Have you ever wanted to feel more confident?
The first time I spoke in front of my Toastmasters club (an organization that helps people practice public speaking) I was so nervous that my voice trembled and my hands shook. I so wanted to do a good job. Yet I was a novice speaker and even the friendly crowd of people at Toastmasters felt intimidating to me. I wished I had more confidence.
Confidence has to do with our own assessment of our abilities.
When I gave that first speech I knew I was in over my head. My lack of confidence reflected that.
To be more confident we need to improve our assessment of our abilities.
One way to do this is to work on mindset. Think of times you were successful in the past and borrow confidence from those achievements. I used to do this a lot. I would think of a really tough swim practice I’d excelled at. I’d think to myself, ‘Well, if I could do that then I could probably do this other thing.’
The other way to build your confidence is to forge it.
Here’s what I mean.
When I began working on public speaking I wasn’t very good at it. But it was something that I wanted to do well. So I kept trying. I pushed myself to speak at venues outside of my Toastmasters club, even to crowds of hundreds of people. Some of the speeches I gave when I was learning were better than others, but over time I improved significantly.
I still go to Toastmasters to practice and improve my public speaking. Just the other day a newer member of my club asked me how I was able to speak so naturally and with such confidence. The answer is pretty much that I worked on it.
So what’s the magic formula to improve your confidence?
- Attempt something hard that interests you.
- Stick with it until you get it.
- Note your overall confidence level has increased.
Push yourself. Extend your comfort zone. Try something that challenges you. And, this is important, don’t give up until you accomplish what you set out to do. You will start out feeling uneasy, but by the time you finish your confidence will soar.
What have you found helpful for improving your confidence? Leave a comment below!
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