Confidence is self-trust. How far we trust ourselves decides about our results.
A former trainer of mine, Lester Karrass, famously said:
"In business and in life - you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate."
The less faith you have in yourself, the weaker will you negotiate. You will settle for little. We ask for what we feel we are worth.
People who lack confidence will neither ask nor get much from life.
I put together for your 8 simple tips that allow you to increase your confidence and start re-negotiating with life.
I will admit that the "simple tips" are a comprehensive collection of self-growth exercises. "Comprehensive collections of sometimes difficult exercises that require persistence and effort" was just too long for the headline (;
Perhaps I even smuggled 2 tips in 1.
Then again ... flashy one-liners rarely take you places. My guide has the potential to do something for you - if you allow it.
I have made a video version for you as well, in case you prefer that.
8 tips for more confidence, self-esteem & feeling of self-worth
1. I can afford to make mistakes (self-acceptance)
"I am good the way I am, even though I am not perfect."
Self-acceptance means to embrace yourself with all of your mistakes. The price question is: How can you implement a mindset of self-acceptance into everyday life?
I have an effective exercise for you, but it will take practice.
Think of something about yourself you strongly dislike and that bugs you regularly. It could be
- outwardness (a big nose, too much weight ...)
- features such as shyness, slow learning, huffishness
- other things like being unemployed, childless, lonely or poorly educated
You can use everything you dislike about yourself. And here comes the trick: Please say:
"Even though I .................... I am ok and right and worth the good things in life."
With "good things" I mean for instance: love, respect, abundance, recognition. The sentence reflects a fundamental fact of life that should be internalized to increase your feeling of self-worth - and achieve the results you want.
If only perfect people deserved the good things, nobody would deserve them. Because nobody is perfect. You're not. I'm not. The person you look up to the most is not. Richard Branson is not. Not even the Dalai Lama.
An example of a self-acceptance mantra:
- Even though I am shy and have trouble approaching people, I am ok as a person and right. I deserve the good things in life and I am worth them.
You can reword it. Your own words are the strongest. Just do not weaken the message.
Even if you would stop reading right now: Just by practicing this little exercise you already take huge steps forward.
2. I can grow (confidence)
Confidence is faith in yourself. It's the belief you can master hurdles, challenges and whatever else life throws your way.It's the belief that persistence, hustle and the right way of thinking enables you to achieve anything you set your mind to.
Confident people have faith in their abilities and their power to master familiar and unfamiliar situations.
They trust they can handle challenges that are in line with their current skill-set and also those that require skills they currently don't possess.
Maybe you want to take on a job that comes with a lot of responsibilities. Or you want to end a relationship, change jobs and you trust you have or can develop the skills needed to go through a hard time, painful break-up and such.
To have confidence means to have faith in your ability to grow as a person. That you can learn what you need as you go along. And that you may make mistakes, yes, even that it's an important part of the journey and source for learning.
Naturally, there are limits. I, for instance, could not become the youngest person landing on the moon.
But because I allow myself to learn and fail and grow, I have faith that I can achieve a lot of things.
Even things I never did before.
If you want to develop confidence, the best way is to grow. Prove to yourself that you can learn. This is also the learning goal of "Project Confidence
You could learn a new language or skill. But the best is to learn things related to your desires, goals, and needs.
Learn business skills if you want to start your own company. Learn communication skills and increase your EQ
if you want to meet a new partner.
Showcase that you can grow. Your confidence will grow with you.
3. I know myself (self-awareness)
"I know who I am and where I stand."
Self-awareness helps to stay calm and relaxed in a difficult situation. Self-aware people can act sovereign.
They handle negative feedback in a constructive manner. Also, they act more than they react.
When they consider something important they will make it a subject of discussion.
Why can they do it? Because they know:
- Who they are (self-understanding)
- What is important to them and
- They know their boundaries and if they consider behavior acceptable or encroaching
This knowledge leads to internal stability. If you have clarity, you are rock solid and can't be thrown off-track easily.
- Find out who you are
- Find out what is important to you and where you are willing/unwilling to compromise
- Define your boundaries. Decide what you will allow people in the future - and what not
You might find that these questions are difficult to answer. They are worth spending the time to look at them in-depths.
