6 HABITS THAT WILL RAISE YOUR CONFIDENCE IQ

HOW TO BE MORE CONFIDENT 

On my first day in Army basic training, I didn't feel like a superhero. In fact, it wasn't until after a couple grueling months of being placed in dangerous and awkward situations that I built the self-confidence necessary for my military career. Boosting confidence is one of the primary goals of basic training-before they send soldiers out with a gun.

There were days that my heart was racing, and my palms sweat just thinking about the new challenges that faced me.

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But I learned that success would not make me confident-confidence in myself and my abilities would make me successful. I soon learned my 18 -year old confidence in myself was only temporary. That is the case many times with confidence waning when learning something new. I would soon be attending the Army's advanced individual training to learn my occupation as an aviator and self doubt would once again creep in.

On the first day in AIT, I was less than self-confident. I had never been near a real helicopter, let alone making sure that it was safe to fly. The challenges of learning the aircraft pushed me outside my comfort zone. I felt like I was at the mercy of the unknown, not knowing how I would land on my feet. But I held onto my dream of becoming a crew chief and plodded forward.

Entrepreneurs, leaders and professionals share some of the same fears that I faced in the military: How can I pull this off? In my 8 years in the Army, the only four-letter word I didn't hear was “can't.” Confidence is the cornerstone of a transformational leader. If you don't believe in yourself, how can others believe in you? Here are six ways professionals boost their confidence IQ, that you can also use to be more confident in yourself.

1. Push Through Self-Limiting Perceptions

As children we think we can conquer the world, but somewhere between childhood and today, our enthusiasm and natural inclinations to dream big are squashed. Key influencers in our early development such as our parents and teachers imposed their biased perceptions about what we can and can't do in life.

If the instructors at the Army aviation school were not pushing us past our self-limiting beliefs, they weren't doing their job. Similarly working with a professional life coach that is an expert in reframing limiting perceptions, will enable you to push through self-doubt and increase self-confidence.

2. Never Confuse Perceptions with the Facts

Your perceptions about a person or event may not be based on facts. Our memory does not store information exactly as it's presented to us. Instead we extract the gist of the experience based on our perceptions and store it in ways that makes the most sense. That's why different people witnessing the same event often have different versions.

Your brain has a built-in confirmation bias. That means it stores information that is consistent with your own beliefs, values and perceptions about yourself. Recognize that your perceptions don't always provide you with accurate information.
For example, if you have low self-esteem, your brain tends to store information that confirms your lack of confidence. That will be all you perceive about a specific event.

Take Action

Revisit the facts of a memory loaded with self-limiting perceptions and try to gain a more accurate perspective on the event. Talk with others that might have different perceptions and consider changing your viewpoint if there is merit in what they are saying.

3. Think Positive to Overcome Negative Self-Bias

We can inherit a lack in confidence from our parents. According to research conducted by Robert Plomin, of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in London, UK believes that confidence and the lack there of, is encoded in our genes. His study's findings are published in the journal Psychological Science. In Plomin's research he studied 15,000 sets of twins. The students' self-perceived ability rating was a significant predictor of achievement. Thinking positive about events and people is a big factor in overcoming your DNA. Focusing on the positive will reduce toxic thoughts that erode self-esteem and confidence.

Take Action

(a) Come up with five positive thoughts to counter every one negative thought.
(b) Let every positive thought sit for 20 seconds before moving to the next positive thought.
(c) Label your positive and negative emotions for what they truly are and move on. Do not enter into inner dialogue about the negative emotion because then it becomes more powerful.

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4. Practice Positive Self Talk

Talking to yourself can increase self- confidence, make you smarter, improve your memory, help you focus and even increase athletic performance. The documentary The Human Brain claims we say between 300 to 1,000 words to ourselves per minute. Many professional athletes have a mental image of themselves winning and they have the positive self-talk to back it up.

Take Action

Practice positive self-talk, the way you talk to yourself influences your neurobiological response to it. When you say positive I am statements like- “I express myself with confidence and clarity to others.” You are painting a completed picture of your ideal self.

5. Use your Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is not about thinking more or thinking harder; it's about thinking better and not solely relying on a gut feeling. Honing your critical thinking skills can open up a lifetime of intellectual curiosity.

Curiosity is the foundation of life-long growth. If we remain curious, we remain teachable and our minds and hearts grow larger every day. We can retain our beginner's mind by always looking forward and discovering new experiences and uncovering new information.

Take Action

(a) Question your belief. Ask yourself; How do I know that the information is accurate? What possible biases could there be? Where did the belief come from? Has that belief caused problems in the past and is it a recurring issue?
(b) Consider the source. Don't necessarily take at face value what a person is saying.
(c) Investigate. Finding the answer is quintessential in critical thinking. Investigating with your gut is a great strategy in being a good leader and a person of confidence.
(d) Ask questions. Getting a better understanding of others will help you to consider what their bias could be.

6. Overcome Self-Doubt

If you lack self-confidence, you will always feel like you're at the mercy of other people. When you assume a victim mentality, you are no longer resilient to life's inevitable obstacles and roadblocks.

Take Action

You can be your own roadblock. You can accomplish great things when you tap into your deeper strengths. Working with a life coach is the best way to clear the limiting perceptions that you hold about yourself. It's time to identify the areas in which you doubt yourself and remove those barriers.

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