When I look back on my 20s, I see two different versions of myself. The first five years were dominated by feelings of insecurity and anxiety. I was living a life I did not want, and I wasn't confident enough to stop it. Then, in the second half of my 20s, I learned to embrace my purpose and began living the life I wanted -- the life of an entrepreneur. One thing is clear: The success I've experienced while launching and growing SkyBell would not have been possible with my old mindset.
Now at age 32, I can clearly see my shift from a negative mindset to a success mindset was caused by my developing more confidence. When you feel confident, the whole world seems to belong to you. You suddenly surround yourself with other successful and confident people, and both opportunities and success come your way with ease.
Here are 10 ways you can develop the mindset shared by the most confident people.
1. Define your purpose.
It's hard to be confident in what you're doing if you're not sure why you're doing it. What is your purpose in work and in life? Once you identify your "why," you'll be more confident because you'll be coming from a place of purpose.
2. Avoid comparing yourself with others.
In almost every case, when you compare yourself with someone else, it takes the form of negative self-talk about how you're not good enough. Doing this weakens self-confidence. The only person you need to compare yourself with is the version of yourself that you want to become. That's it.
3. Focus on solutions.
There will always be challenges. But focusing solely on a problem is a self-defeating practice. Instead, acknowledge that problems will arise, and when they do, focus on finding solutions as a strong leader. The more problems you overcome, the more confidence you'll build and the easier it will be to find solutions.
4. Play to your strengths.
Sometimes we spend more time making up for our perceived weaknesses than we do honoring our strengths. While I certainly agree with improving weaknesses, you might find that your confidence will increase when you play up your strengths. For example, if you're not good at math (like me), don't be a CFO. Stick with your strengths.
5. Fake it till you make it.
If you suffer from imposter syndrome, or the untrue belief that you're not good enough, just pretend to be confident. Keep embracing the idea that you're already successful. You might not be convinced at first, but eventually your thoughts will follow your emotions and you'll become a more confident person.
6. Take action.
Fear can be paralyzing. Ignore the voice in your head telling you that you can't do something, and take action anyway. The more you let fear hold you back, the stronger the negative voice will become. It works in the other direction too: The more you take action, the quieter the negative voice will become.
7. Take pride in your appearance.
When you look good, you'll feel good. When you feel good, you feel confident. Wear the clothes you want to wear. Invest in how you look and you'll invest in your own success.
8. Focus on the positive.
Negative self-talk and pessimism are a vicious cycle, and a drain on your confidence. Focus on your positive attributes instead of perceived weaknesses; focus on your accomplishments rather than on your perceived failures. Keep focused on what is working instead of what is not working.
9. Be ready.
Success is part preparation and part opportunity. Study, practice, and do what it takes to prepare yourself for when the right opportunity knocks on your door. If you're prepared, you are more likely to have the confidence to capitalize on the opportunity.
10. Embrace the power of body language.
Body language speaks much louder than words. When you're feeling down on yourself, change your posture: Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, stand with your feet wide and put your hands in the air like a superhero. Notice how the new stance quickly changes your mood and boosts your confidence.
There is no magic solution that will suddenly make you a more confident person. But when you focus on making consistent and small steps, you can transform yourself from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Building confidence is like building momentum: Just keep taking action and you'll feel more and more confident with each positive step.