3 Steps to Improve Your Confidence and Realize Your Goals
The only thing holding you back is confidence and here’s what you can do about it.
The biggest thing holding you back from success is your confidence. I’ve seen it happen so many times in my own career. As a people manager, I’ve seen it happen countless times more in others.
You know what you want to do. You know what you need to do to get it. But you never end up doing it. All because of the simple fact that you lack the confidence to get started.
It’s the nagging voice that doubts every single plan or achievement you’ve made in life. It preys on our insecurities and rewards us with every counterproductive possibility imaginable.
It’s also the one thing you are already equipped to overcome. Unlike Baby, you can put doubt in a corner and never let it out again.
I know you can be successful and I want you to know it as well. The fact that you’re here reading this tells me you have the motivation.
What you need now is the belief. The confidence to start today. The encouragement to take it one step at a time, find your stride, and reach your goal.
What follows are my simple, but powerful, tips that can help you build your confidence.
Get Started Today
Here’s the funny thing about self-confidence it’s the one thing you can get worse at without ever practicing.
You can sit there, do nothing, never start your career as a writer, graphic designer, entrepreneur, etc. and your skills in those areas will not decline.
Your confidence, however, will continue to plummet the more you sit there frozen by inaction.
The only way to improve your confidence and reach your goal, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, is to just start doing.
Confidence, like most things, is something that’s developed over time. It’s built by taking action and realizing you are capable of learning new skills.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that this is your goal. It’s meant to be walked, jogged, or sprinted at your pace and no one else’s.
If your goal is to run a half-marathon and today is the first day you’ve laced up your shoes, that’s a success.
If your goal is to publish a novel and today is the first day you’ve compiled a list of potential editors to review your draft, that’s a success.
If your goal is to start your business and today you made your first cold call, regardless that it ended in voice mail, that’s a success.
Inaction leads us nowhere and its damage is much harder to recover from. Doubt grows as we refrain from taking action. It’s an intangible and complex web of possibilities where somehow everything goes poorly and we’re not good.
Imagine coming across the reverse of those odds. Our skepticism radars would be off the chart and yet we let doubt parade its pile of negative what-ifs as fact.
The best way to battle doubt and undo the web of what-ifs is to take action. Take away the power of the unknown and make it practical. Show yourself exactly what you can accomplish. Your confidence will only benefit from taking action.
Track Your Progress
Another way to send doubt packing is by tracking your progress. It’s very difficult to play mind games with ourselves about what we can’t do when what we have done is laid out in front of us.
I have three very specific tips when it comes to tracking your progress. These tips will help you avoid this exercise becoming a chore, draining your motivation, and subsequently stagnating your progress.
Tip #1: Track progress visually — The recency effect plays a big factor here. Take the guesswork out of it and track your progress where you will see it daily. You’ll be surprised at both the energy and confidence boost adding a tick or checking off a box can provide.
Tip #2: Track progress positively — Most people track progress negatively — What remains to achieve their goal. They end up spending the most crucial days early in their goal looking at a massive confidence draining gap between where you are and where you want to be. Often causing a major loss of motivation and confidence.
Instead, track progress positively compared to yesterday. For example:
Recording that you ran 1.5 miles today versus 1 mile the day before on your way to a half marathon.
Recording that you ran 1.5 miles today out of the 13+ you still need for your half marathon.
I’ll leave you to decide which is the bigger confidence booster of the two.
Tip #3: Track progress for only as long as it helps — Creating mini-goals and tracking your progress can be great to build up your confidence. But, let’s be honest sometimes they get in the way of your end goal.
Pause or stop tracking them the moment they drain your motivation. Tracking progress is a tool, and its purpose as a tool is to motivate and build your confidence. The moment it stops serving that purpose means it’s time to stop and switch things up.
Leverage Your Failure
Even if you do follow the above steps there will be moments when you fail. It’s important to accept and embrace the fact that adversity will occur. It doesn’t mean that your doubts were correct and you should give up.
Failure means you’re learning, you’re doing something new, you’re growing. Look at failure as an opportunity to learn and gain even more confidence.
Think back to a time when you overcame failure. The sense of accomplishment that came with it and the confidence you now have with that particular skill.
Now compare those same feelings to something that you’ve experienced very little failure or lack of confidence.
Overcoming failure requires a lot of mental effort between uncovering exactly what went wrong and the trial and error it takes until you get it right. You end up gaining valuable insight and experience that boosts your confidence much than when you only experience success.
Rather than allow your doubts to feed on your failures, allow yourself to leverage these opportunities to learn and boost your confidence.
Be Bold, Be Confident
It’s time to stop letting doubt and fear get in the way of living your life. Adversity doesn’t need to dictate your success and perfection isn’t required to reach your goals.
Having the confidence to get started is required to reach your goals and being bold in the face of adversity will dictate your success.
Begin by taking small steps. Prove to yourself, and no one else, that you are capable of making progress. Take the opportunity failure provides you to further grow as an individual. Whatever your goal, be bold and confident.
I challenge you, today, to lace up those running shoes, write down that list of editors, make that first phone call. Embrace the journey and celebrate every step you take along the way.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Hellen Keller
Brian is currently a project manager at Booking.com. He has spent years managing teams across a variety of functions. Over this time he has developed a passion for people management and helping others to succeed. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent Booking.com’s positions, strategies or opinions.