There was this one time when I was in line at Wal-Mart.
It was late at night. Probably around Midnight or 1:00 in the morning. I was in my early 20s, and was in the prime of my glorious party days. My buddy and I left this awesome house party we were at to go on a beer-run. Someone’s gotta do it, right?
I’m in line behind my friend, and in front of us is this really beautiful girl. From first glance, she looks about the same age as us, maybe slightly older.
I’ve never really been the “Hey babe, what’s up?” type, but my buddy surely was. He didn’t disappoint.
“Uhh, hey there.” He says, tapping her on the shoulder.
“Yeah…..hi.” She says extremely enthusiastically.
Now, I’m standing in line behind my buddy, pretty much minding my own business and trying not to laugh out loud in his face or anything.
My pal, leaning next to her shoulder: “Hey, I think you’re really cute. Would a little chat hurt?”
She goes on the attack!
“Listen, can you and your ugly friend just leave me alone?”
………………whoa whoa whoa! What the fuck lady!?
Here I am, minding my own business, not saying a word to this woman, and the next thing I know I’m being called ugly?
I just got called ugly…..at 1:00 in the morning…..at Wal-Mart.
If that doesn’t just obliterate your Confidence, I don’t know what does.
As a kid, I didn’t have much Confidence or Belief in myself growing up. It stemmed from the environment around me. My mother was fantastic, but my father never made me feel good about myself. He was constantly overly critical. He always made me feel like, no matter how much I tried or how well I thought I did, it wasn’t good enough.
It was especially bad with soccer, as that was where he and I spent most of our time together. He’d say things like, “Well, you did play ok today, but you could have done this this this this this this, and that, but also this this this this this and this better. You need to go work on those.”
Nothing was ever enough. I was never going to amount to anything. I had no chance.
Years of going through that inevitably ended up creating a voice inside my head:
“Why even try?”
“What’s the point?”
“You’re not as good as them.”
“It won’t work out.”
As I got into my mid-late twenties, and started to really get going with my passion and my career as a Personal Development Coach, that voice inevitably threatened to derail my dreams:
“They’re not going to like your work.”
“It’ll probably fail.”
“Why would anyone listen to me? Who am I?”
“These ideas are no good. They never are.”
“I won’t be able to make a living doing this.”
Listen…….you’re not alone. Every single person on this planet has, and has had, moments or long periods of time when their Confidence just wasn’t there. That’s one of the many inevitable aspects of being human.
Nowadays, my Confidence is infinitely higher than it ever used to be. I’ve learned how to really believe in myself unconditionally, in everything that I do. It’s definitely made the difference in the quality of my life.
If you’re here, maybe you’re where I used to be and your Confidence is non-existent. Maybe you’ve already started to make the climb, your Confidence is growing, and you just need a little extra push. Whatever the reasons are, here are some things I did to boost my Confidence and really get myself to a point where I felt incredible about myself and what I was capable of:
1) Let yourself Acknowledge & Appreciate your Talents & Abilities.
There’s something about you that you can do great. Maybe you have a talent for online video games. Maybe you’re an incredible artist. Perhaps you’re known as “cupid” amongst your friends because of your ability to get two people together.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has things about themselves that they’re talented at, or have an ability to do.
Do you give yourself the chance to really acknowledge and appreciate it? If you don’t think you have any talent or ability, I’m willing to bet that you do, but that you don’t allow yourself to recognize it.
Well, now’s the time to change that.
Do this simple exercise. Get out a piece of paper and write down all of the things you know you have a talent for. Right down everything you have great ability at, no matter how small it may seem to you. Read them aloud, 5 times for each one. Feel how good that feels to acknowledge and appreciate those things.
2) Stop comparing yourself and your life to everyone else and their life.
I did this for way too long. It’s so ridiculous, it’s mentally draining, and it’s a huge Confidence destroyer. Ask yourself this: “Does it really matter what someone else is like, or if their life is in a different place than mine?”
It’s so easy to get caught up in worrying about others – How far ahead they are in life compared to you, how much bigger their salary is compared to your salary, how much better their body is, how much more charismatic he is compared to you, how much better her skin tone is compared to yours, and the list goes infinitely on.
The more you put your focus on others, the less you put your focus on yourself. When you give control of how Happy and Confident you feel to someone or something other than yourself, you immediately lose control of the ability to feel Happy and Confident any time you want.
Put the focus back on you. Give yourself control. Making comparisons to others only creates doubt and uncertainty about yourself and your life. By staying focused on you, you keep control over your own Happiness and your own Confidence.
3) Stop beating yourself up so much. Stop being your own worst critic.
There’s going to be plenty of people out there in the great big world that will tell you you’re no good, that will tell you to just give up, and that will always be a hater. You don’t need to amplify it by helping them out.
Can I let you in on a little secret?
You’re a human being. And, being a human, you’re imperfect. You WILL make mistakes.
And, guess what? It’s ok.
When you sabotage yourself by beating yourself up and being overly critical on yourself, it’s like taking a golf club and smashing your Confidence into little tiny pieces. If you make mistakes, or if you fail, or if you’re not happy with who/where you are in your life at the moment, just simply acknowledge it, be honest about it, and make a commitment to improving it.
There’s a huge difference between being hard on yourself and being honest with yourself. Being honest doesn’t require you beating yourself up.
4) Take in what makes you feel good about yourself and filter out what makes you feel bad about yourself.
Remember that voice inside your head we talked about earlier? Every day, it’s your responsibility to listen to it closely and pay attention to what it’s saying to you. If it’s saying mean, awful, dis-encouraging things, change the voice to something more empowering. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this.” change it to “I WILL do this!”.
