Certain situations can cause even the most confident people to feel a sudden sense of dread; hardly anyone is going to feel confident and comfortable in every scenario. This year almost a third of us Brits made it our New Year’s resolution to be more confident, according to research by Swinton Group, the UK high street insurance broker.
While the thought of starting a new job could be a nerve-wracking prospect for one person, entering a crowded party may cause another’s heart to pound. Swinton’s research found that nearly two thirds (63%) of Brits are confident doing things alone, like eating in a restaurant by themselves, but only a third (33%) feel the same about going on a first date, and just over half (52%) about attending parties.
But don’t fret. There are some simple tried and tested methods to take control of these tricky situations and nagging doubts. Gill Hasson, author of Confidence Pocketbook, is an expert in tackling confidence and self-esteem issues and has shared her top tips to try out:
Walk Before You Can Run
Confidence doesn’t come straight away, but there are ways you can gradually build your self-esteem one step at a time. By taking small steps, you’ll set yourself up for constant success by achieving regular goals. Every time you successfully complete a small step, you’ll convince yourself that you are able. This could be something as simple as introducing yourself to someone new next time you’re at a party, if you have trouble speaking to people you don’t know.
This strengthens your belief that you’re capable, and encourages you to believe you can beat your inner doubts.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Start by defining your comfort zone. When you’ve highlighted what situations you’re comfortable with, you can outline your first steps to breaking out of the familiar.
Say you’re after the confidence to eat alone at a restaurant, a good first step would be spending 15 minutes in a café alone. Once you’ve got used to doing that by yourself, you’ll feel more confident going to a restaurant by yourself.
Sometimes all it takes is courage. Instead of ignoring feelings of fear and doubt, acknowledge and accept them. Say to yourself “I’m feeling scared”, but “I know I can do this,” and draw on your inner courage.
For many people the thought of public speaking makes their mouth go dry. In these situations, one way to gain confidence is by overriding negative thoughts with self-assuring ones. The next time you have to speak in public, try overruling nerves by remembering compliments you’ve received.
Act “As If”
In situations where you’re less comfortable, think how you would act if you were feeling confident, then try and act as this confident person in your head. This isn’t about acting like something you’re not, or someone else entirely, it’s about acting the way you’d like to if it weren’t for lack of confidence. This technique can work really well in job interviews. When answering questions, try imagining you’re the most confident person you know, and this should shine through in your responses.
Confidence In Making Decisions
Making confident decisions in your job, home life or personal finances comes from understanding and planning. Although we often seek the advice of family or friends for personal issues, questions on things like insurance, buying a new home, savings or changing careers should be taken to the experts, like financial advisors or career coaches.
When it comes to big decisions like these, it’s normal to feel a little wary but speaking to those who are specially trained to help can give you the boost you need – they will have some real pearls of wisdom for you.
Learn From It
After a situation where you haven’t felt fully confident, take time to reflect on what went well and what could have gone better. Highlight when you felt most and least comfortable, and that way you’ll know what to focus on changing next time.