Something that holds a lot of people back from accomplishing their dreams is their own lack of self-confidence and fear of failure. But, as you may have heard, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Which brings us to the point of this post … how do you increase your self-confidence such that you can go about accomplishing your dream of say, going to law school (or any other dream you may have I suppose)?
Most of the things that make you feel better or make you happier also play into your self-confidence. Thus, focus on doing things that make you feel better, and slowly your confidence will build. Below are some easy things that you can do to increase your self-confidence!
Dress to Impress: Dressing to impress of course includes the basic standards of grooming (showering, shaving, doing your hair, putting on your makeup etc.) and it includes picking the right clothes for the occasion that make you look and feel like the best version of yourself. But, dressing to impress also includes a couple other things that may be even more important to your self confidence. Stand tall and straight, being conscious of your posture; this will automatically make you seems more confident and in turn increase your confidence. Most importantly smile; this may seem silly, but you will be amazed at how a smile will make you feel better and will attract people to you on both a personal and professional level. Keep in mind that a smile can even be heard over the phone.
Be Optimistic: Positivity, seeing the glass as half empty, looking for the silver lining … no matter how you describe it, being optimistic will definitely help with your confidence. If you are generally not a positive person, start by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. For example if you look at a program you are interested in and think “this is too hard” flip it around and think “this program looks stimulating and challenging.” If you started reading a case and think “this is too long I want to stop” instead tell yourself “just a few more pages to go!”
Know Thyself: Get to know yourself to determine exactly what it is you want. Try writing in a journal or a blog, or perhaps meditation would fit better in your life. Whatever it is to get you thinking, really do some internal reflection and dig deep to find out what you really want. When you figure out exactly what you want, it is much easier to go after it!
Be Prepared: Preparing in advance for things helps you feel confident going in. Do you have a class you might get called on? Read the cases and take notes thoroughly to avoid stage fright when called on. Do you have a big exam coming up? Start outlining and studying in advance so you are calm and collected going into the test. Having a plan and sticking to it will help reduce nerves and increase your confidence in your own abilities.
Seek Knowledge: Knowledge is the key to success. Knowledge allows you to empower yourself which is a HUGE confidence booster. Try reading a new book, brushing up on current events, learning a new craft (knitting or woodworking for example) or if you are feeling extra ambitious go back to school. There are wonderful online programs that will fit into your busy schedule.
Take Baby Steps: Often people set initial goals for themselves that are much too high to attain immediately and they are then discouraged when their efforts are not progressing at a rate they would like. Instead, take baby steps toward a larger goal. Pick a goal you know you can meet and then do it! Once you achieve that goal, set another one, then another and another, until you reach your ultimate goal. The more goals you achieve, the better you will feel about yourself and the more motivated you will be to continue setting and reaching future goals. This same methodology works with projects that you have to tackle. Instead of being overwhelmed by a huge project, break it down into smaller more easily managed tasks and work on each task one at a time. As you mark tasks off you to do list you will increase your confidence in your abilities to get things done and finish the project.
Slow and Steady: The way you speak impacts the way others perceive you and in turn the way you perceive yourself. A person with authority will speak slowly and deliberately so as to command the attention of the room. In contrast, a person who thinks what he has to say is not worth listening to will speak at a rapid pace because he does not want to waste listeners’ time. Even if you don’t think you have something important to say, or that you just don’t have enough confidence to say it correctly, try saying it slowly. The first couple of times will seem unnatural to you, but soon it will become second nature. Of course, you want to avoid extremes as well … don’t take 15 minutes to say one sentence!
Form a Habit: Don’t tackle anything big (yet), but work on forming a small habit. For instance you could close your law books and put them in the same place every night, or you could review a set of notecards each night so you are ready for your exam, or you could do something as small as making sure you recap your highlighters every time you use them. Whatever it is you choose to do, do it for at least 30 days. When you have done it for 30 days you will feel great, and you will have an excellent new habit!
Just Do It: Procrastinate later! Now is the time for getting stuff done. Checking things off your to-do list, and accomplishing the things you have been putting off will make you more confident because you are being proactive and taking control of your life. Been putting off painting your living room? Do it this weekend. Been avoiding that stack of mail on the counter? Sort it tomorrow night. Been wanting to go to law school for quite some time but never applied? DO IT NOW!