It’s been said that “actions give meaning to words.” After all, the small steps pave our path to success. Unfortunately, many of us lack the confidence to take the necessary actions to put our plans to work. Luckily, according to experts, building confidence isn’t as difficult as it may first appear.
In our quest to find out about the best ways to become more confident, we have spoken to three professionals who walk the talk. They have all persevered through adversity to become an authority in their respective fields. So how did they do it? Here are their tips on boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
Develop Clarity Of Purpose
According to the President of Blair Kaplan Communications and Founder of The Global Resilience Project, Blair Kaplan Venables, before building authority in your chosen niche, you must know your purpose. “It’s important for me to understand my purpose. I believe in myself when I believe in what I am doing and why I am doing it. It all starts with having an empowerment plan, which will help you build a path to thought leadership,” she says.
Knowing who you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it cultivates confidence. “When you are uncertain of your identity, your vision, and your purpose, you will likely find yourself acting from fear, which can quickly become an unsustainable practice,” Blair continues. “Begin by journaling to give voice to your ideas and desires. If an idea drops in, record it and send yourself voice notes that you can re-listen to and hear your truth.”
Spending time and energy on indecision will dim the power behind your purpose. The bodybuilder and CEO of The Sculpted Vegan, a multi-million dollar company that helps women build muscle without eating meat, Kim Constable, wouldn’t be where she is today had she been indecisive. “Decisions made from the heart without hesitation are always well rewarded in entrepreneurship,” Kim says. “I find that the best decisions I have ever made happened when I went with my gut instinct rather than a deep analysis of the situation.”
According to Kim, successful decision-making takes a great deal of confidence and the belief that whatever road you choose will be the right one. At the same time, your confidence will grow with each decision you take. “It’s a little like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you find the power to make those first few decisions, you’ll find that you start having more trust in your skills and choices.”
Act With Integrity
“In today’s business world, there’s no place for entrepreneurs whose behavior doesn’t match their words,” says the founder and CEO of Swank A Posh, a women’s fashion brand, Ebony Swank. “Always do what it is that you said you were going to do, and this is what builds credibility and authority in your niche. And once people realize that you have integrity, they will trust and respect you.”
At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with talking yourself up. “Any negative self-talk is a huge no-no when it comes to success. After all, you’ll never feel confident if you have to deal with negative self-commentary,” Ebony says. “I always say, ‘It’s important never to forget to treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.’”
Love Your Inner Critic And Learn From Her
While you should always be treating yourself with love, there are times when it’s also important to listen to your inner critic. Blair says that one can learn a great deal by paying attention to emotions. “Instead of trying to conquer your inner-critic and overpower the thoughts and feelings generated by her, listen to what she is signaling and showing you,” she says. “Be curious and engage in conversation through shadow work to learn and integrate those pieces of you that so often thwart your progress.”
While you can learn from your inner critic, it’s crucial that you don’t become overwhelmed by her. “It’s important not to give your inner critic too much power. By all means listen to her, but also keep your distance. Use your inner critic to serve you rather than hurt you. If you find that she is affecting your confidence levels, kindly ask her to step aside.”
Put Yourself Out There
Authority requires visibility. As your confidence expands and you find fresh ground, begin putting yourself out there. This is what Kim has done along her path to success. “Find podcasts that align with your niche, seek out publications in which you can offer advice, attend networking events, speak at local or online summits, hire a freelance writer to showcase your work in an alternate way – hey, why not even nominate yourself for a TedX talk,” she says.
The entrepreneurial journey can be an overwhelming one. The good news is that every successful entrepreneur started somewhere just like you, likely with a skill set similar to your own, or perhaps even less diverse. “There is a first time for everything for everyone, and it’s important to remember that every great journey begins with a single step,” Ebony says. “Aim for small wins, implement a confidence-building strategy that works for you, and before long, you’ll look back in awe of how far you’ve come.”