“What can I do to boost my confidence?” We get that question a lot. Straight up? Confidence is a lifelong project; you’re always going to be building, strengthening, and adding to it, but we want to give you some quick tips on boosting your confidence starting right now.
As you guys may know from the challenge, we’re all about action here at the Art of Charm. When you feel like your confidence is faltering, you might find yourself procrastinating rather than taking the next step and being proactive. It’s perfectly normal, but if you’re serious about growth, you can’t just give up.
Here are five confidence-boosting activities you can try today, especially if you’re feeling like you’ve lost a little bit of your mojo.
I know you’ve heard us talk about this a lot on podcasts and Facebook Live. Taking a minute to actually write down your thoughts and feelings after experiencing something is a very powerful tool.
In the beginning, we were pretty sheepish about journaling, too. It can be pretty intimidating to sit down and try to write about yourself. That’s why we recommend starting with The Five Minute Journal if you just want to dip your toes into journaling. Our buddies built this book for you, and it even comes with an app. Use this journal once in the morning and again at night, when starting and ending your day. It literally only takes five minutes, but it leads you through the process of journaling. It’s got easy to follow prompts that won’t leave you feeling like you’re starting a diary.
Journaling is important because we tend to hold onto our emotions, which can be overwhelming. It’s necessary that after doing anything challenging you sit down to assess your thoughts and feelings in that moment. What are some things that worked out, that you felt good about today? What are some things that maybe didn’t work out as well? Taking the time to write this stuff down in your journal is very helpful.
When you accomplish something and you’re proud and ready to celebrate, you want to get out there, hit a bar, have a pint, and chat about it with friends. While it’s important to open up and share those things with other people, you should also be sharing that excitement with yourself in a journal.
Looking back through your journal and seeing how far you’ve come develops self-efficacy. It’s easy to forget day-to-day feelings over time, but really reflecting on them and bringing yourself back to those moments can help you see how you cleared the hurdles and overcame challenges. Clearly seeing how you’ve changed and grown fuels you, and you feel empowered moving forward. That’s why journaling is so important — it documents where you were, where you are, and where you want to be. And that’s incredibly helpful in boosting that confidence.
2. A New Skill
The second thing you can do to boost confidence is learn a new skill. It can be anything — picking up that guitar you bought a while ago, going to a cooking class, trying out a new fitness program. You can even go out and take a master class with a chef or DJ online without ever having to leave your home. But the key is learning something new, because it challenges you to move out of your comfort zone.
Once again, this is about building self-efficacy. Working through new things and figuring it out helps you build confidence as you see yourself accomplish those things. Once you get a couple wins under your belt, you have more confidence. You know you’re capable not only in a new skill, but in other areas of your life by extension. Challenges way more daunting than learning guitar won’t seem quite so scary anymore.
There are a lot of guys I see on the challenge and in the class who are very bright people, so school never really challenged them all that much. Because they were into academics, they basically stayed to themselves, reading and learning, either online or in the classroom, passively. They think they’ve got it all together until everything just starts breaking down the minute they get into the “real world,” because their skillsets aren’t translating. We love getting our hands dirty here at The Art of Charm, so we encourage you to pick a skill that involves building, challenging, and using your hands. Choose something that’s going to rewire your brain and build new pathways. You’re going to find an immense amount of newfound confidence.
3. Pushing Through “The Dip”
It’s inevitable: whenever you try something new, you’re going to have a “dip.” One of our favorite writers, Seth Godin, wrote a book about this called The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), which talks about how with any short-term gain, there’s always going to be something that falls apart and causes us to regress. It’s during those regressions that most people give up.
That’s the dip. You feel like you’re worse off than you were before you started trying something new. It’s important to push through that dip, though. Recognize that it’s just a phase and part of learning anything. Everyone has gone through it, from Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs. We’ve all had failures, so push through and allow yourself some space to enjoy the journey.
