Confession: When I first started working for the student newspaper during college, I’d sometimes have a crisis of confidence. During staff meetings, I’d look around the room at my fellow reporters and think, “What’s their secret? What do they know that I don’t? How can they possibly be so calm all the time?“
I even found my lack of confidence spilling over into my college classes. I went out to lunch with my mom after one particularly tough first day. I just knew that I was bound to fail the history of journalism.
“I can’t do this,” I told my mom, my voice breaking a little as I tried to keep it together in the restaurant.
“That’s not how I raised you,” she replied matter-of-factly. “Look at everything you’ve been through. College? You can do this!“
And I did, my mom’s words always in the back of my mind. Over the years, I’ve continued to build up a “reserve” of self-confidence. Here are the 7 steps that have worked for me…
1. Find your passion: That’s where all the confidence starts, at least for me. Once you find something you’re passionate about and start to see yourself succeeding, the entire world looks different. Maybe your inner artist is just waiting to come out or maybe your inner movie buff is itching to pen a review column. One of the best things about passions is that they can change; I like to think that my passions will grow with me over the years so there’s always room for new discoveries.
2. It’s not always about the big moments: Sure, it’s an amazing feeling when you accomplish something monumental, like landing a job promotion or seeing your work published, but don’t overlook those seemingly “insignificant” moments too. Reaching a goal, no matter the size, is something to be celebrated.
3. Shut out the critics: There will always be people who try to bring you down. Maybe they’re unhappy with themselves. Don’t let them rain on your parade.
4. Tell that inner critic to shut up: Sometimes, that person who tries to bring you down is, well, you. That voice can be deafening, can’t it? It plays with your mind like a fiddle and makes you second guess everything. It may tell you that you’re not worthy enough or pretty enough or perfect enough. Watch out! It’s easy to fall into those web of lies and believe them.
5. Fake it ’til you make it: A psychiatrist told me this while I was struggling with depression a few years ago. At the time, I didn’t believe it, but now, I can see the importance of positive thinking. Put your best face — and mindset — forward. Don’t believe me? I’ll just let one of my Pinterest board do the talking.
6. Surround yourself with positive people: Good vibes are contagious. I picture them flying around, just waiting to be scooped up. And have you ever noticed how a Debbie Downer can put you in a seriously negative funk. Happy people will make you happy. It’s as simple as that.
7. When in doubt, talk it out: Obviously, I’m a pretty big fan of this one. When it comes to working through issues, the power of talk can be an amazing tool. You could even stand in front of the mirror and compose your own Stuart Smalley speech.
The moral of today’s lesson, friends: You are enough. Don’t ever forget that. Have you struggled with self-confidence issues over the years? What have you learned? Any tips you’d like to share? We’re all here to help each other, so let’s get to sharing, shall we?!?!? xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]