If you constantly tell yourself that you’re a no good, worthless, always-gonna-fail piece of shit, then guess what? That’s exactly what you’re going to think you are.
If you constantly tell yourself that you’re a winner, that you’re an achiever, and that you can take on anything that comes your way, then that too is exactly what you’re going to believe.
Someone say something hurtful? Fuck it. Ignore it.
Get a bad review on one of your pieces of work? Who gives a shit. Move on.
Whatever you hear, see, or do in your life that makes you feel Great and Confident, absorb those things in. Anything that doesn’t, filter and block it out.
5) Stop letting your past dictate the here and now.
No matter who you used to be, no matter where you came from, and no matter what’s happened to you previously in your life, it has absolutely no bearing on the here and now.
In the present moment, you always have the ability to rewrite history and create an open future. Let go of the past, so that you can start again fresh and new. Whatever identity you hold of yourself based on the past, or whatever failings, misgivings, mistakes, and missed opportunities you experienced before in your life, learn to be completely ok with consigning them to the past where they belong.
Today is the day. You’re right here, right now. Who do you want to be? Go make that person a reality. You can.
6) Learn to see failure as a sign of progress instead of a sign of incompetence.
I have a motto: “If I’m failing more than you, I’m winning.”
I’m winning because, if I’m failing, it means I’m taking action. If I’m taking action, it means I’m getting a result. And, if I’m getting results, positive or negative, I’m progressing, learning, expanding, and growing.
Failure doesn’t have to define you. It’s not a reflection on what you’re truly capable of. It’s just a signal that, right now, you have something to learn. Take it as such. Failure will only dent your Confidence if you see it as a sign that you’re not good enough. That’s bullshit. It isn’t. The ironic thing is, the more failures you push through, the larger your Confidence becomes. It blooms like a flower through concrete.
7) No matter how far away you are from your goal, take action, no matter how small.
Your dreams are off in the distance. That’s where everyone’s dreams start off. You’ll catch up to them eventually, but only if you take action.
You can do all the planning and all the preparation you want, but if you never actually do the “Do” part, you’ll always stay right where you are.
Remember, taking action produces results, and results will bring Confidence, because with results comes progress, and it’s the act of knowing we’re progressing that makes us feel good about ourselves.
Ignore the distance between where you are and where your dream is. Just try your best to really enjoy the process. Little stones, built one on top of the other, eventually build monuments.
8) Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Frightened of skydiving? Scared of having that heart to heart talk with your significant other? Afraid of starting your own personal blog? Terrified of giving a speech?
It’s ok to feel the fear. Just push right through it and do it anyways.
One of the greatest things we can do for our Confidence is to accomplish things we were always afraid of trying.
9) Create an environment around yourself that breeds Confidence and keeps out doubt.
There’s a saying: We are the sum of the 5 people we surround ourselves with most.
What kind of people do you keep around you? Are they influencing you in a positive way, or are they disempowering you?
What kind of music do you listen to? Does it uplift you and make you feel good?
What kind of TV shows/movies do you watch? Is it depressing shit that makes you feel equally bad?
What kind of books do you read? Do you read books on Personal Development, Goal-Setting, and Achievement?
Think about the things that are surrounding you. What kind of environment are you creating or sustaining around yourself? The environment you’re in plays a very large part in whether or not you feel good about yourself going forward.
10) Have moments where you visualize yourself doing exactly the thing you’re lacking Confidence in.
Have a big meeting coming up? A big exam? A big game? Do you have to give a speech, maybe?
Every single night, when you’re in bed falling asleep, close your eyes and vividly see yourself doing the very things you want to feel more Confident in. Not only that, but see yourself doing them perfectly. This gives your mind an image to feed off of, and if your mind is being fed images of you doing, completing, and achieving, it will create the Confidence that goes along with them.
11) Acknowledge and reward yourself for the fact that, despite everything you’ve been through, you’re still here fighting.
You could have given up and thrown in the towel previously, but you didn’t. You’re still here, fighting. Allow yourself to acknowledge that. Give yourself the credit you deserve. Think back to the moments when things were incredibly tough and you still fought through them, which have you brought you to this point. Acknowledge the fact that you’re here reading this article, right now, looking for answers. You’re trying to improve. Isn’t that something to feel great over?
12) LOVE. YOUR. SELF.
Seriously. All that self-hate, self-doubt, or self-uncertainty you’ve built up over the years, stop it right now, damnit. Embrace everything imperfect about you. Me, I have a small spot on the top of my head where I’m starting to lose my hair. I’m 28, and I’m starting to lose my hair.
Fuck it! The hair I do still have is goddamn sexy.
I know I have weaknesses, and there are things about myself that, to this day, I’m still fighting to change. But, I KNOW I can change them. It will come. I absolutely can become a better version of myself.
No, not can. WILL. I WILL become a better version of myself. And, not just a better version, but the best version I possibly can be.
In the end, Confidence is choice. You can either decide to believe in yourself, or you can decide not to.
Think about it, though. Is there really any other choice? Is there really a better alternative?
Confidence is something you create from within you. It doesn’t come from outside sources. You don’t need a reason to feel Confident. You don’t need permission to believe in yourself. You can feel certain about yourself in any given moment you want to.
Just make that choice. In fact, write down this statement and say it to yourself every night:
“I’m absolutely Confident in who I am, who I can be, and what I can do.”
For 1 minute straight, repeat it, with feeling. Say it, and feel it. Do this every night, right before you go to bed, for a week straight. Come back and let me know how you feel at the end of the week. I’m willing to guarantee you that you’ll feel more Confident.
To that woman in Wal-Mart all those years ago who called me ugly, this article is my tribute to you. May you be married to the most incredibly beautiful narcissistic asshole alive.