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Cultivating ...
Published: June 8, 2024

Cultivating Confidence

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Samvida Patel, IIN Content Editor, Class of February 2015

There always seems to be that one person in our lives whose confidence has us feeling kind of envious. If only we could bottle up their self-trust and take a swig of it whenever we needed a dose. What a difference that would make, right?

It would, but the truth is you’re just as capable of cultivating that level of confidence yourself.

Think of confidence as a thermostat: Certain circumstances are bound to offset its ideal mark, triggering an action that works to restore your confidence to its optimal level.

What that action involves would of course vary based on what’s most effective for you. To help you determine that, here are four of our favorite confidence-boosting tips:

1) Start with strengths.

When our confidence wavers, no matter how inconsequential the situation, it can be difficult to call attention to our unique capabilities. And if we are aware of them, chances are we are quick to dismiss them.

To train your brain to put the spotlight back on your strengths, jot down similar instances where you used your forte to overcome an obstacle. For example, if you’re nervous about signing on a new client, think back to a time when you made a successful pitch to someone and remember what you did that made it a success.

Then turn those takeaways into an affirmation. If you presented an out-of-the-box idea that helped close a deal, your affirmation might read something like, “I am courageous and not afraid to explore new ways of looking at challenges.”

Write your affirmation somewhere you can see it as a positive reminder of your potential.

2) Tap into your inner child.

Have you ever tried showing a toddler how to properly operate an object, only to hear, “Oh, I already know how to do that”?

That’s the attitude we should strive for as confidence in creativity tends to deteriorate in adulthood.

While it’s not necessary to pinpoint a specific moment in your early years when you demonstrated similar conviction, simply emulating a childlike spirit can reinvigorate you with confidence: Whether that’s putting on your favorite childhood song and singing along, re-creating your favorite playdate or sleepover, or visiting a place close to your heart, do something that makes you feel carefree.

3) Phone a friend.

Regardless of how great facing our fears would be in theory, sometimes they’re just too far out of our comfort zone to act on alone. That’s where your phone-a-friend lifeline can come in handy.

Maybe you’ve challenged yourself to expand your social circle and foster new connections, despite not always taking an interest in mingling. If that’s the case, make plans to attend a meetup or local event with a friend who thrives in social settings. (What about that person whose confidence you admire?) You might be surprised at how much less intimidating conversations become when you have company.

Just a little bit of motivation is all we need to start gradually developing confidence in areas that may not come naturally to us.

4) Make room for spontaneity.  

Nurturing confidence is a long-term feat. To build it bit by bit, we have to look beyond strengths, familiarity, and comfort. Stepping into the unknown is always a little nerve-racking, but it also puts you on a direct route toward growth.

This doesn’t necessarily mean waking up one day and deciding to take up a new hobby or activity in hopes of uncovering hidden talents (although this is indeed a helpful method!). It can be as simple as taking a scenic detour on your way home from work or exploring a different neighborhood in your city. Not every instance of breaking away from routine will result in a noteworthy discovery, but having no set plan can be freeing and uplifting – which is a step toward building self-trust when deciding where to go and what to do.

As you try these tips, you might realize that some work better than others. The key is to arm yourself with a few go-to boosters and experiment with what works best for you! Let us know in the comments below what ups your confidence!


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