I believed I had to had born confident. And I wasn’t, so why keep trying? How happy I am to have been wrong about that!
This post brings some exercises from the book “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What women should know”, and some lessons from my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions.
Start practicing these 8 keys activities and see how you feel a few weeks from now.
Actionable steps to build self-confidence
- When in doubt, ACT. Decide. What kills overconfidence is overthinking. Keep deciding, as if your life depends on it. If it helps, write down the consequences of your decision, and think through it with a rational perspective. What do you have to lose? Is probably less than you think.
- Fail fast. Learn. Keep trying. This process builds thicker skin. You’ll get more confident by trying, not from getting perfect on the first try. Perfection is the killer of great things.
- Take risks. Afraid of failing? So what! Do it either way. Confidence-boost is a habit. Risk keeps you on life’s edge. It keeps you growing, inspiring, and gaining confidence.
- Turn your fear into an ally. Fear is a powerful feeling. Instead of letting it stop you, can you imagine using that force to get you moving towards what you want?
- Break your big goals into small actionable goals. When facing big challenges, battle feelings of being overwhelmed by breaking them down. Something as simple as writing down a to-do list works.
- Practice self-compassion. When things don’t go as you expected, it’s the perfect moment to practice self-compassion. The central precept of self-compassion is that we should all be kinder to ourselves because doing so makes us healthier, more fulfilled, and more successful in the pursuits we choose.
- Name your inner negative voices. I started naming my negative voices: Judge Judy, Pam Planner. This helps me handle my cognitive distortions better. Once I identify who my voices are, I can say “thanks, Pam, but we’ll be fine!”. By the way, if your name is Judy or Pam, feel free to use my name for your voices :P.
- Start a Thought Record Journal. When you get yourself too overwhelmed by your cognitive distortions, add them to a Thought Record. Why does it work? It shows you that your thoughts are way less powerful than you think at first. Making them ‘real’ gives you an analytical perspective of the situation, and you realize it’s not that a big deal. Try it next time. Here’s a template to help you get started.
Somedays I have to practice them TWICE. But it gets easier every time 🏋️♀️.
Why does my brain try to sabotage me? 🧠
Nerdy as I am, I needed to understand why my brain was my biggest enemy.
Well, it turns out it’s because our brain hasn’t evolved as we imagine.
It still thinks we live in the wild, and it’s trying to save us from predators. So I learned that my brain was just excessively trying to protect me. There’s danger in doing different things.
Since our predators have changed, this protection is not well suited for our modern society anymore. If not recognized, our fear of getting out of our comfort zone can stop us from achieving great things.
Now that you’ve got this information, every time you get yourself doubting yourself, take it as an opportunity to be grateful for recognizing this moment and say:
Thanks, my primitive brain, for your concern, but I got this 💪
*I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding why women suffer more from lack of confidence, and how everyone can help solving this issue.
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