How to Build Self-Confidence | Jack Canfield
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”
– The Dalai Lama
If you’re going to be successful in creating the life of your dreams, you must have self-confidence and believe that you’re capable of transforming your goals into reality.
But cultivating this kind of unshakeable self-confidence can be challenging – especially if you’ve ever suffered from low self-esteem. It can be easy to listen to your own negative self-talk and believe that you don’t have what it takes to make your dreams come true.
That said, if you are able to visualize yourself achieving a goal, you have the capacity to do so. This is something I deeply believe. The universe will not give you a dream that you don’t have the capacity to fulfill! And the only obstacle making it difficult for you to overcome self-doubt and unlock your full capacity is your own mind!
That’s why today I’d like to share some tips on how to build self-confidence and grow unshakeable self-esteem that allows you to recognize you already have the inner resources and talents to create your desired results. Not only that – you can access those inner resources with the help of mindset tools such as visualization and affirmations.
But first, let’s take a moment to consider what self-confidence really is – and the profound impact it can have on your life.
What is Self-Confidence?
Self-confidence is a deep-seated belief that you have the knowledge, skills, and drive to create your desired results.
It’s the faith that you are ready for all of life’s experiences and have what it takes to achieve a successful outcome in any situation – even those that may deliver a different result than you had anticipated.
When you have high self-confidence, you’re more likely to take risks and embrace opportunities, which will inevitably lead to greater rewards. That’s why self-confidence is a trait that all highly successful people have in common.
Importance of Self-Confidence
Confident people know that if things don’t work out the first time, they can always try again – whereas people who suffer from low self-esteem and low self-confidence will give up at the first stumble because they see it as a sign that their dreams were never meant to be.
Self-confident people are unafraid to take a bold leap into the unknown. They don’t fear failure because they understand every obstacle and setback is a valuable learning opportunity.
Self-confidence is the absence of self-doubt. Confidence is what gives you the positive energy and drive to take action and achieve your personal and professional goals.
Here are just some of the ways in which self-confidence can impact your life.
Leads to Better Self-Esteem
Self-confidence and self-esteem are related but not the same.
Self-confidence is the trust in your abilities – the belief that you have the skills and know-how required to achieve your desired outcomes.
Self-esteem, on the other hand, is the belief that you deserve to achieve those outcomes – the idea that you are a good person who is worthy of happiness, love, and success.
A person can be confident in their skills and aptitude while believing that they are not worthy of happiness or love, and vice versa.
The good news is, that working on developing your self-confidence can be a powerful way to boost your self-esteem. That’s because building self-confidence involves taking small risks and successfully overcoming them, ideally in both your personal and professional life – which in turn builds self-efficacy and is a powerful antidote to negative self-talk and doubt.
Self-Confidence Brings Happiness
People with self-confidence are usually happier and more content with their life than people who struggle with low self-esteem and self-doubt. That’s because self-confident people have more faith that things will work out as intended.
They will experience less worry and stress, and also find it easier to develop and maintain healthy relationships with other people. They will be more likely to trust in others (as well as themselves) and also less tolerant of negative behavior (because they know they deserve better).
People who have high self-confidence (and the self-efficacy that comes from it) also care less about what other people say or think about them. The faith they have in themselves and their abilities is protective armor that shields them from other people’s behavior and opinions.
Confidence Prepares You for Success
Without high self-confidence and self-esteem, there is very little opportunity for success.
Confidence gives you the necessary skills and coping methods to handle setbacks and failure in your personal and professional life, so you can roll with the punches and adapt to whatever life throws at you.
Self-confidence also empowers you to show up in the world as the highest possible version of yourself. This makes it easier for you to attract the people, resources, and opportunities you need to succeed in everything you do.
Helps You Be Your Best Under Stress
Achieving success requires you to move out of your comfort zone and put yourself in unfamiliar situations. This means it involves risk, which can lead to periods of ongoing heightened stress.
If you lack confidence in your ability to successfully navigate such situations, your ability to succeed is diminished. When your self-confidence is high, you’re able to perform best even when you’re under extreme pressure, when it counts most.
Boosts Your Ability to Influence Others
Your energy vibrates at a higher frequency with self-confidence and you’re better able to project a positive image and make a lasting impression on others.
According to the universal Law of Attraction, this makes it easier for you to attract a higher caliber of people, resources, and opportunities into your life so you can make your dreams a reality.
