You don’t need to have the looks of Brad Pitt, the sense of humor of Louis CK or the style of Marc Jacobs to be naturally self-confident! In fact, with a little extra effort, it’s possible to develop the unflappable sense of self-esteem that’ll help you to advance in both your business and personal lives.
Here’s how to do it…
Tip #1 – Focus on yourself
One of the absolute worst things you can do to trash your self-esteem is to continually compare yourself to others. Granted, it’s hard not to do this every so often, but the reality is that if you’re constantly trying to live up to the ideals you see in other people, you aren’t focusing on all of the natural talents that you bring to the world!
(And really, even the people you idolize in your life are facing their own struggles and their own self-esteem issues!)
A far better approach is to focus on yourself. Spend time learning what your unique skills and strengths are, and then take the time to hone them. If you’re talented musically, dedicate your spare time to learning and mastering instruments. If you love computers, take classes and read books that allow you to expand your skill set and produce better work. Over time, you’ll naturally develop a high level of self-esteem simply because you know you have these valuable skills!
If you must, use others in your life who possess the qualities you’d like to see in yourself as inspiration –but be sure you’re using their examples for guidance only and not for emulation. Be your own person, and invest more time in developing your unique gifts than trying to mimic someone else!
Tip #2 – Keep a log of successes
Even the most self-confident people wake up to bad hair days, screw up projects at work and fall victim to a whole host of other “downers” that can trash their self-esteem. And if you aren’t yet a self-confident person, you may find that these stumbling blocks lead to lowered self-esteem, sadness or other negative effects.
The solution here is to keep an ongoing log of your successes. This way, you’ll have something to reference in order to build yourself back up whenever you’re feeling low. To do this, set up a Google Document and create a live form tied to the document (see complete instructions on how to do this here) that asks the following questions:
- What one thing can you brag about today?
- What one thing are you grateful for today?
- What one thing do you desire today?
Take the time to complete this form every night before you go to bed. Then, whenever you need an extra boost of self-esteem, reference your Google Document for a list of all your past successes.
Tip #3 – Practice assertive behaviors
Sure, some people are born naturally self-confident. But for the rest of us, learning to build self-esteem and be more assertive in our daily lives is just like any other skill – it must be practiced and wielded before it can be used successfully!
To practice being more assertive as a way of developing unflappable self-esteem, start by visualizing three recent situations in which you felt unconfident. For best results, make these memories as vivid as possible by reimagining every detail of the scene in your mind.
Once you’ve put yourself in this scenario, try to look at your behaviors and responses objectively. How is your posture? Is your body language subconsciously sabotaging your attempts at being perceived as self-confident? Do the words you’re saying sound like they’re coming from someone with high self-esteem?
Don’t be too harsh on yourself, but do try to fully understand how and why you reacted the way that you did. Once you’ve fully analyzed your behaviors, re-envision the same scenes while imagining how you could have responded in a way that would be perceived as more self-confident.
To do this, revisit the questions you asked yourself in the earlier exercise. Imagine your posture straightening, your body language being brought under control and that the words you’re saying come across as collected and confident as you can imagine. Really try to visualize yourself enacting these assertive behaviors until your mind has made the connection between actions that might be perceived as less than confident and more positive ones.
You may also find it helpful to use an “anchor” in these situations. By pairing your visualizations of assertive, self-confident behaviors with a specific physical cue or mental image – for example, squeezing your thumb or envisioning a certain color – you’ll be able to fire your anchor in situations where your self-esteem is lagging, prompting your mind to make the connection back to the assertive behaviors you’ve practiced.
Over time – and with continued practice – you’ll find that you’re better able to call up a self-confident mindset, enabling you to present yourself as someone with effortless, unflappable self-esteem.