I grew up with the phrase "Fake it ‘til you make it.” As a young woman, I regularly witnessed my mother enter situations that were far beyond her comfort zone in order to command her place in the world. As I grew older, I realized "faking it" is often the only way to get anywhere in life. As you do so, your confidence grows. And that will get you far; much farther than you’d get waiting to build up the courage you act. Confidence allows you to be your most authentic self and float through life as someone special — because that’s exactly what you are!
But how do you make it?
First, you fake it. The “making it” part is where the real work comes in. Eventually, everything falls into place. Most struggle with confidence at some point in their life, but that’s common. It can be developed. According to Psychology Today, “Confidence is not an innate, fixed characteristic. It’s an ability that can be acquired and improved over time.” There is a process you can follow. Ask yourself specific questions to become aware of what is holding you back. What do you need to do to become the person you want to be?
What results do you want?
You want to have more confidence. What else? Do you want to be noticed? Do you want to be an example to others? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of those around you? Or do you just want to feel better about who you are and what you can do? Once you can answer those questions — once you know what you want — faking it can begin. It requires curiosity. It requires taking chances and making changes to produce the boost you need to move towards your goal.
Get a new outfit and wear it with pride. Buy yourself a new car to race around in. Get a puppy and take it to the park for everyone to adore! Get some new exercise equipment and push yourself towards your fitness goals. These are great ways to boost confidence temporarily, but they won’t allow for long-term changes. You are just giving yourself a boost to start.
What behaviors increase confidence?
At a work meeting, do you sit quietly in the back and keep your opinions to yourself? At the gym, are you afraid to try new equipment because someone might see you doing it wrong? Are you trying out new things that are hard to do? Or are they too challenging or embarrassing? Are you afraid of success or failure? You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone! Speak up in that meeting and make your presence known. Sign up for a public speaking course and put yourself in front of a crowd. Do this often; it takes practice and consistency. Do what challenges you, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Change the behaviors holding you back and you will start to see results. Try things like:
- Expressing gratitude regularly
- Increasing your activity level
- Speaking with others often
- Becoming spontaneous
- Setting consistent goals
- Implementing creativity often
- Making new friends
What is your potential?
Having confidence opens up a whole new world of opportunities and potential. Think about what your potential could be. You could invent new products, run a triathlon, own your own business, marry the person of your dreams, become famous, or travel the world! Is your potential locked away inside? One way to unlock new possibilities in your life is by learning something new. Enroll in a class, read a motivational book, or learn a new skill. Each time we acquire a new skill, we discover new potential. Little by little, this translates into eventual confidence.
Do your current beliefs promote confidence?
Now you’re getting closer to solid and lasting change. Say you wanted to run a marathon but you don’t believe you are good enough. Maybe, when you were in elementary school, you lost a class race around the track. You may not have the confidence needed to run marathons if you hold on to that. But if you recognize your distrust might be holding you back—and you work to change that belief—who knows how well you might do? Start running and find out! When you trade limiting beliefs for new ones altogether, you work towards increasing your overall confidence.
What values are keeping you from being confident?
Values run deep. They’re how we perceive our behaviors and others’ behaviors. Values are a driving force; they represent how we spend our time and energy. Sometimes priorities can conflict with our desired results, however. For example, if you are trying to lose weight but value your time more than the food you eat, you may choose fast food over cooking. You aren't likely to lose weight that way. Your time is simply more valuable than your weight loss. Question your patterns to determine what’s standing in your way. An example of that dialogue might look like this:
Q: Why do you eat fast food instead of healthy food?
A: Because it's quick and easy.
Q: Why don't you like food preparation?
A: I work a lot and have kids and a home to take care of. I don't have the time.
Q: Why don't you exercise more?
A: When I have free time, I like to rest or hang out instead of exercising.
This person values their time and relaxation more than losing weight — and that isn’t a bad thing! If you believe meal preparation helps you lose weight, however, you’d naturally reprioritize doing so instead of resting. Your internal dialogue would need some adjustments as well. Consider the following: Food is fuel for my body, and for it to function, I must give it healthy nutrients. Then I will have the time and energy I need. A little effort once a week will make the rest of my life go more smoothly. This same thought process works towards building confidence. Are you valuing other things more than becoming confident? Would you rather stay comfortable with knowing what you already know than getting out of your comfort zone? Would you prefer not to get embarrassed than take the steps you need to grow? Are your values in line with the growth confidence can bring? What are you willing to do or to sacrifice to achieve the confidence you need to succeed?
What do you believe about yourself?
Overcoming a lack of confidence lies deep within how you answer these questions: Who are you? How do you see yourself? How do you describe yourself to others? As a particular gender? As an employee, boss, friend, or parent? As a snowboarder, writer, hiker, swimmer, or foodie? As outgoing, shy, introverted, successful, mediocre, prosperous, or poor? How do you perceive yourself? How is self-talk keeping you from your goals? Do you see yourself as insignificant or incapable? Whatever your answers are, try thinking of yourself as attractive, intelligent, and capable. Making a shift in how you see yourself will create the most remarkable changes of all. How you identify will have a ripple effect that will lead you towards the result you desire: to have confidence. This might take some time. In the meantime, fake it ‘til you make it!
“Confidence.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,
www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/confidence. Web. 05 June 2021.