"Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment." Thomas Carlyle
Self-confidence and self-esteem complement and strengthen each other. Humble confidence in what one can do and a healthy sense of well-being helps us achieve success, build relationships and enhance a positive outlook on life.
In a previous post I pointed out the difference between the two concepts of self-confidence and self-esteem and that business and organizational leaders seek people who have a healthy sense of both. Strengthening one's confidence and esteem is not a one time event but an on-going process. Consider the following six strategies for improving your self-confidence and self-esteem.
1. Change Appearance: How people project themselves tell us something about how they feel inside. Successful people are concerned about how they look on the outside and how they feel on the inside. Many businesses have a grooming and dress code because they know that personal appearance, especially when dealing with the public and customers, is important for their public image and workplace morale. Present a positive image, but there is no need to be a fashion model. Your self-image is improved when you dress for success and dawn a look of success. Having a clean, neat and tasteful appearance that is appropriate for the job strengthens self-esteem on the inside and positively influences one's confidence and public persona.
2. Exercise: Boost your energy with 20 minutes of exercise a day. You don't have to join an exercise club or gym to do this. A ten-minute brisk walk three times a day will do wonders. Go for a run two to three times a week. Change your walking and running route to break the monotony. If you need encouragement find a friend or an acquaintance that will exercise with you. There are simple ways to activate your body at work as well, for example, stretch at your desk, clean your office, go for a ten-minute walk at coffee time, walk briskly to meetings and take the stairs. Setting exercise goals and achieving milestones boosts self-confidence, improves self-esteem and in the process, does wonders for one's health.
3. Control Weight: Weight control is a touchy subject as there are many reasons why one may be overweight ranging from medical to self-esteem issues. If you are overweight - and you may be overweight if your waist measures more than half your height - get your weight under control. If you are overweight for medical reasons make sure you discuss this with your doctor. However, there are some basic strategies everyone can follow to control weight. Eat well balanced meals. Use simple food measuring techniques such as using the palm of your hand as a measure for meat portions; clenching your fist as a measure for vegetable portions; and a simple calorie counter to measure your sweet intake. Drink plenty of water which promotes healthy skin and fills the stomach when it craves for more food; and, replace junk food with fruit. Practice good eating habits at work too by reducing the temptation to nibble at your desk, eating donuts at meetings or fast foods for lunch, and substituting soft drinks for water. Healthy eating habits coupled with exercise will bring your weight in line with your height and waist measurement. Achieving a proper weight level will have a positive impact on your overall health and well-being.
4. Celebrate Successes: Take time to celebrate an achievement, even if it is small. When building confidence, it is important to take the big thing that confronts us and break it down into pieces. That way we can work at achieving it one step at a time. After each step take a time out with a quick personal pat on the back; once a week look back and identify all the successes accomplished in the past seven days and give yourself a special reward. Successes recognized and celebrated, even by oneself, improves self-confidence and self-esteem.
5. Talk to Yourself Positively: Positive affirmations work. They push us ahead when we are struggling, cheer us up when we are down, and re-calibrate our attitude in the face of negativity. Don't be afraid to say "I did a good job on this one," or "I'm all right" or, "it's a great day." You will feel better and your confidence will blossom.
6. Focus on the Things You Can Control: Our anxiety grows when we think we can control the uncontrollable. Recognize what you can control and what you can't. Put aside the uncontrollable and focus on what you can control - get those tasks done, check them off and realize that each successfully completed task is another rung up the ladder to personal success and confidence.
What to do: If you want to strengthen your confidence then arm yourself with confidence building strategies. Review these six strategies and if one fits your situation that you can apply immediately, do it. Practice it every day for a minimum of three weeks or until it becomes part of your behaviours. If you forget to apply it for a day or two don't fret, just reaffirm your intention and start where you left off. In a short time, you will find you are acting more positively, feeling better about yourself, projecting a stronger self-image and looking ahead with greater confidence.
Author: Richard Fontanie MSW, FCMC From the Archives Fontanie Learning Solutions