Confidence comes from a latin word affīdāre which means “to trust oneself”; therefore, finding confidence is just having more trust in one’s self and fear of failure.
Confidence is a state of being clear headed either that a hypothesis is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective.
I talk to a lot of sales professionals and entrepreneurs, people starting their own businesses, and they want to learn: “How can I develop more confidence or even just get myself a bit more confident so that I can be more successful in what I do?”
In order to make this happen, we have to realize where confidence comes from and what finding confidence means.
Finding confidence is basically your ability to take action and feel good about yourself and the results of the action. Feeling like whatever it is you’re about to jump into, you can do a good job and you can come out of it looking and feeling good.
When you look at the way confidence shows up in our lives, it appears as a result of doing things over and over again and developing a proficiency from it.
Confidence, in and of itself, is not something that you’re born with or not born with. It’s something that’s developed over time through practice and repetition.
When you first learned to walk, at 12 or 13-months old or whatever it may be for you; you weren’t very confident at walking. In fact, you couldn’t walk at all. But you were determined to try, and determined to succeed.
You stood on the side of the sofa and you pushed yourself off and you would fall. You would try it again and you would maybe balance for a bit and then fall. But you would do it over and over again.
Your level of confidence in the beginning was tiny. In fact, there probably was no confidence. But you were so determined to do it, that you kept going regardless of the outcome.
Eventually you took a step, you followed that with another step, and soon enough you were walking and now you’re an adult and you can walk from one room to another, you can walk for miles as an exercise or whatever, and not even think about the act of walking.
It’s just something that comes naturally to you now.
If someone were to ask you your level of confidence on a scale of 0 to 10, how confident you are that you could walk across the room, you’d probably say 11. It isn’t even something that you ever think to question…You just do it.
The same thing goes for finding confidence in all areas of life – including your professional life.
Let’s say your success right now requires your ability to sell. Doesn’t matter what it is. To sell a product, to sell an idea, to sell a service, sell a training program. I don’t know what it is for you.
You might not be confident in your ability to communicate value in a way that exceeds the expense and closes a deal. So the important question becomes, how are you going to find that confidence?
You weren’t born with it. Thinking about yourself going into a situation where you might have to sell somebody, makes you nervous or self-conscious. How do you get to a point where you’re confident in doing it no matter what you are selling?
First, it’s natural to feel fear whenever you are stepping out of your comfort zone…it’s a biological response we have maintained from our “caveman brains”. Luckily there are many other, more evolved portions of our brain we can counter it with. So, the next time you’re feeling fearful, just try to put it into perspective.
Recognize that fear is only a feeling, a chemical response to a thought.
Fear can feel very, very real. But it’s only an emotion that survives and thrives when we feed it with our attention. The first step in mastering your fear of taking massive action is to remember to tell yourself that fear isn’t real – that it’s only a feeling that can’t hurt actually you.
Remember, everyone experiences fear
Everyone experiences fear before they try something new. Think Tony Robbins hasn’t experienced fear of failure? Sure he has, and I’m sure he would tell you that himself.
Everyone has experienced fear of failure, the fear of looking like a fool, the fear of losing friends, the fear of being judged, a fear of being called an imposter, the fear of ending up worse than when you started, whatever it may be.
In fact, statistics show that a whopping 85% of the population has some form of self-doubt. When a moment of panic comes over you, image your role model and remember that they too have experienced fear. But they moved through it anyway. Sometimes you’ll just have to do it afraid.
Do it anyway. Take the first small step
We’ve all heard Newton’s 1st Law of Motion: A body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Notice that feeling of fear, and then take that first small step in spite of it. Fear is a natural and required part of the process. Accept your ability to work through fear and do it anyway.
You’ll learn from it and you’ll make mistakes and you’ll fall on your face, just like you fell when you were first learning how to walk. But you do this once and you’ll get a little bit of feedback, and you’ll get a little bit of insight.
Maybe you can even find a manager or mentor to review your work and see a couple of things that you could improve on in the future. This is incredibly valuable feedback.
Go to the next project, make the corrections, make a little bit of an improvement, and you will increase your confidence.
Maybe you don’t close the sale, but you go to the third one now, you’ve got the experience from the first time when you fell on your face, you have the experience from the second time with constructive feedback coming your way, now you’ve got this third opportunity to close that deal.
You will get closer and closer and closer to executing confidently and successfully, whatever this new skill or this new idea that you want to implement into your life is, to a point where you’ve done it so many times that now you’re not even thinking about it anymore.
Eventually, you’ll make that first sale. You make your first 10 sales. You make 100 sales and you get the sales award.
You’re at the front of the stage collecting the praise and the money and you’ve become this sales expert. And now your confidence level, which at one point in your life was at zero, is now at a 10, just like what happened with walking and the so many other skills you’ve developed in your life time, through practice and through repetition.
Understand this process. Nobody is born with natural confidence at any level of their life.
If you see somebody who’s confident right now, it’s because they’ve developed that confidence by repetitive learning and trying and failing and getting the feedback and doing it again.
Having the courage to continue in spite of fear can be a challenge in and of itself. So, I wanted to help by sharing a couple psychological hacks for an instant confidence boost.
The first is an example of the “as-if technique” or “fake it ’til you make it”, where it actually works.
Simply act as if you were a confident person in the same situation. I’ve actually done this because I used to be a speaker and a trainer who was kind of introverted, and very nervous presenting, and I tried this and it worked flawlessly.
I started walking into my trainings, or turning on the camera, acting like I owned the place. Behaving as if I was totally confident. It didn’t matter that I was almost falling apart with nerves on the inside.
But I would crack jokes, I’d have a smile on my face, I would hold my head high, keep my shoulders back… I would practice the body language of somebody who was very confident.
Before I knew it, I would do this for maybe just a couple of days, and by the end of that little exercise, I was finding massive levels of confidence. The level of nerves and anxiety that I had experienced had drastically been reduced.
When you fake your confidence, when you fake a way of being, a personality that’s not your true personality but you want to be like that, this actually is the best way adopt it.
If you struggle with the ability to “fake it,” or don’t agree with that methodology then try this quick fix instead:
This one is based on the scientifically proven concept known as The Placebo Effect.
For those that don’t know, the placebo effect is the idea that your brain can convince your body a fake treatment is the real thing and thus stimulate healing. It’s been around for millennia and science shows it can be just as effective as more traditional treatments.
Go out and buy a bottle of sugar pills or anything that you could associate with healing. Then create and replace the label with “Confidence Booster Tablets/Pills” or whatever fits your narrative. Then simply administer yourself a dose when you’re in need of finding a confidence boost. Your mind will register that they’re genuine confidence boosters, and that will help keep your confidence levels up.
“People associate the ritual of taking medicine as a positive healing effect. Even if they know it’s not medicine, the action itself can stimulate the brain into thinking the body is being healed.” – Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
That’s how you alter your self-image. That’s how you become this new person. It’s really practicing who you want to become. This is a simplification of a process I call Identity Calibration.
Do you have the courage to continue? I think you do. Continue finding the confidence with what you’re doing right now and you’ll only continue to grow.