Along with being introverted, I’m shy as well. Introversion and shyness don’t always come hand in hand but in my case, they do and one of my main struggles is with is my confidence. This affects me in many ways in my life – from just approaching strangers when doing daily errands to attending large social gatherings – I’m awkward, shy and unconfident. So I decided to work on it and here’s what I did:
Taking Action and Finishing What I Start
I’m known to get really excited about a new project in the beginning stages and then totally abandoning it right in the middle; during the boring, hard work part. They say that motivation is what keeps you started but habit is what keeps you going, and I’m a true believer in this. Everyday, I try not to overthink my tasks but just dive right in headfirst and this has worked very well for me. The feelings that I get when I accomplish my tasks are what keep me motivated for the next project. As Thomas Carlyle once said, “Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.”
Prepare, Then Prepare Some More
One of the most common fears is to look like an idiot in front of family, friends or our coworkers. Oddly, in spite of my lack of confidence, I’m pretty comfortable with public speaking. The main reason for this is because of the amount of preparation I go through when I know I’m going to be in front of an audience. I would never just wing it because I recognize the power and importance there is in planning ahead of time.
Understanding, “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”
Our anxieties come from a place of fear that some catastrophic or horrible thing will happen if we fail. But really, ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” If you get a No or another rejection, what will really happen to you? Most times, it’s not as horrible as we think it will be. Sometimes, I can feel anxious and tense for hours after an exam or an interview until I ask myself this one question and realize the real answer is not that bad.
Face My Fears
Building confidence on a deeper, more fundamental level will only happen once you face your fears. Facing your fears is what truly builds self-confidence, there’s no way of going around it. Failing or being wrong will not kill you and the sooner we realize these fundamental fears are not true, that faster we can go and start building confidence.
Keep At It Until It Feels Normal
I’m pretty healthy with my diet but on occasion I do binge on junk food like burgers. The first one tastes amazing after a long week of chicken and veggies and the second one does too. The 4th one? Not so much. The point I’m trying to make here is based on the Law of Diminishing Returns, an economic principle that I’m applying to building confidence. The first time I spoke publicly during a presentation at work, I was extremely nervous and it came out in my shaky voice. Now, although I’m still nervous, I also have several presentations under my belt and no longer let fear and my lack of confidence control me.
So, what helps you remain confident in your day to day? Are there any tips you’ve learnt over the years you can share? Leave me a comment below!