Don’t fake it, build it: how to boost your confidence? Our inner doubter looks to be rearing its head again; a new survey suggests that it’s not worries over money, workloads or promotions that is stressing employees out, it’s that most people don’t feel confident. So, can we all improve our wellbeing and learn this vital skill?

An article published by The World Economic Forum last month presents findings from a survey demonstrating some worrying findings from smart, accomplished readers most of whom have degrees and work in leadership positions and at Fortune 500 companies. Respondents said things like:

  • I want to start a business, but I fear looking foolish.
  • I feel I shouldn’t have been picked for the role I am in. I feel like a sham.
  • I doubt myself and find it hard to ask for what I want.

So why is there all this self-doubt? Here are some potential reasons and ways to avoid the negativity trap:

Control your social media obsession:

Social media portrays a filtered look on life. When we look at others, supposed perfect lives and compare them to our own messy, complicated and stressful ones then it is no wonder that our confidence can take a hit. Over the summer holidays you may have been bombarded with pictures of your friends going on glamorous holidays, having wonderful days out and attending summer parties in new clothes but you should step back from this and realise that the moment before the camera clicked and the one directly after, may not have matched the one of happiness portrayed in the published photo. We all put on a persona when it comes to our social media feed. It can have a real impact on people’s self-worth, so if it is having a negative rather than a positive effect then it’s time to take a bold step. Block your most nauseous contacts, remove it from your phone so you are not tempted to constantly check into it, cut down your access time or just take a step back from everything you see and realise that most pictures are posed and that means that they are staged and ultimately not a real portrayal of life.

Put yourself in uncomfortable situations:

Struggling breeds character and character breeds confidence. New situations can make us uncomfortable but we can’t feel confident about public speaking, presenting, going to meetings or being more innovative unless we have built up sufficient experiences to convince ourselves that we can do it and do it well.

So, here’s the hard bit, you must bite the bullet and put yourself in that situation that you have been avoiding, for many that is either public speaking or convincing your boss about a great idea you have. It might be your worst nightmare but until you face it, the nightmare will continue, so take some steps towards getting your first ordeal over and done with. It will become easier each successive time you do it and that will boost your confidence.

Learn to fail:

Lots of people never realise their dream because they are terrified of failing but failing can help build confidence. Think of the many entrepreneurs that failed time and again before they hit on their winning idea. Expectations are key here, if you are starting out on a new business venture then don’t expect to hit the jackpot either quickly or at all, you will learn along the way and be better equipped to succeed the next time. Making mistakes is a great way of learning how to move forward and without these vital lessons it is impossible to progress.

Avoid the temptation to fake it:

Keeping up appearances can be stressful and whilst it is tempting to make a quick fix, ‘faking it’ will only really serve to undermine your long-term wellbeing. Learning to manage bad feedback or negative comments, dismiss them and protect your self-esteem from damage is a hard but necessary process. We have all experienced bad press whether that is from friends, families or colleagues at one time or another. It’s an emotional hit that is uncomfortable but we need to build up our emotional resilience and coping skills so that we can survive them and learn to protect ourselves from the emotional hurt the next time.

Confidence has such a huge bearing on our outlook on life, the paths we choose to take, the successes we have and importantly our happiness. Learning how to strengthen our confidence is a life skill that we should be putting more effort and time into – afterall it can make the difference between a fantastic rather than a mediocre life and that’s worth having.

Author: Annie Hayes