10 things that have helped to grow my self-confidence.
You've seen your favorite singer engaging thousands of fans at a live concert. Have you ever wondered how they did it? You've seen your favorite sports person collecting medals after medals. Have you ever wondered how they did it? You've seen hundreds of women competing for the title of miss universe and miss world. Have you ever wondered how they did it, with such confidence, boldness, and class? Every day we see people out there doing what they need to do. To some, it may seem effortless but it's not always an easy feat. I've listened to many motivational speakers and I've done quite a few readings on how to become more confident, but the truth is with all the advice that I've garnered from these people. It all comes down to one person, and that person is me.
'' Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.'' Helen Keller
We all have our insecurities! How many times did you fall off your bike before you started riding it without the training wheels? How many times did you spoil dinner before you finally agreed to cook at a large family gathering? How many times did you scratch the car when you were learning to drive? I could go on, there are so many things that you had to do repeatedly until you got them right, and there was a reason why you kept trying. It's because you believed in yourself.
Those were the little things that boosted your confidence, even without you knowing. Those little promises that you made to yourself. I'll get it right next time! Those little moments when you chose endurance over giving up. They are what led to the big things. The next time you see someone doing what they do best, don't think that they were born prepared for it. It took them time to get there. The most influential life coach or motivational speaker is of no use to you, if you can't see the potential that they see in you. It's up to you to believe that you can do whatever is set before you. There isn't anyone that can make you believe in your abilities; if you don't believe in yourself. I've had my struggles with self-confidence growing up. Today, I've advanced from a girl who wouldn't raise her hand to answer a question in a class of fewer than fifty people to an author reaching hundreds of people worldwide. Below I'll share ten things that helped to grow my self-confidence.
1. Internalize positive affirmations.
Don't just say that you are strong! You are enough! You are beautiful, etc because it feels good to say so. You must internalize these affirmations until they become a part of you. An affirmation is like a seed that you plant in the soil. It needs sunlight, water, and air to survive. Over time the seedling will grow to maturity and produce fruits of its kind. Before the seedling reaches maturity. It may encounter some challenges and if it's not rooted properly the harsh elements of nature will annihilate it. Always believe in yourself. Remain anchored! For even if no one believes in you. The most important element is already in your support system. That person is you! Like the seed, the affirmations that you plant in your life will mature in time if you internalize them and they will manifest themselves when you are faced with the pressures of life. Pain disappointment, stress, discouragement, etc.
2. Ask questions if you don't understand what you are being asked to do.
It's okay to say that you don't know. There isn't anyone that knows everything. Don't make yourself look stupid by assuming that you already know what to do. Ask questions. Get a clear understanding of what you are being asked to do. If you don't have a clue what to do, ask for an explanation or a demonstration. As a senior representative, I always ask my superiors about an assigned task before I get it done. It's not that I don't always know what to do, I just want to ensure that I do exactly what they need, not what I think they need. Always be open and willing to learn.
3. Public speaking.
Public speaking has helped my confidence tremendously. I've had the opportunity to speak to large audiences at my local church. At first, I was timid and I wanted to exit the stage as soon as I got on. I was terrified of hearing my voice over the microphone. I could hear my voice crack because I was so nervous. I would slip on words that I knew because my heart was beating too fast. My hands would shake like a leaf in the wind. I was always terrified of all those eyes staring at me, but I did what I had to do. There were times when I didn't execute well, but it got better having done the same thing on multiple occasions. Church and school are great places to grow your public speaking skills. If you should get the opportunity to address any of these audiences I would encourage you to seize it. I've benefited greatly from reading announcements and praying over the microphone at church. Another thing that can help to grow your self-confidence through public speaking is going live on social media, creating a YouTube channel or a podcast. These are great starters.
4. Own your voice.
Always be yourself! Your voice is your unique identity. Don't try to speak like someone else. You don't need to imitate anyone to get your message across. Be your true self. Let your voice be clear, distinct, and original. Not an impersonator! You don't need to sound like the president or someone who's of great influence to get someone to listen to what you're saying. Believe in yourself. Whenever I'm speaking or writing I do so in my voice. I'm not pretending to be someone else and I don't wish I was someone else. The voice you hear is mine.
5. Know your worth and practice what you preach.
Whoever you say you are that's exactly how people are going to treat you. Stay true to the values that you uphold. Don't send mixed signals to the public. Portray the character that you want them to see. I don't go against the principles I uphold. My speech, my deportment, my attitude in and out of public spaces speaks volumes about who I am as a person. It isn't hard to make people understand what you stand for. It isn't hard to let people understand what they should and shouldn't do around you. It isn't hard to let people know your worth. Practice what you preach! It's that simple, they'll get the message.
6. Doing interviews.
I've done several job interviews throughout my work life. Some I aced and others I just don't know what the heck I did. Regardless of the outcome, I'm glad that I was allowed to discuss a few things about myself. These sessions have helped to grow my self-confidence. Especially those that I did with top-level management. It's an awesome privilege to be allowed to convince someone that knows nothing about you that you're the right fit for the job. I'm also grateful for the interviews that I failed their feedbacks have helped me to do some things differently and they've played a huge role in the interviews that I aced.
7. Getting married.
I remember the day we got married. It was such a nerve-wracking experience to walk down the aisle. I remember how thrilled I was until the final moments when I had to get out there. All the jitters came on to me at that moment but I managed to shake it off as the ceremony went on. I can honestly say that our wedding day has helped to grow my confidence. It was a big moment. I had a critical part to play and I did well! Despite all the challenges, it turned out to be a beautiful experience. Whenever I think of something big, I remember our wedding day. It helps to strengthen my self-confidence.
8. Working in the customer service industry.
I've spent over a decade in the customer service industry. I've interacted with thousands of people from various professions and backgrounds. The customer service industry has improved my confidence on so many levels. It has drastically improved my communication skills and my knowledge base about the industry. I remember how nervous I was after making the first debt collection call. I remember how offended I felt when the customers were being constantly rude. I remember how customers would hang up in my ears. I remember not earning monthly commissions because I couldn't convince the customers to pay their bills or probe to find out about their other money sources. I remember going into coaching sessions for not meeting my targets. Over time, I got better at diffusing customers' dissatisfactions without the aid of a manager, making negotiations, collecting payments, and earning consistent commissions. Believe me, If you're timid, customer service will make you bold. It's a lot of talking, negotiating, and problem-solving.
9. Watching other people mastering their crafts against all odds.
There's this amazing program on Facebook called Born different. It features persons who have disabilities. Believe me, when you watch these episodes you don't see their disabilities. You see their courage, resilience, confidence, and determination. I've truly been blessed by watching these people owning their craft. Many of them have created YouTube channels to spread awareness and empower those who have similar challenges to theirs. If they can do so much despite the limitations that they have. What excuse do I have for not doing anything with my abilities?
10. Mirror conversations.
Call me crazy if you will but mirror conversations have improved my self-confidence. Sometimes I would picture myself in the mirror at an interview with someone of great influence, for example, the Prime Minister. I would create scenarios of the questions that they would ask me and I would respond accordingly. I would look at myself to ensure that my posture is correct, and I'm smiling. I would ensure that I'm maintaining good eye contact. I would also pace my words to ensure that I'm not talking too fast, or give the impression like I'm dying for this to be over. I'll also pay close attention to my composure to ensure that I'm appearing calm. Mirror conversations have helped me tremendously when I have a presentation or an interview. I've never done an interview or a presentation without doing a mirror conversation.
In closing, I hope that the above will be of great use to you. Remember that confidence isn't born overnight, it's a process. Keep working on yourself.
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