That leads to sovereignty.
4. I am real (authenticity)
"I am how I am and that is how I am."
The better we can accept and embrace who we are the more authentic we become. In combination with confidence and self-esteem, it allows us to show more and more often who and how we are.
Without being ashamed of ourselves and that we are how we are. It becomes easier to say: "What you think about me is your problem and not mine."
Authenticity directly results from self-acceptance. It works the other way around too. If I dare to show how I am, my self-acceptance will increase.
If this concept is frightening you, you can start out small. Start by showing the real you to a selective group of people you trust. Own your fear, weakness, mistakes, and things you wished were different. Talk about your feeling of shame and display your vulnerability
You quickly see that you feel a new dimension of connection with your counterparts. Showing vulnerability creates a connection that could not be deeper. But careful: Start with people you trust.
The more often you practice authenticity, the more you will learn to accept yourself.
Write a list of all the things you feel ashamed of. Put the demons on a piece of paper. That has a cleansing effect by itself.
Then sort the list from "less terrible" to "most terrible". Practice moving more and more items to the "less terrible" section. Admit how you are and accept it more and more.
In conversations, you will notice that many people deal with the same issues you do. Commonality creates connection and has a healing effect.
I will not lie to you. That takes guts and not everyone will appreciate you. But you will earn respect from the people that matter and learn to accept yourself which will lead to more power and happiness.
5. I accept my needs and am kind to myself (kindness, need-awareness)
"I deserve the good things in life."
We all have needs.
- The need for physical and emotional security
- The need for abundance and well-being
- The need for love, togetherness, and connection
- The need for freedom (of choices) and autonomy
- The need for success
Our needs are individual. For some people, freedom is of uttermost importance while others strongly need to socialize.
We are all different. But then again, not that different.
Having needs is not a problem. It only becomes a problem if we believe that we don't deserve the good things.
Many people have a hard time standing up for their desires, interests, and needs. They think they are not good enough, not worthy of them.
Here is the good news and difficult message: Only one person can give you permission to grab the good things. And this person is you.
I could tell you: "Hey, you're a wonderful person and you have my permission to pursue your goals and fulfill your desires."
But my permission is meaningless. The permission of your parents, partner, your boss is meaningless.
You and only you can give yourself permission. Because you also have to believe you're worth it.
Changing your feeling of self-worth will not happen overnight. It's a journey of many small steps, missteps, and steps back. But sometime you will arrive. The journey is rewarding like no other - you will reap the fruits of your work for the rest of your life.
The first step could be to listen to your needs.
- What do I need at this moment?
- Do I give myself permission to fulfill the need?
Try to reply more and more often "YES". Give yourself permission to go after the good things in life. More and more.
That goes hand in hand with:
"I treat myself like a good friend."
There is one more thing that helps us to increase our feeling of self-worth and genuinely accept us: kindness towards ourselves and self-care. It means nothing else than treating yourself with care and kindness. Just like you would treat a good friend. For instance:
- We speak to a friend with respect
- We listen to a friend without judging him
- We lift our friend and encourage him if something went wrong
- We tell him and show him that we like him
- We forgive him if he was a jerk, for we know that people are not perfect and everyone has bad days
That's how we should treat ourselves. With care and respect. Non-judgemental. Eye to eye. Without accusations and cruelness.
We empower and comfort ourselves in difficult situations and lift ourselves up. We allow ourselves to make mistakes or even be jerks sometimes. We forgive ourselves.
The easiest way to be kinder to yourself is to identify when you are not. You could write a journal, set a timer on your cell phone or use good old post-its.
Hold yourself accountable and track your progress.
- "I was kind to myself when I burned the sandwich today. Normally I would have insulted myself. But not today. Good job."
6. I consider my strengths (realistic self-assessment)
"I know what I can do and what I cannot do (yet)."
Difficulties with self-acceptance are most often related to our focus. You know about the half-full and half-empty glass. Even optimistic people can be cruel and unforgiving to themselves.
Every person has strengths and weaknesses. Ugly and pretty features. We have no problems accepting this duality in others.