At the same time, self-confidence makes it easier for you to influence and inspire others. The faith you have in yourself will encourage others to feel the same level of belief in your ideas and guidance and they will be more likely to follow your lead.
This ability will have a huge positive impact on your ability to sell ideas or products or negotiate successfully for your goals at work or at home.
Self-Confidence Helps You Be a Better Leader
If you dream of becoming a leader in your organization or field, self-confidence is required. Your self-confidence and clear trust in your own judgment are what will inspire people to buy into your ideas and follow your lead to bring your ideas to life.
Just be sure that your self-confidence and self-esteem don’t get in the way of humility!
True leaders are willing to listen to the ideas of others and adapt their plans as necessary when new information comes to light. They understand that the true purpose of a leader is to encourage others to show up as their best selves then step back and let their teams shine.
They are self-confident enough to delegate responsibility and understand that they don’t always know the best in every situation. They recognize that people need positive feedback and that their team members need to have their ideas considered and their contributions honored.
Confidence Fills You With Energy and Motivation to Take Action
Self-doubt and low self-confidence can be a huge drain on your energy! When you lack confidence in your own abilities and decision-making skills, you can get caught up in uncertainty and be reluctant to take action for fear that your efforts will yield a negative outcome.
All of this waiting, waffling, and wondering can rob you of much-needed momentum and motivation and can keep you stuck where you’d rather not be.
When you have a high level of self-confidence, on the other hand, your implicit faith in yourself acts as powerful fuel to keep you going, even in the face of obstacles. You’ll find it so much easier to keep going when things get tough because you trust that your efforts will lead to a positive result.
Self-Confidence Does Not Equal Lack of Fear!
It’s important to note that confidence isn’t the absence of fear. It’s not the blind assumption that everything will always work out exactly as you intended and life will always be sunshine and rainbows!
It’s the belief that no matter what life throws at you, and no matter what outcomes your efforts yield, you will ultimately be able to come out on top.
There will be storms – and you will be able to weather those storms. There will be obstacles and setbacks – and they will teach you what you know to ultimately achieve your goals. There will be disappointments – but they will be just one small stepping stone on your eventual journey toward victory.
So if you feel fear, don’t let it convince you that you don’t have what it takes! Fear is a natural and inevitable response to taking risks and entering unfamiliar territory. To achieve success, you must be willing to feel the fear – and take action in spite of it.
5 Steps to Develop Self-Confidence
Now that we’ve covered just a few of the ways that developing self-confidence can positively transform your personal and professional life, here are some simple tips on how to build greater self-confidence and develop the self-efficacy required to achieve your goals and get better results in everything you do.
1. Make the Choice to Believe in Yourself
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Believing in yourself is a choice. It’s an attitude you develop over time.
The good news is, that anyone can cultivate this kind of self-assured “can-do” attitude and build confidence in his or her own abilities through consistent mindset work (such as meditation, visualization, and affirmations) and by taking action to build their self-esteem by taking small risks and acknowledging their past successes.
When you successfully complete a challenge that is out of your normal comfort zone, you develop confidence in yourself and your own self-efficacy – and you prove to yourself that YOU are someone who can successfully complete challenges!
2. Use Positive Self-Talk and Positive Visualizations to Persuade Yourself
“Self-talk is the most important conversation of your life.”
― Jesus Apolinaris
The only way to overcome negative self-talk is with positive self-talk. The latest psychological science research shows that consistent positive self-talk combined with mindset practices such as positive visualization and self-compassion meditations can make it possible for anyone to dramatically improve their self-esteem and help them maintain a positive view.
If you choose to believe in yourself and act as if anything is possible, then you will do the things that are necessary to bring about the result. On the other hand, if you believe that it is impossible, you are less likely to do what is necessary to achieve the results you desire. Either way, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. Give Up the Words “I Can’t”
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
- Maya Angelou
To develop maximum levels of self-confidence and self-esteem, you must give up the phrase “I can’t” and all of its cousins, such as “I wish I were able to.”
The words “I can’t” disempower you and make it impossible for you to feel confident in your ability to meet life’s challenges and achieve your goals. These confidence-depleting words can actually make you physically weaker when you say them. Your brain is designed to solve any problem and reach any goal that you give it, and the words you think and say affect your ability to do so.
Let me give you an example:
When you were a toddler, you thought you could do anything you could imagine. No obstacle was too big for you to attempt to overcome.
