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“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” e. e. cummings

“Most people live in a restricted circle of potential.” William James

How strong is your belief in yourself? On a scale of one to ten (being the strongest).

For me, growing up I would have rated myself a two, I didn’t believe in myself. I was a very shy, non-expressive child, introverted most of the time, a horrible test taker and battled with a speech impediment; which led me to hardly speak up for myself. My confidence factor was non-existent growing up. Once I started to learn and experience confidence, I shifted and then things in my life started to shift.

Many people do not feel fulfilled, and never reach their full potential — not because of resources, intelligence or opportunities — rather the lack of belief in themselves and their own confidence or lack thereof.

The word confidence is used often today, but what exactly is confidence? Is it only a trait that few are born with?

Confidence, according to Psychology Today, “is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life’s challenges to succeed — and the willingness to act accordingly. Being confident requires a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge. It’s an ability that can be acquired and improved over time.”

Your thoughts, emotions and actions directly impact your confidence.

Cultivating stronger self-confidence is an ongoing process. There will be moments and experiences that will challenge and shake your confidence. Don’t worry, it can be built back up at any moment, here is how:

1. Give yourself permission to take risks, stretch yourself and make mistakes

Normalize stepping outside of your comfort zone and position yourself in new environments; this stretches you past what you know and as a result, increases your confidence. Stay open and curious as to what can occur when you experience something not as familiar to you and your world.

2. Power pose (sit or stand)

Do you have one? Standing up straighter, shoulders back, feeling your feet on the ground, keeping your body relaxed and open are just a few tips. Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy and others have studied the positive effects of confident body postures on our hormones — it is powerful. When your body assumes the position, your mind then follows.

3. Get clear, focus and visualize your goals and desires

What is the vision? How clear are you about it? Whatever situation, activity or areas in your life do you want to increase confidence in? Slow down and take time to get clear about it. This could be in your head, on paper or speaking it out loud. Tune in to what it is that you need, then visualize it already happening.

4. Exercise and move your body

Feeling stuck and stagnant, move your body. Regular movement and exercise release endorphins that in return produce a pleasurable state of mind and a good feeling. You will feel more motivated to act and this will both build and boost your self-confidence.

5.  Help: ask for it and offer it

Many of us struggle to ask for help due to feeling like a burden, the fear of rejection or being seen as incompetent. Reaching out to others to ask for and offer help is a necessary part of working toward our goals. You can’t do it alone. Hire a coach, find a mentor and be of service to another — when you feel supported, your confidence increases.

6. Commitment and stop comparing

When you commit, you are consistent and you stop comparing yourself to others — watch how your confidence soars. Commitment and consistency to self and others changes the game; you get to create a better version of yourself today versus who you were yesterday.

7. Create an achievement, accolades and accomplishment list

Go as far back as you can remember and start to write out and list all of your achievements, accolades and accomplishments. This puts into perspective and capitalizes on your strengths. It also reduces the noise on the negative thoughts in your head and helps you to recognize how far you have come, and what it took to get you to this point in life and business.

8. Surround yourself with excellence and the extraordinary

Inclusive of people and environments, both are very important and shape your day-to-day. Find people that are supportive, positive, motivating and where you want to be. Place yourself into environments that will help you grow, help you stretch and have your best interests at heart. Create an environment for yourself that elevates your mind, body and well-being. Choose what you consume, on all levels, carefully and consciously — this includes what you watch, listen to, read, surround yourself with, eat and drink.

9. Listen to your intuition

Self-trust develops when we slow down, take a breath, create space and listen to that feeling of knowing-ness. Trust your intuition, that feeling and that internal nudge you receive — it is giving you valuable information.

10. Speak and script It

Practice positive self-talk. How you speak to yourself matters more than you know. How you see yourself matters. Both build your self-identity and self-belief. You get to re-create yourself whenever you want. Speak to yourself with compassion, love and kindness. You get to speak what you seek until you see what you said. Is there a desire or outcome that you want to see? Speak it out loud — there is energy and power in this process. Scribing or writing about yourself and your desires is also a very powerful practice that helps to reprogram your subconscious — write out what it is that you want as if it has already happened.

Remember, the most important relationship you have in your life is the one with yourself.

As confidence levels rise, so do success, happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction. You get to decide what you want to give more of your power and attention to — the self-doubt or the self-confidence. You are always one decision away from a totally different life.

article from entrepreneur

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