Whether you want to travel the world, climb the corporate ladder, or write your first novel, big dreams take courage.
Here’s how to boost your confidence and overcome your fears so you can live the life of your dreams, according to Katie C. Kelley, author of Career Courage.
Uncover Your Fears
Humans are hardwired to view change as threatening. We are creatures of habit, and people often prefer to remain stuck in misery than embrace the unknown.
As the old saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Overcoming that natural instinct requires genuine self-confidence.
But first, you need to understand your fears. On a scale of 1-5, one being never and 5 being always, rate yourself on the following statements:
- I take care of my physical and mental health.
- I understand how my thoughts and emotions affect me.
- When I encounter challenges and setbacks, I persevere.
- I deserve to achieve greatness.
- I feel comfortable expressing my opinions.
- The world is filled with infinite possibilities.
- I am eager to assume new roles and responsibilities.
- I take pride in my appearance.
Boost Confidence: Design Your Plan for Personal Improvement
Now it’s time to design your plan for personal improvement. List the three statements with the lowest scores and design a plan to boost your confidence in those areas.
For example, I used to be chronically insecure. I walked through the halls of my high school like a ghost. Then one day, I got tired of it.
I challenged myself to wear one thing that scared me—something loud, noticeable. I practiced looking people in the eyes as I walked through the halls, and built my confidence by flirting with waiters.
This one time I started a rumor about myself, just to see what would happen. You probably shouldn’t do that though.
It was a long time before I stopped caring what people think, but I enjoyed life a lot more during the journey.
A few more ideas:
- If you’re afraid of expressing your real thoughts, challenge yourself to have a political debate or express an unpopular opinion.
- If you don’t understand how your feelings impact you, record your thoughts and emotions during a typical day and try to figure out what triggered your moods.
- Not taking care of your physical and mental health? Start a healthy morning routine or a gratitude journal.
- Constantly criticizing yourself? Overcome your critical inner voice by writing down your inner dialogue. Then, replace toxic self-talk with a healthier message.
If you want to overcome your fears, here are a few tips for success:
- Make small changes. Don’t overwhelm yourself with one big change. Your action plan should include a series of small steps.
- Take it slow. To overcome powerful fears, expose yourself to them in controlled doses.
- Get help. Ask a friend or relative you trust to monitor your progress.
Play “What If?”
Scared to try something new? Try this exercise:
- Divide a document into three columns: Best Case, Middle Case, Worst Case.
- Describe your experiment in a brief paragraph.
- Envision doing the experiment and write down the best possible outcome, medium outcome, and the worst care scenario.
This exercise can help you prepare for any outcome. But no matter how your experiments turn out, you’ll gain a little more confidence every time you face a new challenge.