But little by little, your sense of invincibility and self-efficacy was conditioned out of you by the negative feedback you received from your family, friends, and teachers – and by the decisions, you made in response to that feedback until you no longer believed you could accomplish anything you can imagine.
To undo your past conditioning and move towards a future of greater self-confidence and success, you must take responsibility for removing the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary, and replacing them with the words “I can” and “I will.”
4. Ignore What Others Think of You
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
If having others believe in you and your dream were a requirement for success, most of us would never accomplish anything. What others believe can lead to low self-confidence pales in importance compared to what YOU think of your own self-worth and self-efficacy.
That’s why it’s so important for you to base your decisions about what you want to do on YOUR goals and desires – not the goals, desires, opinions, and judgments of your parents, friends, spouse, children, or co-workers.
Quit worrying about what other people think about you and follow your heart.
The good news is, most of the time, nobody’s thinking about you at all! They are too busy worrying about their own lives, and if they are thinking about you, they are most likely dealing with their own self-esteem issues and wondering what you are thinking about them.
Meanwhile, all that time you’re wasting worrying about what other people think about your ideas, your goals, your clothes, your hair, and your home, could be better spent focusing on doing the things that will actually get you closer to achieving your goals.
5. Constantly Acknowledge Your Positive Past
“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.”
Most people in our culture remember their failures more than their successes.
One reason for this is the “leave ‘em alone — pounce” approach to parenting, teaching, and management that is so prevalent in our culture.
When you were a young child, your parents left you alone when you were playing and being cooperative, and then pounced on you when you made too much noise, were a nuisance, or got into trouble. There was almost always more emotional intensity around your errors, mistakes, and failures than there was around your successes.
And because the brain more easily remembers events that were accompanied by strong negative emotions, most people underestimate and under-appreciate the number of successes they’ve had compared to the number of failures they’ve had.
The best way to counteract this phenomenon is to consciously focus on and celebrate your successes. Research has shown over and over again that the more you acknowledge your past wins and achievements, the more confident you become in taking on and successfully accomplishing new ones.
Remembering and acknowledging that you have had successes in the past, will give you the self-confidence that you can have more successes in the future.
6. Create a Victory Log for Yourself
Keeping these 5 strategies in mind, I encourage you to create a victory log to track your wins and remind yourself of how much you actually accomplish on an ongoing basis.
A victory log is a list of all your daily successes. You can keep your list in a notebook, on your iPad, on your smartphone, or on your computer, but the point is to keep a running list that you can add to each day.
To get the ball rolling, begin by writing down your successes from yesterday and those from today, and keep the list going in order to log these victories into your long-term memory. As simple as this exercise is, it is extremely powerful in building your self-esteem and helping you achieve maximum confidence.
To hold yourself accountable for implementing this self-confidence practice, leave a comment below with the first 5 items in your victory log. I’ll follow up with you in the comments to make sure you’re staying on track.
Develop Maximum Self-Confidence
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
– Marie Curie
Imagine exuding self-confidence in any situation, asking for what you want, believing anything is possible… and, taking more risks. This reality is easily achievable! Now imagine that you have already achieved an important goal you have for your life. What would it feel like to be living that new reality? What would you be thinking? How would you spend your time each day?
This simple visualization exercise is something you can practice at any time to take you faster to the actual manifestation of that experience.
Use The Mirror Exercise to Boost Self-Esteem
Now I’d like to teach you another activity that can dramatically boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.
It’s called the Mirror Exercise and it’s something I teach participants who attend my workshops.
Here’s how it works: at the end of every day, stand in front of the mirror and verbally appreciate yourself for everything you accomplished that day, big and small. And by “verbally appreciate yourself,” I mean thank yourself out loud for everything you did.
For example, when I do this activity every night, I say things like,
“Thank you Jack for putting so much effort into finishing that chapter of writing! You pushed through to the deadline even when you were starting to get tired. You also did a great job of being attentive to Inge’s needs and helped clean up after dinner, which was really thoughtful of you. And you went out of your way to tell your staff that you appreciated all their hard work!”
Then, at the end, I encourage you to tell yourself that you love yourself – again, out loud – and really take a moment to feel that self-love in your heart.
By acknowledging all of your daily wins and accomplishments, you help yourself remember everything positive you did along the way. And by cultivating self-love and gratitude for your own hard work, you boost your sense of worthiness. This is a powerful way to grow higher self-confidence and self-esteem!
