Recently I was talking to a friend of mine about some financial questions she had. She was having a really hard time bringing herself to be confident and believing in her financial decisions. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I mean in my eyes she’s one of the smartest people I know, yet she just couldn’t get on board with her own financial plan. This got me thinking quite a bit, and brought me to today’s topic of discussion: Confidence. How confident we are in our abilities has always been fascinating to me, as it’s completely dependent on our past experiences. In today’s blog I’m going to explain some ways you can find confidence even if you’ve had a bad experience in the past, or are experiencing something for the very first time! Without further adieu, let’s get started with cultivating your confidence:
Expectations – Expectations are a bit of a confidence killer. We all have expectations of how we think a conversation will go, or how a situation will turn out. Sometimes those situations go exactly or better than we planned (confidence booster) but other times not so much. A great way to avoid suffering a set back to your confidence is to approach each situation with an open mind, and really try to not distinguish an outcome as “good” or “bad”. The way I think of it, is that there is no such thing as good or bad, just life experience. Whatever happens, happens. By allowing those expectations to take a back seat, you start to live in the moment. Soon you’ll realize you adjust to situations not the way you wish they were, but how they really are!
Perception – Tying into my last point of approaching situations with an open mind, is the ability to mentally take a step back from situations; this will allow you to tremendously build your confidence. How you might ask? Perception is everything. Remember, we all have a general idea of how we want a conversation or situation to go (expectations) and it’s when those expectations aren’t met that our confidence declines. Yet, being able to take a step back and remove ourselves from the situation at hand is when our confidence can regroup. Remember there are technically no “bad” situations; they’re only bad because that is your perception of them. Just because you didn’t get that job doesn’t mean you have anything to be less confident about. Concentrate and reflect on what happened, one or two things you think you could do better, and get back out there!
Application – To cultivate confidence you need to practice. Many times when we are less than confident in our abilities, it’s the result of situations that we are unfamiliar with. How can we help this? By putting ourselves in situations that might be re-occurring in our lives, and use those experiences as continuous trials. For example, in my everyday life, my work as a debt collector, real estate agent, and landlord all require some form of negotiation. Here’s the thing: I’m non confrontational, and hate it when people aren’t happy; so I certainly wasn’t confident in my negotiating abilities, and as a result was a terrible negotiator. So how did I get better at my negotiation skills? Through every day life I was always subjected to some form of negotiation (which often times I would avoid at all costs); yet, the more and more I put myself in those situations the more I became aware of my unique strengths in that area. It was a pure result of approaching negotiations with a malleable open minded expectation, having the ability to step away from the negotiation and see what the other party was saying/thinking, and me constantly being in those situations that allowed me to get much better at that skill set; which in turn cultivated my confidence.
Conclusion – I’ve said this a ton of times throughout the blogs in this site; but I’ll say it again for good measure 🙂 We are creatures of our environment there is nothing that we as a species cannot do. If you are less than confident with interviewing, resume writing, or even financial negotiations with a credit card company; practice, practice, practice. If you don’t get the outcome you were hoping for, don’t judge yourself based on your expectations. Take a step back, and see things how they really are; you’ll soon see your confidence grow as you become more comfortable in situations you never thought you’d be comfortable in! How do you cultivate your confidence? What are some ways you put things into perspective? Share your thoughts and comments below!