How to Build Confidence

I published my book, Your Authority Problem, this week. I’m very pleased with the interest it’s receiving so far. One of the main pieces in the book is about how to build confidence. When we fail to take that first step, do that first deal, or make that first offer, it’s often because we fear failure. We fear what others will think of us and we fear the repercussions (losing money is one). One way to conquer that fear is to build confidence. But it’s easier said than done. Here are the ways you can keep Authority and build confidence.

Confidence from Ignorance

This way to build confidence works, but is the wrong way. This is the child who wants to repair his new computer so opens it up to find inscrutable wires and chips. He can do a lot of damage through ignorance, but because he doesn’t know any better, he has confidence to open that box up and tinker. Ignorance is the way to break things, but it does give confidence.

Confidence from Clarity

Take a minute when trying to build confidence, to think about why you need confidence. What are you planning to do and why? Maybe you want to ask your boss for a promotion and need confidence to walk into their office. Ask yourself why you want that promotion. Perhaps it is for a raise. Maybe for the prestige of a new title. Maybe you want more control in the company operations. Maybe you think more people will respect you. There could be any number of reasons for wanting this promotion, or a combination of them. Take the necessary time to determine exactly why you want to build this confidence. Now that you have your reason, you can build arguments why you are the one for the promotion. Once you have this clarity it becomes vastly easier to take the next step – walking into that office.

Confidence from Knowledge

Perhaps you want to learn to fly a plane. Before learning, you have no idea what controls what. You’d be terrified if you suddenly had to pilot the aircraft. You have to start with the basics, getting your education, and day by day, you will learn to fly. Your first flight will be with an instructor, who teaches you throughout the flight. Slowly your knowledge will build confidence. If you are trying to build confidence for anything else, learn everything you can about it. Perhaps you wish to make a great presentation but are worried about the questions you will get. Take the time to consider what questions will be asked. Educate yourself on the answers. Answer them to yourself and you’ll be ready. You’ll find yourself with much more confidence to nail that presentation.

Confidence from Preparation

Similar to knowledge, preparation is another way to gain confidence. When getting ready for that preparation, take extra time to polish the slides and handouts and practice your speech. Do this so much it becomes natural. That kind of preparation will do wonders to give you the confidence to give a great talk. Budget the time to prepare. In my world, I spend 1 whole hour preparing for each minute of presentation. That’s a huge amount, I know, but that includes thinking about the outline, finding images, polishing the slideshow, and rehearsal. You might think that your work presentation needs less – only if you aren’t planning to impress anyone. Build that confidence by being prepared. You owe it to yourself.

All of these things are very important, but remember to avoid the trap of analysis paralysis, where you spend all your time learning and preparing, but fail to take that last step. That’s for another post, though. Start building your confidence today.

Dr. Equity