Confidence is necessary to feel good emotionally and mentally and to achieve goals. However, people often go through moments when they feel unsure of their ability to handle challenges. Their lack of confidence is usually because they fear they – 

– will not do well

– be judged

– lose credibility 

Fear and the associated lack of confidence can be crippling. Without confidence, we get stuck and sometimes cannot even get started. It impacts how we show up in life, the risks we take, and the result of our efforts. If you feel underconfident from time to time, think about how it affects you –

  1. Does it keep you in your comfort zone, holding you back from trying things you are not confident of doing successfully?
  2. You feel all knotted up, self-conscious, and judgmental of your performance. You are overly critical of yourself and your performance.

Here are some thoughts to change the relationship with fear and feel more confident. 

It is normal to be not confident about doing what one does not know and has never dealt with in the past. How about feeling confident about your ability to learn? You have learned various things, in the past, from riding a bicycle to driving a car. Give yourself permission to be curious, take risks, put in the effort, and treat every failure as feedback. How about accepting yourself as a ‘work in progress? 

Have you noticed that fear and excitement feel very similar in the body? You experience butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, trembling, and a thudding heart. How about reframing your fear as excitement to learn something new?

Fear showing up before you do something is a sign that the situation you are dealing with matters to you. You can acknowledge the fear and thank it for reminding you of the importance of what lies ahead. This will allow you to be curious about how you can reach your goal and take charge of your exploration and learning. 

What else can you do to feel confident?

Know yourself and what you want – When you do not know what you want – 

– you are easily distracted by the next shiny thing, 

– you are stuck in analysis paralysis,

– you try to do too many things at a time

You do not feel confident, and your actions and words reflect it. 

When you know what you want, you figure out ways to achieve your goal and walk confidently towards it. To have more confidence, get to know yourself better.

Practice, practice, practice – When you know little about what you need to do, you create scary stories about it in your head. You can get better at what challenges you, by investing your time and energy in it. Practicing is a simple way to boost confidence. When you see people excel, you witness the outcome of their hard work and determination over time. Practice builds confidence and improves quality. It is a virtuous cycle. The better you are at doing something, the more confidence you feel while doing it. 

Manage your physiology – Our nonverbal behavior impacts how others look at us and also how we think and feel about ourselves. Research indicates that our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes. Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy recommends doing a power pose of victory for 2 minutes before you get into a stressful situation. 

To summarize, reframe your relationship with fear, be curious and more self-aware, practice hard, act despite your fears, and use your body language to feel more confident.


PS – If feeling confident has been a struggle for you, explore executive coaching as solution for you. Book a pressure free one-on-one exploratory conversation by clicking here 

This article was first published on LinkedIn as a part of the Your Career Matters series.