And in the process, you raise the frequency of the energetic vibrations you put out there into the world and will find it so much easier to attract the people and events that empower you to achieve the exact success you imagined.
Women’s Self-Confidence and Why It Matters for Everyone
For many generations, self-confidence has generally been considered to be primarily a masculine trait.
Depending on one’s cultural background, men were taught to be independent and self-reliant with a high sense of self-efficacy, while women were taught to be subservient and reliant on the men in their lives.
On top of that, women have been taught that their physical appearance plays a huge role in determining their worth (as opposed to other factors, such as academic performance or academic achievement).
Small wonder so many women struggle with low confidence and body image issues and find it hard to feel confident in their own abilities and inner worth!
But women who have high confidence and a strong sense of their worth are more likely to raise children who also feel more confident in their own abilities and don’t let superficial concerns such as body image get in the way of their self-esteem.
So if we want to build self-confidence in younger generations, the best way to start is by building confidence in the women who raise them.
What Will Your Life Look Like Once Self-Confidence Has Been Achieved?
When you no longer lack self-confidence, the positive effects on your life will be profound. Here are just some of the ways that boosting your self-esteem and feeling confident will improve your day-to-day experience.
Social anxiety will largely be a thing of the past
If you’re someone who suffers from social anxiety, just the thought of spending time in groups of other people can be overwhelming.
Even when the group in question consists of friends and family, you may become so caught up in worrying about what they’re thinking, that your ability to enjoy their company will be ruined.
But when your confidence is high and your self-esteem healthy and secure, you will never waste any time wondering what people are thinking about. You will know that other people’s thoughts about you are really none of your business, and all that matters is how you feel about yourself.
Better performance in all areas of your life
There is nothing more liberating than freeing yourself from a negative sense of self! When you boost your self-confidence you will no longer hesitate or let self-doubt stop you from taking action toward your goals.
This will help you to improve your performance and get better results in all areas of your life – including your personal life, your relationships, and your health, as well as your career.
Individual differences will become unimportant
Right now you may find it challenging to get along with certain people because their beliefs and lifestyles are so different from your own. Sometimes these differences in outlook can seem so insurmountable, that the idea of being able to come together in spite of them can seem impossible.
But I deeply believe that there is no “us vs. them,” there’s only US. And if we want to work toward the public interest and solve the big problems facing society, the only way forward is together.
The good news is, that studies in social psychology show that people with greater self-confidence find it easy to recognize these differences in belief and lifestyle without being threatened by them.
You’re less likely to be upset by other people’s dismissal of your own beliefs when you have the confidence to realize deep in your soul that other people’s opinions have no power over you.
Common fears (such as public speaking) will evaporate
Without certain skills, there will always be a ceiling to the heights to which you can ascend in your business or career. I’m talking about skills such as public speaking and leadership.
Success is not a solo sport – you need a team to achieve it. And to successfully lead and inspire that team, you must have the confidence you need to communicate your vision in a way that inspires them and encourages them to give it their all.
When you lack self-confidence, feeling secure enough to lead a team to victory may be something that always eludes you. That’s why achieving your goals requires you to focus on building confidence. To be a successful leader, confidence and self-esteem are required.
Achieve Maximum Self-Confidence Now
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
Self-confidence isn’t something that you’re either born with or without. It’s something you can cultivate over time, along with self-esteem, self-awareness, personal motivation, and your own ability to accomplish anything you can imagine.
But cultivating this kind of self-confidence takes time and effort. It’s not enough to simply WANT to be self-confident. You’ve got to do the work.
That means growing your self-esteem through taking risks and successfully surviving them. It means acknowledging your wins and seeing your losses not as failures, but as opportunities to learn and grow. And it means doing daily mindset work so you can cultivate the self-compassion and self-belief required to show up in the world as your best self.
If you are interested in cultivating higher self-confidence and unlocking your full potential for success, a powerful approach is to tap into the Law of Attraction and learn how to raise your energetic frequency so you can attract the people, opportunities, and resources you need to achieve your goals and dreams.
And I have a free guide that will help you do just that!
Activating the Law of Attraction will explain how this powerful universal law works and how you can use it to release negative thoughts and feelings and experience more joy, peace, and abundance by living in harmony with the vibrations of the universe.
It’s time for you to discover the secrets to deliberately creating and receiving more of what you really want!