Build Self Confidence Fast

This is a great video on building self confidence, albeit rather slick. Its worth spending the three and a half minutes to watch it. Sharon Melnick illustrates how people try to build self confidence by using indirect methods, rather than going direct. She focusses on work situations, but the ideas are applicable anywhere.

Indirect methods are very much tied up in having a concern about what others think of you.  You direct your energy and attention to managing others perceptions of you, not building real confidence. I'm very conscious that this is something I have done in the past. There are two types of indirect confidence building:-

Borrow Confidence from Others

This way you go out of your way to get other people to notice you – to earn a "pat on the back".  Its also a form of seeking reassurance and validation from other people, be it peers or boss. For example:-

Staying late or arriving early (and making others aware)

Over promise what you can do

Bringing others attention to something you have done well

Ask others opinion (when you know yourself) to give you an opportunity to show your knowledge

Interrupting others to show how much you know

Avoid Disapproval

This is more passive. You go out of your way to avoid being judged or endure the disapproval of others.  Its a way of protecting what we have.

Not speak up at meetings

Not share your ideas with others

Procrastinate – not put work on table for others to see

Not delegate, get stuck in details

The solution, Sharon says , is to:-

Go Direct

I must admit, this part of the video isn't as clear as the first.  I think just being aware of being indirect is an important first stage. If you can catch yourself doing these things you can start correcting the bad habit you've got into. And if you're changing habits, then the title should be "build self confidence slowly but surely".

"Go Direct" is about focussing your energies on what is most important, driving towards your vision.  When tempted toward indirect behaviour, use this vision to pull you back on course.

This isn't always possible though, especially if we are employed. We can't always do what excites and engages us.

My take on going direct is to focus on doing a good job.  We all have strengths and talents and most jobs we do allow us the opportunity to "get better" with practice.  This difference is focussing on the job, and being good, rather than on other people.

Yes, there will be times to do a bit of publicity or self promotion.  But that usually comes when others have already started to take note, of their own accord.

evanhadkins January 16, 2010 at 7:01 pm

I think the direct way is actually indirect. Instead of borrowing confidence from others she advocates borrowing it from achievements.

Perhaps by self-confidence she means confidence in ability to achieve – in which case it would make sense.

The problem is that sometimes we fail. And sometimes due to factors beyond our control. If we borrow confidence from achievements then we may not gain it – due to nothing within our control.

I guess there is a discussion to be had about the similarities and differences between self-confidence and self-esteem.

I think Sharon was confident of the truth of what she was presenting. I think she was slightly wrong on the direct path. Should this shake her confidence?

David January 17, 2010 at 9:12 am

I think you'd have to do a lot to shake her confidence! My personal take on self confidence is how we appraise our ability to do things, to achieve. My point, as opposed to hers, is if we are good at what we do (and believe that) then (1) its easier to put aside what others think (2) we don't need a succession of “big achievements” to keep boosting our confidence. I agree with you Evan, if someone adopts the mindset that they need achievements to keep sustaining their confidence then they will “borrowing”.
Thanks, as ever, for another interesting comment

virginiajones@How To Sell Yourself February 20, 2011 at 6:31 am

self confidence must be nurtured through belief in yourself. Cultivating your talents and abilities and believing and know YOU have something to offer others.

Also NEVER over promise, it will set you up for failure. Instead under promise and over deliver!

Bruce March 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

your analysis is better than the video. I am consistently impressed with your intuition and understanding of this subject. I would like a program from you or for you to be an affiliate of and recommend the best program or coach on this topic. I would believe you and act on your recommendation. You are a true expert in this area.

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