We see this all the time during our challenges; some people just hit the ground running, but then life, work, kids, whatever happens and they hit a dip. They think, “Man, I had a couple of wins early, but now I’m overwhelmed by all of this!” Pull through that; it’s where the greatest wins are. That’s how you build some grit and resilience that builds confidence.
4. New Adventures
If you want to boost your confidence, you have to start saying yes to new adventures and new experiences. We all have opportunities presented to us throughout the week or month to try something new; friends invite us to do something and we get chances to get out and meet new people. Unfortunately, many of us are pros in finding ways to skirt having to get outside our comfortable routines. It’s very important that you start saying yes to new experiences, because that’s the backbone of the confidence you’re trying to build.
Sometimes people get too caught up in the big picture, so it makes it hard to say yes because you feel overwhelmed. So one thing I started doing was saying yes, but only committing to being there for an hour. If you’re there for an hour and a half and you’re enjoying yourself and things are great, you stay. Usually it ends up that you’re not even looking at your watch, but if it was lame and you didn’t have any fun, you pushed yourself and met your commitment.
Don’t let yourself play the “what-if” game and let your anxiety spiral out of control. You make things more complicated that way, when you could just show up, put yourself out there, and see for yourself what it’s actually like. Experience is so powerful; it turns down anxiety and allows you to realize that socializing doesn’t have to be intimidating. That’s the power of saying yes to new adventures.
5. Check Your Friends
Arguably the most important part of building confidence is to surround yourself with confident, high-value people. I know it’s more difficult than it sounds, but it’s very important to understand that the people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our own well-being.
If you have a problem and go to a good friend to help you work through that issue, your friend’s feedback is going to be through his personal lens. If he is lacking in confidence and operating from a scarcity mindset, then chances are good that person is going to make your problem worse than if you had talked to someone who’s upbeat, confident, and positive.
Think about the example of saying yes to adventures. Let’s just say that you wanted to start a new blog, so you run it by your friend. If your friend has a negative lens through which he views the world, he may say “Why would you do that? Who’s gonna read it?” That might be all you need to shut down your idea and decide not to put yourself out there. If you’re not surrounded by the kind of people who would respond with, “That sounds amazing! I’d love to read it. How can I help? What do you need?” or other positive responses of encouragement, you need to change your crowd. Surround yourself with people who fire you up!
So what are some qualities that confident, high-value people have? Well, one that we stress a lot is smiling. It shows you’re excited, interested in things, and enthusiastic about being there, and you radiate a positive energy that people are drawn to and want to be around. It’s easy to be the person who hates on everything and mopes around and talks crap, but being the person who is positive, gets involved, and shows enthusiasm takes guts and vulnerability.
One thing you can do to determine if someone has a negative lens is watch small behaviors. How do they treat the staff? How do they treat the people supporting them, or people in service jobs? Are they rude to the barista? Do they yell at the waiter about something minor? These are not the behaviors of confident, high-value people. You need to be looking for a cooperative spirit. Are they wanting you to help them or are they looking for opportunities to help you? Looking for opportunities to help others is a good sign of someone who is confident in themselves.
Find those people and spend your time with them for a huge boost in confidence. This happens because you start to adopt their confident, positive mindset. The more people you have doing great things around you, the more you’ll be inspired to do great things yourself. Their influence and support helps you build confidence because you know you’re not going to be judged for failure along the way and that you will, ultimately, succeed.
Confidence Is Built, Not Born.
I know it seems like some people are just born with confident energy, but it’s important to remember that those kinds of people also have the most experience and practice, too! Confidence is built, and anyone can grow and develop this skill. Try activities like journaling, learning new skills, and saying yes to adventures to help you boost confidence and practice getting yourself out there. Accept that there will be dips, but commit to pushing through them and you’ll be amazed to see that you can do it. Setbacks are part of the process, but don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of opportunities to gain new experiences and surround yourself with confident, high-value people.