1. Recognize That You Do Have a Choice Between Stressing Out or Being Strong and Confident
One thing that people often do not realize is that their emotions can and do change. Just because a situation may be automatically triggering anxiety, it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are things we can do to cause ourselves to feel differently.
So, one powerful confidence booster technique is to simply decide how you want to feel. Ask yourself, “Would I rather feel nervous, anxious or stressed in this situation? …or, calm, strong and confident?”
When you pause to think about which emotional state is going to help you be more successful in your challenging situation, it is usually obvious that feeling strong and confident will always produce a better result. So, decide whether you want to focus on feeling anxious and stressed or feeling strong and confident.
2. Clear Out One Corner of Your Junky Closet at a Time
Rather than letting yourself become overwhelmed by a challenge that is facing you, break it down into bite-size chunks.
Any situation that is triggering anxiety or stress (or any negative emotion for that matter) will feel easier if you can identify several smaller more manageable pieces to the problem.
For example, let’s say you’ve got a presentation to do. Preparing the information is one part – perhaps there are several parts if it’s a big presentation. Another part is rehearsing it – doing some dry runs just to get comfortable hearing yourself talk and giving yourself a chance to stumble over your words enough times until you get it right.
Maybe you record yourself speaking. Another part may be making sure you’ve got all the tools and materials you’ll need ahead of time.
This technique is used by mountain climbers to prevent themselves from feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task ahead – focusing on only the next 100 feet, then the next, and then the next until the peak has been conquered.
3. Identify the Positive Outcome You Want
Take a little time to really get clear about the positive outcome you want to create. Rather than just hoping that things turn out well or just “trying” to be more confident, become proactive and identify exactly what a positive outcome would look like. What would be happening? What would others be doing or saying? What would you be doing and how would you be feeling while you were doing it?
This is essentially the same as setting a goal, but don’t make the mistake of setting a goal that is the absence of a negative outcome. Goals like “not feeling anxious on my date” or “doing my performance without making a mistake” are negative. They conjure up negative images that you don’t want.
Phrase your goal positively… For example, “feeling good and having fun on my date” or “performing well and enjoying it”.
Then, visualize your positive outcome in detail. Positive images are great confidence boosters.
4. Connect to a Positive Experience From the Past – a Time When You Felt Confident and Happy and Blend it Into the Current Situation
If you think of some experience you’ve had in which you felt happy and confident you can use it to help boost your confidence in your current situation.
One woman I worked with blended the confident feelings from her West Coast hiking experience into her present divorce situation to generate a much stronger feeling of strength and confidence in overcoming her current set of obstacles and challenges.
I suggest that you close your eyes and visualize your positive experience and then blend the good feelings into your current problem situation.
I often have people tap their legs back and forth as they do this because it seems to help with the blending process. As you do this you will likely see a new and different way of handling your situation.
5. Mentally Practice
Whenever you learned to do anything in the past, you probably made several mistakes as you practiced before you eventually got it right. It’s no different with learning to be confident in a new situation. But you can shorten the learning process considerably by practicing it several times in your mind.
If you are realistic about it, you can picture making all your mistakes in your mind first (where it’s perfectly safe to make mistakes). Then, as you continue you will gradually figure out the right way to deal with your particular situation.
Visualizing a positive outcome is great, but it’s even better to mentally rehearse dealing with your challenging situation from start to finish several times.