Many of us focus primarily on our ugly spots. Our shortcomings, imperfections, and weaknesses.
Take off your glasses and put on a better pair!
You need glasses that allow you to not just see everyone else in a realistic light, but also yourself.
The first step is the realization that you are wearing glasses that make you look ugly. Glasses that prevent you from seeing your wonderful and pretty features.
The glasses have perhaps been built by signals from your childhood, past relationships - painful experiences of all sorts.
Every person has talents and strengths.
Your task: Switch glasses and go on a hunt. The hunt for what is great about you. A few questions that can help:
- When do I have self-limiting thoughts? For instance: "That's nothing.", "That does not count.", "Everyone can do that"
- What did I achieve in my life so far? And which features, skills have helped achieve it?
- What is dear to my heart? And which of my positive character traits does that point to?
- What do others compliment me on?
You can also take a minute at the end of the day and ask yourself: What did I do well today?
This way you focus on every achievement of yours. The small and the big.
7. I live my values (self-actualization/self-realization)
"I am true to myself."
Earlier you read how important it is to know who you are. Part of this is to know what is important to you because that provides you with inner strength.
It's not enough to know your own values. You also have to live up to them, live them and defend them. If we don't do that we will soon lose self-respect.
If I live my own values as good as I can, my self-respect will grow. It's important to live what is important to you.
But how do you know what is of crucial importance to you?
If I refuse to produce plastic waste, support Greenpeace and march against environmental pollution, "environmental protection" is one of my values.
If I take care of my loved ones each day, focused on making everyone's life as good as I can, "family" might be one of my values.
There are so many values. Tolerance, togetherness, fairness, autonomy, success, harmony ... and, and, and.
We all have values. But we are also confronted with situations that make us question our values. That tempt us to compromise or even give up on them.
It's only human to buckle from time to time - and to forgive yourself for it. It is even better to hold up your values and adjust your life accordingly. 100% is not always possible, but we should strive for it.
That is the way to go. How can I achieve that? Ask yourself:
- What is important to me?
- How does someone act who considers these things of importance?
Then try to bring your actions in line with your values and beliefs.
That enables you to look in the mirror and say with pride: "I am true to myself. I live according to my values."
8. I solve my problems (problem-solving competence)
"I take charge of my life."
People with a high level of self-esteem solve their problems. That does not mean they are invincible superheroes but that they attempt to find solutions to their problems. They are accountable. They don't put their head in the sand and wait it out.
They don't wait around for a hero to rescue them and make their problems go away.
They tell themselves: "Dang. That s .... and can't continue like that. Therefore, I will take action."
If you take care of your problems (starting with simple ones for quick rewards) your self-respect will increase. Because you are doing something for yourself. Because you are important enough to yourself to stand up for yourself and hold yourself accountable.
Starting with the problems that are simple and easy to solve: take care of your problems. One after the other. That creates confidence and self-respect.
Last but not least: Be patient
"I take my time and stay on it."
Yes, I know. This article has a lot of ideas. And each of them is ambitious and cannot be implemented in a day.
Therefore, one thing is important: Do not implement all ideas at the same time. Instead, pick a single idea and try it.
When you played with it for a while and it becomes a habit, pick the next one. As they say: "The longest journey starts with the first step". And every step brings you closer to the finishing line. It's tempting to change everything at once.
Sadly, lasting change does not work like this.
Patience, discipline, realistic expectations and persistence are key when it comes to making impactful changes. We must not forget that implementing new habits and beliefs requires our brain to change, remove neural pathways that do no longer serve us and replace them with new ones.
Therefore: Start small, stay on it, enjoy small successes. Change another small thing, continue to be persistent and enjoy your progress.
Repeat until the changes have become habits, automatisms.
Yes, that can take a few weeks and months. Things that crept in over the years cannot change in a day.
It's understandable that we want to make changes quickly. "Change your brain in 10 days" will not work, just as "lose 20 pounds in 3 days".
My advice is: Take the first step to more confidence, self-acceptance, and self-esteem. Enjoy the ride and you will see: It's worth it.
And this will help you: PROJECT CONFIDENCE