Constantly staying in the state of low self-esteem doesn’t help people to achieve great things. In most cases, that’s not the ingredient to perform better and achieve more in life. We all know that the opposite of low self-esteem – confidence – works way better in helping us to steer toward our goals.
I believe we all have the time when others see us as a successful figure in the industry but we see ourselves as failures, average, or simply not good enough. And that self-loathing feeling later affects our performance and productivity directly.
To break this destructive behavior, here are three steps to help you achieve confidence.
1. Accept Imperfection
The first step to breaking this disempowering behavior – default ourselves to negative emotional state – is to aware that nobody is perfect in this world. And then accept your personal weakness and imperfection as a part of you.
The good part of being self-aware is that you now have a clearer picture of what you’re weak at, at the same time what you’re strong or good at. With this, there are two things you could do:
• Take baby steps to improve your weakness if that particular skill is necessary for your personal and professional development, such as parenting or sales and marketing.
• Or the other way around – ignore what you’re weak at and focus on your strength. If you’re weak at public speaking, then get someone to be the face of your business, focus on your strength of management instead.
Regardless if you choose to improve or ignore your weaknesses, you’re now better off than not aware of them, or not taking action to fix them at all.
By accepting your imperfection and being self-aware, you will be able to have a clearer understanding of your priorities too. Knowing what is the most important to you at that particular moment and put full focus on it.
In life, we’re not perfect. At the same time, we can’t have it all.
2. Stop Comparing
One habit that kills our self-confidence is by constantly comparing with others. I used to do this a lot in school and during the first few years of my professional life. We compare our backgrounds, the cars we drive, the jobs we have, the incomes we earn, and much more. But what we don’t know is that comparison is a destructive behavior in many ways, simply because it makes no sense to compare.
You’re unique. You have different parents, different background. Grew up in a different city and have different circles of friends. Most importantly, we have different culture and ideas being passed down by different teachers in life. So, does it make any sense to compare anything in your life with mine? No. Even before that, what’s your definition of success? I’m sure it will be different from mine, and many others too.
One more thing, a comparison is just unfair, because most of the time, we’re comparing our worst with other’s best. We compare our failure with someone else’s success. What about failures the person went through that we’re not aware of? There are just too little information, experience and knowledge we can gain from others to make an accurate comparison.
3. Focus on Small Wins
Feeling low in self-esteem and super high in confidence is directly related to our emotions. Which mean, to solve the problem of feeling down and stay in the peak state most of the time, we need to master our emotions.
There’re too many articles telling us to set huge goals, and those becomes viral because they usually tie setting big goals with strong intensity of emotions – excitement and burning desire. But you and I both know that big goals and visions never come true in a day or two. Sometimes, they even never come true – when we found out that’s not what we really want in life.
I still believe in setting big goals, because a big enough goal will push us forward. But manage your emotions that attached to those goals wisely. Rather than feeling all the excitement about the new goals on the whiteboard in your office, later feel down about not achieving them. Let’s take that a step further.
Break your big goal down into smaller pieces, and then take mini actions to ensure you make progress. Remove the emotional attachment to your big goal. And be hungry to complete each mini action and celebrate every small win.
Our brain doesn’t differentiate the small win and the big win. Focus on small actions and celebrate every small win build up the momentum for us to get things done and take consistent actions instead emotional roller coaster we used to fall into without any control.
One more thing to remember: Be confident simply because you can be.
When asked most people why they feel good, they will find a reason for it, it can be that something good just happened – close a big business deal, hit a new PR in the gym, or just came back from a great trip. But what about asking people why they feel bad? It can be anything – just woke up, have too much free time (bored), or simply no reason.
So, why don’t we turn this around? We don’t really need any reason to feel good or confident. It’s hard to do so at first, people might think you’re crazy, but start practicing the 3 steps above from now – accept weaknesses, stop comparing, and focus on small wins.
You will find that feeling confident for no reason is not that hard after all.