1. Act as if you already have it!
Observe people who appear to be confident. Notice what they are doing. They may be throwing their shoulders back, standing tall, dressing neatly, acting friendly to the people they meet. Your talent and abilities are real. You just need to do the work. (check out the accompanying article, Self-Confidence Affirmations, for an excellent tool to help you practice.)
2. Acknowledge that what you are trying to accomplish is not easy.
Difficulty and struggle does not mean you are doomed. It just means that what you are doing is difficult. If it was easy, everybody would do it — write the great American novel, blaze a path into a new area, go to grad school, find the perfect life partner.
3. Stop looking to other people to gauge your success or self-worth.
You can never know what’s it really like for them. You are simply comparing what you know of yourself from the inside to how another person appears on the outside. Forget about other people. Forge your own path.
4. Do something every day towards reaching your goals.
Think about your goals, write about them, talk about them. Sharpen your focus on what you really want. Home in on what is most important to you. Spend more time on important things, less time on other things. Pare away all that is extraneous to your journey. Keep at it. Never give up!
5. Relax. Treasure the progress you’ve made this day, however small.
Don’t worry about the big stuff. Do the small stuff and over time it accumulates and gains significance. You can’t focus and work all the time. It’s important to recharge your batteries. Acknowledge your successes. Note what you have accomplished and celebrate how far you’ve come.
6. Focus on next steps.
When hiking to the top of a mountain, the peak looks impossibly daunting from the bottom. If you take enough steps – and enjoy the scenery along the way – you will reach the top. One step at a time! Take many small, successful steps rather than attempting large ones that are so daunting you’re tempted to give up.
7. Change the channel whenever unconfident thoughts are present.
Refuse to listen to the unconfident voice in your head. How to do that? Try listening for a moment, then tell the voice: “Thanks for your input,” and send it on its way. Don’t give it your attention. Redirect your attention to what is before you. Time is precious. Don’t bother to imagine what others may think or say, or how they might react with scorn or disdain. Forget them. Trying to steer your course through life while focusing what others are thinking about you is like trying to drive your car by looking only in the rear and side view mirrors.
8. Let go of predicting doom, failure, humiliation, disappointment.
No one knows what will happen in five minutes, much less in five years. The terrifying things you were predicting for yourself five years ago? How many of them came true? What surprising things occurred that you could not have possibly predicted? Keep your head down. Focus on what you want and what you are trying to do.
9. Obtain support from people who believe in you.
Spend time with those who appreciate you and what you have to offer. You are not alone. Surround yourself with like-minded people – and books, video, audio produced by people with whose dreams you resonate. Michael Keaton, in the movie Birdman, remembered his greatness only after the Bird came to him and reminded him he could fly. Then he swooped through the Manhattan skies.
10. Remember your dream.
Articulate it for yourself in detail. Return to it again and again. Savor it. Allow yourself to imagine the feeling of achievement and accomplishment in your body. Use that feeling as a marker to remind yourself of who you are and what you are capable of. You get credit for imagining a big thing. Imagining it, thinking of it, wanting it – that’s where something important begins. The rest is just execution and problem-solving. Okay, and some luck. But persistence is way more important than luck. Hang in there!