The first step involves getting yourself ready for your journey to self-confidence. You need to take stock of where you are, think about where you want to go, get yourself in the right mindset for your journey, and commit yourself to starting it and staying with it.
In preparing for your journey, do the following things:
Look at what you’ve already achieved:
Relive your life so far, and list the ten best things you’ve achieved in an “Achievement Log.” Perhaps you came top in an important test or exam, played a key role in an important team, produced the best sales figures in a period, did something that made a key difference in someone else’s life, or delivered a project that meant a lot for your business. Put these into a smartly formatted document, which you can look at often. And then spend a few minutes each week enjoying the success you’ve already had!
Take a realistic look at who you are:
Use a technique like the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats [SWOT] Analysis to take a look at who and where you are. Perhaps reflecting on the list you prepared above and reflecting on your recent life, think about what your friends consider to be your strengths and weaknesses. From these, think about the opportunities and threats you face. Make sure that you enjoy a few minutes reflecting on your strengths!
Think about where you want to go:
Setting and achieving goals is a key part of building self-confidence. To do this effectively, you need the big picture of where you want to go in life. See our article on goal setting for one approach to this. Inform your goal setting with your SWOT Analysis. Set goals that exploit your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, realize your opportunities, and control the threats you face. And having set the major goals in your life, identify the first step in each. A tip: Make sure it’s a very small step, perhaps taking no more than an hour to complete!
Start managing your mind:
At this stage, you need to start managing your mind. Learn to pick up and defeat the negative self-talk which can destroy your confidence. And learn how to use imagery to create strong mental images of what you’ll feel and experience as you achieve your major goals – there’s something about doing this that makes even major goals seem achievable! And then commit yourself to success!
The final part of preparing for the journey is to make a clear and unequivocal promise to yourself that you are absolutely committed to your journey, and that you will do all in your power to achieve it. If as you’re doing it, you find doubts starting to surface, write them down and challenge them calmly and rationally. If they dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great. However if they are based on genuine risks, make sure you set additional goals to manage them appropriately. Either way, make that promise!