Our body sends particular messages to the brain that, depending on how we interpret these messages, can either increase or decrease self-efficacy.
Our body postures, our physical activity, and our perceived body image can be all factor into our feelings of confidence. Also, we often base our judgments about our level of confidence by the emotions we experience when we think about performing an upcoming task, so understanding those emotional triggers is also critical.
Dr. Bandura has discovered that people in a depressed mood have lowered efficacy beliefs, which may lead to decreased motivation. Most people are surprised to hear about the extent to which the body contributes to feelings of confidence, but it’s an area that should not be overlooked.
Here are the top 5 tips and tricks for instant self-confidence:
The performance or Mastery Experiences
When people ask me what is the best way to reduce self-doubt and increase the courage to act, I tell them that it’s to go out and try the task in question, and then to try it again. Building your competence will chip away at your self-doubt, replacing it with feelings of confidence.
Typically, people stop themselves from trying new things because they do not want to fail in front of others. The potential embarrassment acts as a deterrent. One way to increase your courage to act, then, is to make it safe to fail
Make It Safe to Fail
Remember, it’s important to have performance experiences that are successful if you want to increase your self-efficacy.
James Dyson, the billionaire entrepreneur and inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, makes failure an expected part of inventing new designs. He is the poster boy for failure, with 5,127 failed attempts before succeeding with the winning prototype of a bagless vacuum cleaner.
At the Dyson Corporation, he creates a supportive work environment by removing criticism and encouraging a culture that is continually learning from its mistakes.
“Failure is a wonderful starting point because when something fails, you know exactly what the problem is, and you have to think and experiment to overcome that failure,” says Dyson.
This is a critical success factor for the company. He expects failure and, as a result, he continues to foster great innovation within his engineering team. Dyson makes it safe to fail.
Set Mini Learning Goals
Goal-setting research confirms that setting performance goals actually increases performance, except in the case when someone is learning something new.
If I do not know anything about how I am going to go about achieving a particular goal and I nevertheless set a performance goal for myself, this may cause me some stress, as I do not know the steps necessary to be successful.
I can’t see how I am going to get from here to there. Scientists have discovered that when we are learning something new, it is best to set several preliminary learning goals, which must be achieved to move successfully toward achieving the final goal.
Think about anything you are fearful of doing but that you really want to do. Then consider what mini learning goals or goals you might set to help you achieve this goal. Maybe you are afraid to confront a loved one or a coworker about their behavior and how it is negatively affecting you.
Taking a course on “how to have a difficult conversation” might improve your confidence in this area, so that you can enter into the discussion with more ease. Maybe you are dating again for the first time in twenty years. A dating coach might teach you more about dating successfully and make the process more enjoyable.
(And when you finally discover how to make dating in your fifties more enjoyable, please call me and tell me how!) Maybe you’re afraid to ask for a promotion. Speaking to a colleague about how they did it or finding resources on the Web might be a good start.
When you know nothing about how to start, get focused on learning, and break down the big goal into manageable mini learning goals.
Take Baby Steps
Sometimes it is less about learning and more about going out and actually doing it. In these situations, it’s easier to take one small step at a time. Think about a big goal you have for yourself. Now think about ten baby steps toward that goal.
The key to taking baby steps is to set yourself up to successfully achieve each step, thereby increasing your feelings of competence after every step. Trying something and failing miserably may lower your self-efficacy beliefs.
For example, if writing a book is a dream of yours but also a scary prospect, here are ten baby steps you could take:
- Ghostwrite a blog post for a friend if you don’t want your name out there just yet. See how the post is received. Are you getting some exciting comments and feedback? If you feel comfortable, then…
- Be a guest blogger for a friend or colleague and put your byline on the post. How did that go? Are you more comfortable now with people commenting on your writing? If you feel right about that, then…
- Ask other friends and colleagues if you could be a guest blogger for them. Get comfortable with a few of these, then…
- Write a short newsletter and send it out to just friends and family. Then…
- Begin writing your own blog. Now you can see which posts your audience likes and which ones they don’t like so much. Each blog is an opportunity for learning. Then…
- Reach out to your favorite publications and ask if you might write an article for them. Then…
- Ask to write articles for your favorite magazines. Then…
- Seek out an opportunity to contribute a chapter for a compilation book. Then…
- Write an ebook and give it away. See what kind of response you get.
- If all that goes well, now maybe you won’t be so afraid to begin writing your own printed and bound book… so start writing.
Sometimes for us to begin, we need to change our outlook from one of pessimism to one of optimism. If we are pessimistic about our expected outcomes, we may feel hopeless and never get started on the journey of achieving our big goals.
Some people believe that we’re either born optimistic or pessimistic. Research tells us otherwise.
Dr. Martin Seligman, the founding father of positive psychology, has spent decades studying optimism and has discovered that optimism can be learned. One difference between optimists and pessimists is what he calls their explanatory style.
Explanatory style is one’s learned and habitual way of explaining bad events or situations in one’s life. This could be a habit you learned in childhood or adolescence, and it determines whether you feel hopeful or helpless. Training our brain to have an optimistic explanatory style can move us powerfully forward. In his research, Seligman determined three components of explanatory style.
That’s it! If you’ve found this post valuable, share it with your friend and brighten their day! 😍