Confidence is the key factor in your success. It creates and partners with motivation, to generate an ever expanding cycle of personal growth, which can lead to the achievement of everything you’ve ever wanted. In a recent survey, I found that 61% of women cited confidence, as preventing them from taking action towards their goals, but I actually believe that this number is much higher, as 83% cited reasons for not taking action, that are symptomatic of low confidence.
So, while there are lots of clear indicators that we associate with low confidence, such as a limp handshake, rapid breathing, difficulty talking to new people, and fear of public speaking, I thought I’d share with you some less obvious signs that you need help with your confidence, so that you can identify if you might be suffering from low confidence too…
1. You Downplay Your Achievements
Downplaying your achievements, and writing off your successes as good luck, are sure signs that you are lacking confidence. It might be because you’re afraid to set the standard too high, for fear that you won’t be able to replicate your results; perhaps you’re worried that people will think you’re smug; or you might be concerned that you’ll make them feel their own achievements aren’t good enough. The problem with writing off your abilities, is that you fail to reflect on what went well, and how you might continue to improve for the future and, as a result, you’ll find it more difficult to continue to raise the bar – causing further detriment to your confidence. So instead of thanking your lucky stars, look at your successes and recognise just how well you did and how far you’ve come. Pay close attention to the things that worked best, so that you can apply those strategies again, and assess what could have been even better, to ensure your successes, and your confidence, continue to evolve and grow.
2. You Feel Uncomfortable with Compliments or Praise
Not being able to accept a genuine compliment or praise, when it’s offered, is a clear sign of low self-esteem. As is quickly countering a compliment with one of your own. When someone compliments or congratulates you, they are giving you a gift. A gift of their appreciation, kindness and generosity. When you quickly shrug it off as nothing, it’s a bit like throwing their gift back in their face. Equally, diluting that gift, by quickly pulling out your own beautifully wrapped compliment, deflects from their own sense of satisfaction. So, next time you are offered some praise or a compliment, be gracious. Say thank you!
3. You Don’t Have the Time or the Energy
Believe it or not, feeling that you never have enough time or the energy levels to take on a challenge is also a sign of poor confidence. If you genuinely don’t have the time, then you need to learn to say “No”. Confident people say no easily, because they are acutely aware that while saying no might make them feel a little bad for a few moments, saying yes will make them feel frustrated and begrudging for as long as that little task is looming, and until it’s completed. With practice, you can learn to say no without feeling even a little guilty, because you’ll simply explain to people that you don’t have enough hours in the day to complete your own priorities. What’s more, I bet you’re wasting oodles of time every day checking Facebook and Twitter to see if anyone cares about what you’re putting out there, answering texts the minute they arrive, regardless of whether you’re in the middle of something, and dealing with things that bring absolutely no value to your life – like watching the news, or moaning with your co-workers. And what does all this useless activity do to you? Well, it saps your energy of course! So, do yourself a favour, cut out the energy draining rubbish from your day, and start looking at how you can streamline your life, to make time for the things that matter.
4. You Overcompensate
There are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to poor self-confidence. The first being the type that shies away from the limelight, and the second being the being the type that throws themselves headfirst into it, in order to be perceived as highly confident. But, being the liveliest, loudest, bubbliest person in the room does not make you the most confident. If you are constantly trying to convince everyone else that you “have it all”, then it’s most likely that inside you are bitterly aware that you don’t. Such overcompensation generally leads to imposter syndrome or a feeling of fakeness that is incredibly self-destructive. While it’s fine to fake it ‘til you make it, be careful that you’re not hugely over-compensating, to portray the façade that you “have it all”.
5. You Take Too Little or Too Much Advice
Being sure that you already know it all is absolutely ludicrous, because none of us does, and learning from others who’ve already achieved the success that you’re seeking is key to your own victory. The only place that you come close to knowing it all, is right in the middle of your comfort zone, and we’ve already mentioned how suffocating that can be. By being conceited about your skills and knowledge, you close yourself down to opportunities for growth, and this simply belies your low self-esteem and fear of looking foolish. On the flip side, taking too much advice, from people who haven’t achieved the type of life you want, is very dangerous. Those who have lived their whole lives within a narrow comfort zone, can rarely see beyond the carefully crafted walls of their box, and will likely be pessimistic and unsupportive of any intentions you have to step out of the norm. Spend too much time listening to them, and your resolve will quickly dissolve into nothingness, and you’ll soon be deciding to climb back inside of your own comfort zone. But please don’t. If those people you’re listening to aren’t important to you, I’d recommend simply removing them from your life. That said, I know that very often the most unsupportive people are your loved ones and, since you’re probably quite attached to them, no matter how narrow-minded they can be, just focus your time with them on your common interests. Then seek out the people that already have the kind of life you want, to teach, mentor and support you to achieve your goals.
