I wish I had more confidence!

I often hear people say, “I wish I had more confidence.” Can you relate? Well, what you might not know is that you can get more confidence. And it’s really not that hard. Contrary to what you might think, confidence is not something that some people are born with. It’s not a genetic trait like your eye color or your height. It’s not as if you can say, “I was born with blue eyes and confidence.”

Good news – no one is born with confidence. It’s not something that’s rationed out in limited supply where only the first ones in line get a share.

Confidence is something that’s developed. It’s gained through practice and consistency. Think of confidence as being like an extra muscle. You can make it stronger just like you can develop any other muscle on your body.

In fact, let me give you my 3 basic training tips to help build and strengthen the confidence muscle.

Step 1: Exercise.

If you’ve ever been to the gym, then you know that the way to build your muscles is to apply stress or resistance to them. In a former life, I lifted a lot of heavy weights, and it was so cool to see my muscles grow over time. But just like any other muscle-building regimen, it’s best to ease into the exercise routine for your confidence muscle. Start slow and gradually build up. Otherwise, you might end up feeling a lot of pain.

Exercise the confidence muscle by gaining practice in area where you feel you need to improve. The key is to start slow and gradually increase your level of difficulty. The more you practice, the better you get. And the better you get at something, the more confidence you develop. Confidence increases with your comfort level and skill level in any given area.

For example, if you want more confidence in social situations or in business networking events, start building your confidence by practicing in a way task that doesn’t feel too overwhelming. Start by talking to someone you know in a social environment. Ask him or her to introduce you to someone new at the event. Then graduate to a more difficult exercise by approaching someone you don’t know on your own and start a conversation. Just like any other exercise regimen, the key is to consistently practice a skill. Gradually increase the level of difficulty. As you practice, you get better and your confidence builds.

The key is practice. Practice equals skill development, and skill development builds confidence.

Step 2: Muscle Rest and Recovery.

Any personal trainer will tell you that resting is a critical component of any muscle-building program. In fact, it’s actually during periods of rest and recovery that your muscles grow. During the exercise phase, the tissues are actually breaking down, and the rest period is when they heal and grow.

When you’re building your confidence muscles, take time to stop, rest and reflect on your skill development. After you “exercise,” or practice a new skill, take a pause. Ask yourself what worked well. What did you try that didn’t work? What can you try next to keep building those confidence muscles?

If you want more confidence, you will need to be intentional. So think about the skill you’re developing, and create a plan for your growth.

Step 3: Feed your Muscles.

This is the best part of any muscle-building regimen! Believe me, I used to be a competitive bodybuilder, and boy did I love the reward of a big meal after a hard workout!

When it comes to feeding your confidence muscles, give yourself a huge reward after every success. I tell my coaching clients to celebrate their wins. One big reason people lack confidence is because they don’t recognize their successes. One common trait among people with low self-confidence is that they discount the successes in their lives, careers and businesses.

No matter how big or small, acknowledge your wins and do something to congratulate yourself. Let yourself feel really great after you attend that networking event or give that presentation in front of an audience.

Continue this cycle of exercise, rest and reward, and you will be sure to see your confidence muscles expand. Go bulk up!

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