Chances are you believe in others more than you believe in yourself. You’re probably the first to encourage a friend to keep going because they have what it takes. But when it comes to encouraging yourself, it’s easy to shy away due to self-doubt. We need to fix that today.
So here’s the thing, right now as you’re reading this, I’m preparing myself mentally for the World Masters Games in Auckland starting tomorrow night with the opening ceremony at Eden Park.
I’m competing in two events, since they don’t have my favourite one. I’ll be running the 100 meter sprint and do Long Jump.
Now, this is what I know about my competition so far.
They come from all over the world. From Canada, France, Ghana, Egypt, India, Fiji, Japan, Australia, and of course New Zealand (including the national record holder in my age group).
I also know that a few of these guys have clocked faster times during this season than I have. This is not negative thinking, it’s a fact.
So going into these events I know that I will have to be better than my best has been this last season, in order to be a contender for any of the medals.
The easy temptation right now, for most people, would be to stay home. Give up. Don’t even go and waste your time.
The problem with that mindset is that once you’ve lost before anything has happened yet, you’ve already lost!
In order to show up and do well, I will have to take control of my mindset.
If I don’t control my thoughts, self talk, and emotions, my physical performance will suffer. There is no two ways about it. Any athlete will tell you this.
So my challenge is to go down to this world event (28,000 athletes participating in various sports – 2500 of those in track and field alone), and find a way to show up with enough self-confidence and self belief that will give me some shot at a great result. And I will have to do this a couple of times since I know there are only eight spots in the finals and we have a lot more sprinters than that.
The question now becomes, how do I do that?
And more importantly, what can YOU learn about developing self-confidence for YOUR situation from this?
He is the first thing I would say to you: It’s not fair to cheat yourself out of opportunities.
Having low self-confidence can cause you to lose out on awesome experiences. And you certainly don’t want that, do you?
I mean just consider the silliness of missing out on a great experience like the World Masters Games, that only comes around every four years, because my confidence failed me. Yet, that is what many people do. But now is the time to change that.
Now is a great time to start focusing on yourself and work on boosting your confidence. And the great thing about it is, it’s surprisingly easy to do.
Let me share with you a few simple steps that you can follow to boost your confidence and start believing in yourself. And who knows, perhaps even open the doors for enjoying many more experiences you couldn’t before.
Follow these 4 steps to boost your confidence and start believing in yourself:
Avoid hesitation. Self-doubt is often developed out of hesitation. And self-doubt is often the result of fear. Do you take a long time to act on an impulse? If you see an opportunity, does it take you a while to go after it? The longer you take to pursue something, the more reasons you’ll find for justifying your unsuitability for the opportunity.
Therefore, here’s what you do: Avoid “sleeping on it” if you can decide right away. Here, it literally is a case of, “you snooze you lose.”
For a self-doubter, delaying a response usually means losing the confidence to go after the opportunity. The longer you wait the more the chances you won’t follow-through which means you miss the experience or opportunity.
Do you think you’re not ideal for a new role you’ve been offered at work? Forget about that for a minute. Focus on the fact that you were actually offered the job for a reason! Do you believe you can’t get a certain contract? Forget about that, and just put in your proposal and see what comes of it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Challenge negative thinking. It’s easy to diminish self-confidence by harbouring negative thoughts. But before you accept negative thoughts about yourself as a reality, challenge the thinking.
Instead of accepting you’re not good enough, take a moment to think about the facts. Have there been instances which support your negative thinking? If the answer is yes, then remind yourself of your many positive experiences as well. Just be aware of the fact that your mind loves playing tricks on you. It will point out all the negative aspects about YOU relating to a certain thing, in order to get you to back off from pursuing that very thing. Why? Because your brain is designed to keep you safe and out of harms way, including perceived emotional pain.
Beware of thought patterns that can eat away at your self-esteem. Avoid looking at life as “black or white” and live in the grey area sometimes. You may not have one trait or another, but you could have the perfect combination of what you need for your life! And even if you don’t have a certain skill yet, there is no reason why you can’t develop, or attempt to, develop it. Competence always breeds confidence. So if you feel a lack of confidence, make sure to develop the skill or knowledge that will make you more competent. Consequently your confidence will grow.
Always be sure to differentiate between feelings and facts. Just because something makes you feel a particular way doesn’t mean there’s any fact in it.
Be kind to yourself. As someone who rarely displays self-confidence, you probably give yourself a hard time and consider yourself inadequate or ill-equipped. But when was the last time you were actually kind to yourself?
Spend some time each day highlighting your positive traits. Remind yourself what makes you “beautiful” or “great” inside and out.
Celebrate the small successes to help remind yourself that you’re actually more amazing than you give yourself credit for. There are many things that you do great. Your life and your results are not just made up out of failures. You also have plenty of successes, regardless how small they might seem to you. Remember, every success you consider insignificant, somebody else considers a major victory.
Try spending some time with positive people. Their energy rubs off quite easily! Avoid people who cuddle up with your stories with you, or worse, give you more reasons to embrace your self-doubt. They are not doing you any favours. If you find someone who gives you some tough love, stick with them. They won’t swallow your BS and remind you to not either.
Learn to listen to and accept compliments. Most of the time when people say nice things about you, they mean it! Take the time to really hear what positive things are being said about you. Absorb the thought and believe them!
If someone says you’re beautiful, believe them!
Spend some time listening to the kind things said by others. And remember to say thanks each time. It helps to cement the positive thoughts in your mind.
My wife and I will leave for Auckland over the next couple of days, and I will take with me all the confidence in the world.
Am I nervous? Heck yes! Who wouldn’t be!?
But I’m not nervous about failing. I’m excited about representing my country, New Zealand, on some type of world stage where I get to enjoy competing against other awesome guys doing the very same thing.
It’s time to make new friends. It’s a time to enjoy health because many people my age are either dead or can’t run any more even if they wanted to.
So really, it’s a time to enjoy life, be grateful, and go hard.
Allowing a lack of confidence to take this for me will be a shame.
With this said, I want you to challenge yourself over the next month.
During the next 30 days, be patient with yourself.
Consider each of the tips above on a daily basis, and gauge how you are applying them to your real life. And gradually, as with anything else, practicing self-confidence will become second nature.
Hopefully in no time, you will also see the world is in the palm of your hand. And you’ll hear every opportunity calling your name. Aren’t you excited for that time?
Start building your confidence now and soon it will be yours forever!
If you have any comments or questions, as always, please leave them below because I love hearing from you.
To your success,