6. You Compare Yourself to Others
Look around, and you will find of plenty people that appear to be doing better than you (as well as many that aren’t), and if you are constantly telling yourself that their grass is greener, and that you need to catch up, or get ahead, then you will never be confident in you. The fact is, quite often we don’t know the first thing about other peoples’ lives and where they may appear to be excelling in public, who knows what goes on in private? As it is, the only person you need to be comparing yourself with, is the person you were yesterday, so put yourself on a path of self-development, and put your focus on becoming a better you, instead of on keeping up with the Jones’s.
7. You Worry What People Think of You
This is the number one reason that people won’t pursue new things for themselves. The stigma that you attach to other peoples’ opinions of you, is so debilitating, that you paralyse yourself into complete inaction, for fear that your colleagues will laugh, that your family will think you’ve lost the plot, or that the neighbours will be rubbing their hands with glee if you mess up. The fact is, whatever other people think about you is their business, not yours, so don’t waste your precious time trying to understand what is going on in their heads. Chances are, even if they do take a moment to have some kind of reaction to your choices, it’ll be forgotten again very quickly as they get on with the business of living their own lives. Even complete gossips will only talk about you for so long before they move on to the next person and, if you’re completely honest with yourself, does their opinion of you actually make any real difference to you in your life. My advice: don’t listen to the noise, and it won’t impact your confidence at all.
8. You Judge Other People
One of the main causes of you overthinking other people’s opinions of you, is because you’ve made a habit of sitting in judgement over other people. Your entire life has been moulded by a society that judges people who are perceived as different due to attitudes, beliefs, behaviour, intelligence, appearance, economic class, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. So, chances are you have indulged in a spot of judgement over someone that doesn’t fit your ideal, too. Perhaps a neighbour’s untidy garden, a colleague’s familiarity with the boss, or your friend’s lack of control over her children. Well, I’d like to remind you that you haven’t lived their lives, don’t know what experiences have moulded them, and frankly it’s none of your business. So, if you don’t want to feel judged, start by not looking down your nose at others. You see, it doesn’t make you feel better about yourself, it simply highlights your own insecurities and makes you feel worse about the society you live in. Instead, if something truly perplexes you, get curious about it, and seek to understand why it is the way it is, instead of judging people who, most often, are simply doing the best they can, with the emotional and physical resources they have.
9. You Talk Negatively About Yourself
Whether in conversation with others, or inside your own head, negative self-talk is hugely damaging to your confidence. Even if you laugh it off, in a self-deprecating manner, it reinforces negative thoughts and feelings within your subconscious mind, and you’ll soon find (if you haven’t already) that you’ll begin to believe that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not slim enough, not charismatic enough, not wealthy enough, and so on. Frankly, there is no such thing as “enough”. You are what you are, and you already have everything within you that you need, to create whatever life you want for yourself. So replace that negativity with positive talk. Recognise your strengths instead of your weaknesses. Write them down and look at them often. Stand in front of the mirror and repeat them to yourself, reinforcing within your mind, all of the things that you know are great about you. And don’t be stingy with the compliments. It’s not going to go to your head and make you smug. But, little by little, it will begin to improve your sense of self-worth.
10. You See More Problems Than Solutions
If you’re constantly justifying to yourself and/or others, why something (or everything) can’t be better, then you are definitely lacking confidence. Focusing on problems is a sure-fire way to get stuck in a rut, and this self-perpetuating, ever-decreasing vicious-circle will leave you trapped in a very narrow comfort zone, that is actually bloody uncomfortable. Confidence is personified by the ability to identify opportunities and solutions, so instead of constantly asking yourself why things are so awful, instead use your brilliantly capable mind to uncover how things can be improved. As Tony Robbins says, “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers”. As you begin to get better answers, and focus your mind on solutions, you will open up a world of opportunities and build your confidence, as you realise that you do have the answers if you just ask smartly.
If you’re displaying some or all of these signs, then there’s every chance that you need some help building your confidence. Learning to believe in your abilities, trust yourself and your intuition, and focus on growing within your own life, despite the opinions of others, are all key to mastering your confidence. And, with mastery of your confidence, you will find that you can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that you’ve ever wanted.
So tell me, what do you do to bolster your confidence?