need to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Then, beneath the skill set listed out, write down actionable plans to attaining every one of them. For example, if you are a translator, use translation services to help improve and polish your skill.
Know When You Need To Take A Break
Just as forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, so taking a break does not mean letting go of responsibilities. Taking a break is simply the self compassionate act of taking time off to de-stress after you have experienced significant failure. Research shows that long term stress can cause you health problems. So it is very important to focus on other activities that make you feel happy and whole. Surround yourself with family and friends, and activities that build your confidence and instil positive energy in you.
There you have it, some of my best tips how to regain self confidence after failure. While these tips may not necessarily have to be applied in sequential order, it is important to practice every one of these tips for the most effective result. Now, confront your challenges with renewed motivation and confidence and your future will be much more successful!
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Every Man Should Own a Good Suit – It Makes You feel Confident!
There’s something more to owning a nice suit beyond just being something fancy in your closet. A nice suit can transform the way you look from the outside, and in turn, instantly change the way that you feel on the inside. There is definitely a connection between suits and self esteem.
When you look at the price tag of a nice suit, it may make you sweat a little. However, you may start to understand why it’s worth paying the price when you look at how you can benefit from a great suit. Let’s take a look at how suits improves your confidence and self esteem.
Your Body Looks Better and This Will Boost Your Confidence
A poorly made suit doesn’t have the carefully crafted finishes that flatter your body like a good suit does. When you put on a suit that’s made of high-quality materials and tailored for your body type, you’ll love your body that much more.
Something too loose can make you feel like a kid dressing up in our dad’s clothing, while something too tight can make you feel like a gorilla. Why settle for feeling okay about your physique when you can feel amazing?
You’ll Have More Style and Look More Confident
Style isn’t just about impressing other people or trying to come across as “fancy.” Style gives you an extra boost of confidence and can be used to leverage social situations.
Never underestimate the power of walking into a room dressed in high-quality materials. You’ll get the girl, snag the job interview, and steal the show. Others will respect you and your self-esteem will soar!
A high-quality suit can last for decades if you take care of it. Think of a nice suit as a long term investment. You get what you pay for when it comes to clothing. But what you really gain is the confidence that money can’t put a value on!
You’ll Save Time
Shopping around for a used suit or a cheaply made suit takes much more time to find the right fit. Usually, suits aren’t flattering, resulting in having to continue your search for a considerable amount of time.
However, when you start looking at high-quality suits, you’ll cut your time in half. High-quality suit manufacturers know how to create a look that will suit your body and make you feel the way that you want to.
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- Dove. 2016. New Dove Research Finds Beauty Pressures Up, and Women and Girls Calling for Change. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-dove-research-finds-beauty-pressures-up-and-women-and-girls-calling-for-change-583743391.html
- Earley, P. C., Northcraft, G. B., Lee, C., & Lituchy, T. R. (1990). Impact of process and outcome feedback on the relation of goal setting to task performance. Academy of management journal, 33(1), 87-105.
- Feather, N. T., & Simon, J. G. (1971). Attribution of responsibility and valence of outcome in relation to initial confidence and success and failure of self and other. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 18(2), 173.
- Nair, Sagar, Sollers, Consedine, Broadbent. 2015. “Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial.” Health Psychology Journal. 34(6):632-41. doi: 10.1037/hea0000146
- Neff, K. D., Hsieh, Y. P., & Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and identity, 4(3), 263-287.
- Porter, J., Morphet, J., Missen, K., & Raymond, A. (2013). Preparation for high-acuity clinical placement: confidence levels of final-year nursing students. Advances in medical education and practice, 4, 83.
- Rosi A, Cavallini E, Gamboz N, Vecchi T, Van Vugt F T, Russo R. 2019. The Impact of Failures and Successes on Affect and Self-Esteem in Young and Older Adults. Frontiers in Psychology. Vol 10 pp.1795.
- Steve Greenman MA. (2015). Self-Esteem: Set-up for Success or Failure. PsychCentral. https://pro.psychcentral.com/self-esteem-set-up-for-success-or-failure/
Website Author and Your Guide
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.