A lot of people believe that confidence is something you are born with.
And why not?
Other people seem to have so much of it, while you can’t seem to muster up ANY.
So the easy solution is to think it just comes naturally to some people.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case. There is not a magic gene for confidence. This is something that is learned.
And if you are like me, you never really learned it.
Luckily, after 37 years, I learned how to be more confident. And I want to share how to do it with you.
I want to first clear up that in order for someone to have confidence in oneself, it does not mean they are better than anyone, or need to be a mean person, a bully, or a dominating person.
In fact, people who usually behave in such ways are trying to compensate for not having confidence.
It makes them feel good for about 2 seconds to feel like they are superior to someone else. But when the temporary boost of serotonin drops, they will feel even worse than they did before.
Having confidence is believing in yourself. Knowing that you will be okay to take a chance, to speak up, to get the job done, no matter what it is.
It’s just you believing in yourself.
Confidence is Taught
I remember as a child, my household was a “children should be seen, but not heard” type of place.
Anything I did seemed to be wrong and met with repercussions, so of course, it made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right.
Even with my friends, I was always worried I wasn’t playing the right way, so would usually just sit back and watch.
I recently went through my old grade school portfolio and came across a note from my teacher to my parents that started off with “Ashly is extremely smart but severely lacks confidence”.
It brought back memories of me sitting on the sidelines and getting frustrated with my schoolwork; because even if it was correct, I couldn’t stop doubting myself.
As I grew up, it seemed to fit that I would remain friends with people who would tell me I was ugly and fat, and with boyfriends who would hurt me, and confirm I wasn’t good enough or smart enough.
Even when I started dating the first good guy to say nice things to me (my husband), others around him wondered why he was dating me, say mean things about me, and make me feel like I had something wrong with me.
I spent a lot of time crying because I didn’t understand why. I never did anything to those people, and I was never a mean person.
I was an easy target I guess.
So of course, my confidence was ridiculously low by the time I hit my early 30s. To the point where I let my anxiety take over.
Because I was taught by everyone I came into contact with that I wasn’t good enough.
Unfortunately, many people go through situations like mine. And this is what shatters your belief in yourself, because it gets beaten in your head, throughout your life, that you aren’t good enough.
Confidence Affects Your Life and Everything You Do
If you don’t believe in yourself, then you pretty much will be stuck.
You won’t get the things you want out of life because you won’t take chances.
You remain around people who reinforce the idea you aren’t good enough, because you don’t think you have a leg to stand on by sticking up for yourself.
Here’s a test:
Think of something you really want to do in your life.
You already started thinking about all the things holding you back, didn’t you?
That’s how lack of confidence is affecting your life.
You need to get to a point where you see the end goal and that is ALL you see.
You don’t see the steps you need to take, you don’t see the ways you could possibly fail or the hurdles. You don’t see what others think of you. You just see the end result.
Once you do that, you will be unstoppable, because your brain will automatically look for ways to get you there.
So is it possible to boost your confidence after feeling insecure for so long?
Ways to Boost Your Confidence
I learned 10 keys in being confident.
I spent my entire life not believing in myself and for the first time ever, I have faith in myself.
I now run a website and put myself out there, even though I know not everyone will like what I am saying.
I am standing up for myself more and being honest with people when they ask my opinion on something.
Sure, I still have times when I struggle. Everyone does, despite what they show you.
But right now, I have more confidence in myself than I have ever had in my entire life.
So how did I get to that point?
I did these 10 things.
1. Know Everyone is Basically the Same
I once asked my husband how he could be so confident all the time.
He never had a problem saying anything, people seemed to like him wherever he went, and he never seems to care about looking “manly” or weird or anything. He likes what he likes and he does what he wants with no apologies.
His answer was an eye opener and made me see everything differently.
He told me that he used to get picked on all the time in school. He lacked confidence back then.
One day, he came to the realization that everyone is made up of the same organs, blood, and bones he has. So why was he putting stock into what others thought of him if we were all made of the same stuff?
This meant nobody is better than him. From that day forward, he didn’t care about other’s opinions.
This was something I never thought of. Just because people ACT better than you, doesn’t mean they are. We all have insecurities, we all are scared to speak up at certain times, some just hide that fear and push through it.
We are all made the same and we all bring something special to the table in our personal strengths.
Nobody is better than you because we all have our own unique gift.
2. Visualize Your Outcome
Just saying “I want more confidence”, isn’t going to get you confidence.
You need to focus on the specific aspect of it that you want and visualize it.
I will give you an example:
Let’s say you want to be more confident so you can earn more money.
It’s not a specific goal, because I can hand you a dollar and you already met your goal.
That’s not going to push you forward to be more confident.
Instead, your WHY needs to be super specific like : I am going to earn $100,000 in the next two years because not paying off this debt is going to drive me insane.
