Finance Confidence Busters And Boosters – Take Your Pick

Debunk some confidence mythsIf I had more confidence I could do anything.Confidence is not the most important factor in achievement. You also need competence, skills and knowledge.If I had more confidence, I would never feel uncertain, apprehensive, despondent or full of self-doubt. Those emotions pop up without invitation, but a confident person is not deterred by them.Some people just have it.Confidence is developed by trying new things, solving problems, overcoming challenges and seizing new opportunities. And not giving up if the first attempts don’t work out.What undermines self-confidence?In childhood, parents or people in authority may have ‘programmed’ you to have little belief in yourself and your abilities.The media and especially social media also have a destructive influence on confidence. They impose standards for appearance and behaviour that are impossible to achieve for many young people, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Any form of abuse, for example, bullying at home, in romantic relationships, in schools or the workplace, undermines their victims’ sense of self to such an extent that they end up feeling utterly useless, incompetent and helpless.You may even get to a point of such self-doubt and self-criticism that you do the dirty work for them – believing that others are more capable, more interesting, more intelligent etc. than you. Your own self-talk, emotions and fears, actions and non-actions will then keep you trapped in low self-confidence.What strengthens self-confidence?It involves overcoming the negative programming you were subjected to and perhaps a natural shyness. Understanding is great but by itself doesn’t change anything. Confidence is only developed and strengthened by getting out there and being brave. You need experiences of success or bouncing back from so-called failure. You might even adopt the saying, If you can’t make it, fake it. To develop genuine confidence, use these general pointers:

Remind yourself of your values, positive qualities, your skills and experience. If you have difficulty seeing your positive qualities, get a real friend to help you. Make lists. You will discover there is more to you than you think.

Choose an area in your life that is important to you but where you lack confidence – career, health, finances, social life, personal growth, family, friends, recreation, society…

Challenge yourself. Make a ‘fear ladder’ of activities and situations in that area. Write the most feared on top, the less feared ones as you go down. Begin with those.

Each day, do something that you have previously shied away from and that brings you out of your comfort zone. Small steps. Plan your ‘confidence booster’ at night, write it on a card and take it with you the next day to remind yourself. If you are serious about it and consistent, your ability to overcome your fears and self-doubt will strengthen.

After a while, step it up. For example, if you lack confidence speaking to strangers, plan a week of making contact with 3 (or 5) strangers each day. Gradually increase the difficulty: first perhaps just smile at them, then say hallo, then make a bit of small talk (weather, traffic, whatever enters your mind)… Then on to the next project!

At the end of a week, celebrate your bravery!

A ‘buddy’ who is prepared to encourage but also hold you accountable can be a great help.

Remember, only by challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone will you begin to strengthen your self-confidence.