Then close your eyes and visualize it. Visualize you looking at your bank statement and seeing the money in there. Visualize you having important meetings and walking with confidence everywhere.
If you do this exercise, your brain will automatically LOOK for ways to make it happen and you will start to see opportunities you didn’t see before. But the trick is that you will need to leap to take these opportunities.
Same thing with speaking up. Visualize why it is important and visualize yourself doing it and your brain will try to take you there.
This will also help you focus on solutions, not the problems, which will take you farther in life and help you feel more confident.
3. Find Your Passion
This step is important, because when you find something that you can’t stop thinking about, you will learn everything you can about it.
This makes you become somewhat of an expert.
It’s that subject that when someone touches on it, you can talk for an hour straight and something inside of you just lights up. You grab everything you can read or see about that subject and always be hungry for more.
For me, it was showing others that they can overcome any mental or physical barrier holding them back. Because I did it, I educated myself on it, and I read everything I can get my hands on about it.
So I feel very confident in my ability to discuss the subject because it is something I am passionate about.
So find your passion, and you will feel a little more confident in your abilities.
4. Not Everyone Will Like You, and That’s Okay
My husband made up a saying years ago “I am like caviar, fine quality, but not for everyone”.
It’s very true.
You need to be able to go through life and be YOU. Not everyone is going to like you. Some people will think low of you.
Because in all honesty, do you want their life? Do you want their job, their family, their house, their personality?
The answer is probably no. So why are you putting such faith in their opinions? Why do you listen to their advice?
If they don’t have the life you want, stop listening to their opinions, judgments, and criticisms.
When I started this site, my biggest fear about growing it was the negative feedback that happens to every single website owner.
In fact, I would deliberately sabotage myself to avoid getting more traffic.
Until I realized something. I believe in what I am doing. I am educated in what I am doing.
I believe so many more people can benefit from what I share than those who don’t. If people don’t agree with my methods of healing, or it doesn’t work for them, that is okay!
Because it is what I learned and what I got from experience. And I firmly believe in sharing what worked for ME.
In fact, a few months back, I got my first extremely nasty comment on one of my articles. Sure, it hurt at first. But I realize that her journey and what she learned is different than my journey.
Not everyone is going to benefit and that’s okay. I feel she could have been a little nicer, but I can’t control others. I can only control me and how I react.
But I believed in what I was saying because I was living proof that my method can work.
I could have deleted her comment, as I had every right to do. But I left it up.
Because I wanted others to see that it’s okay if everyone doesn’t agree with you. That it’s okay if people judge you harshly and say horrible things to you. It’s okay if someone has a different perspective than you. That you can’t let something like that make you hide and doubt yourself.
It’s okay that she felt that way. Because the amount of people that have given me positive feedback about that article means that I am helping at least one person. And that pushes me forward.
If you would like to see the article and comment I am talking about, it is Why You Should Stop Blaming Your Parents.
Don’t let others make you doubt yourself. You won’t be for everyone.
It doesn’t make you less of a person, it just means what isn’t right for one person is perfect for someone else.
I only wished I would have understood this sooner in my life.
5. Understand Failing is Necessary
You are going to fail. At anything you try.
That’s a part of finding success, because you can’t know what success looks like until you have failed. Sometimes failing multiple times.
So many people are afraid to fail and it destroys their confidence. I used to be that way as well.
Then I realized that everyone fails.
What’s the worst that can happen? You have to start from the beginning?
Okay, well at least you learned something so you know what not to do next time. This gets you one step closer to figuring out how to be successful in whatever you are aiming for.
So many people failed and led ultimately successful lives because they realized failure isn’t the worst thing in the world. They learned from each experience.
Oprah and Steve Jobs have been fired from jobs. In fact, Steve Jobs was fired from his own company! As you know, they were still able to climb the ladder to success.
Billy Joel failed at having a music career in his 20s and attempted suicide because of it. He was not successful at pulling off trying to poison himself. Can you imagine if he was? We wouldn’t have all the amazing music he made! But as you know, he has become one of the most successful singers of all time.
Proof That Failure Makes You Stronger
An individual with the ultimate tail of failing is Tee Marie Hanible, a woman who grew up in the bad part of Chicago.
In her teenage years, she was a drug addict, she got kicked out of school, she was in a gang, she had been shot. She eventually landed in the Marine Corps, only to be sent home before basic training because she was pregnant at 17.
Eventually, she would land in the Marines again and become the first woman to break many barriers there.
She runs a program for at risk youth, has won awards, been featured on magazines, and has been featured on the tv show American Grit.
Her book describes how many times she has failed, and then went back to try again. She had people in her life telling her she couldn’t do it.
But she did.
And she shows how pushing yourself forward, against all doubts can bring you confidence. Her book, The Warrior Code is truly inspiring, and I highly recommend it.
So don’t be afraid of failure. If these individuals did not fail, they never would have found their path.
6. Learn From Others Who Have Confidence
When I was in search of how to find confidence in myself, I decided to learn from people who I constantly saw being ridiculed and judged in the press and by other people.
It helped me a lot to understand what was going on in their minds, that such horrible things were said about them, but they kept doing their thing, and still smiling.
I turned to Ashley Graham, a plus sized model, and Mindy Kaling, an actress who did not look like other actresses.
Both have been harshly judged by their looks, but both have amazing success and seem really happy.
In both of their books, they talk about how they had to find confidence and not let the negativity get to them.
They both found their confidence in different ways but both became massive successes. Ashley is now a supermodel and Mindy writes and stars in tv shows and movies. Both of them struggled with confidence but ultimately found it.
Learning what made them confident helped me see new perspective on how to handle myself.
So I highly recommend to find a well known person you admire and find out how they are so confident, despite negative publicity (which EVERY celebrity and business person has had in their careers).
They all may seem confident, but they weren’t always that way.
Find out what makes them stand tall and practice their methods on yourself.
If you want to check out the books I read, here are the links:
7. Become Superman
No, I don’t mean literally.
Just steal his stance.
Your mind and body are connected.
Your brain delivers messages to your body, and in turn, your brain recognizes your physical cues because they are associated with how you are supposed to feel. And your brain will deliver the message to feel a certain way.
So change your physiology.
Stand up tall. Throw your shoulders back.
Do a Superman pose with your chin up for an instant boost.
Walk with confidence.
Your brain will get the message and give you an instant confidence boost.
8. Treat Others Well
When you treat others kind, it isn’t because it’s what they deserve, it’s because it is who YOU are. Help out others because you can. Because you are that kind.
When you are kind to people, even to those who don’t deserve it, you KNOW you are a good person.
When you know you are a good person, there is nothing anyone can say that will bring you down.
Because why should it? You know you are a good person. They just don’t know you as well as they think.
So be a good person and be kind, and it will give you a confidence boost just knowing that.
9. Build Your Body
You have heard me say that our body and mind are connected.
When you build your body physically, your brain knows you are strong, but it doesn’t differentiate between physically or mentally strong. It just knows you are strong.
So I highly recommend to build your body and physical strength to boost your mental strength.
Here is an example of what I mean:
I was in an abusive relationship. About a year before I left him, I got a new, very physically demanding job. I slowly grew physically stronger and had actual muscles you could see. Eventually, my mind caught up and I began to believe in myself more because I knew I was strong physically. I began to feel more confident and powerful.
The last time he put his hands around my throat to choke me, he regretted it. And if you read How to Forgive Others Who Aren’t Sorry, you know he never did it to another woman after me.
I owe it all to getting physically stronger, because it made me feel more confident, capable, and overall just feel better about myself.
So I highly recommend to exercise and build your body to find more confidence.
10. Always Keep Learning
I think one of the best ways to feel more confident is to continuously grow your mind. Learn everything you can.
Have you ever started a new job, and felt overwhelmed and not confident you could do it on your first day? What happened?
They trained you and you got better at it!
After a while, you became an expert at your job duties.
It just took training and consistently learning more about it. After a while, you most likely were very confident in your ability to do your job and even trained others on your tasks.
This is confidence. You need to learn it. Grow into it.
You do this by training yourself and your mind.
First, figure out what you want to be confident at and why. Public speaking? Standing up for yourself? Your job? Finances? Your body image?
Then research everything about it. Read books on the subject. Follow role models (like I mentioned earlier) to see how they do things.
If it’s your body image, find books on healthy eating and exercising, or self help books to change your mindset.
Learn everything you can about it until you understand the steps you need to take.
With the knowledge, you will be confident.
To be honest, I needed help with every single area, because I was a mess.
Besides the books I mentioned in this article, the biggest thing that helped me was Tony Robbin’s Ultimate Edge program (Find it Here) that I listened to on my phone when I was exercising, walking, or cleaning. It transformed my mind and got me to where I could feel confident in everything I was doing. I took the chance, invested in myself, and it is ultimately how I had the strength to put myself out there.
So I highly recommend to always keep learning.
Confidence Bonus Tip
You will never become confident if you are around people who constantly criticize you and tell you that you aren’t good enough.
So as much as it may hurt, as close as you have always been to them, you may need to back off from them and allow others in your life who build you up instead of tear you down.
I know how hard it is to back off from the people you have always been closest to, who constantly make you feel like crap.
But it will be the best thing you can ever do for yourself.
Because no matter who you are, you deserve better.
Finding Confidence in Yourself
I don’t care who is reading this, you deserve to be confident.
You deserve to know that you bring a special gift to this world.
I went from not being confident at ANYTHING to un-apologetically sharing my story with the world, KNOWING some people won’t like what I have to say.
And you can be the same way.
Good luck and know that you deserve to be as confident as anyone else.
The only thing holding you back from having self confidence, is how you decide to move forward.