Pillar 1: Experiential Confidence
When I was a teenager, one thing that scared me the most was chatting up women, especially strangers. Making the initial approach felt impossible and made me feel like I had completely lost strength in my feet. It simply made me shut down!
Now, two decades later, I can’t wrap my head around what it is that I was so afraid of.
The truth is, you and I can overcome fear and easily do the things that we once thought impossible, simply because we now have experience. I was able to push through those frightening moments and conversation. Now, I can strike up a conversation with every person I find, on the train, coffee shop, or at the office.
I have the confidence to do pretty much anything I put my mind to. It is just like learning to drive on the highway for the first time. At first, it was scary, but with time, you adjust, and your body learns that it does not kill you.
Well, this kind of confidence is what is referred to as experiential confidence. It is the type of confidence that you gain through experience. You have developed this type of confidence at some point in your life. The first step is to have the courage to act and take risks. Each time you fail, you build that confidence because you understand that failure is not permanent.
One thing that you have to appreciate is all the things that did not work out in your life because they allowed you to learn. It is through the past failures that we have confidence today. Therefore, if you want to build your experiential confidence, the first thing that you need to ask yourself is what is the worst thing that could happen if you fail? Will you die? If not, then there is no reason to back down. You must understand that everything you act against fear, you grow your experiential confidence, and all the tasks that is difficult now will be easy later on.
Pillar 2: Emotional Confidence
This simply refers to the kind of confidence that you can turn on at will. Well, here’s an example: I started working for an International company at the age of 21 as a project assistant. One time, for some reason, I wanted to work from another city for three weeks. However, I was so nervous to ask my boss for permission to work away from the main office. Did I eventually do it? Definitely.
Well, I first had to prepare myself mentally. I started by brainstorming how I would walk into his office, present my case, and how I would handle his responses. I created a small decision tree with all the possible ifs, how and why questions he would ask and what my responses would be. This was to help me stay on top of my game so that nothing caught me off-guard. In other words, I needed this to maintain my composure.
What I was essentially doing was tapping into my emotional confidence by learning the tips and tricks of controlling my body language so that I do not send out the wrong message. If you control your body, then you will be able to control your emotions. On the contrary, if you fail to control your body, then your emotions will be running all over the place.
What I simply did was rehearse every statement I was going to say, and how I would do it, with a firm handshake, smiling face, and shoulders high. What I realize was, when you resist the urge of crossing your arms and showing your anxiety, the conversation flows naturally, and the other party eases into the discussion. That is how you gain emotional confidence.
It is important to note that, emotional confidence serves a great purpose especially when you are caught in a situation that you already anticipate; for instance, a presentation, a difficult conversation with your superiors or parents, a performance, etc. Unlike experiential confidence, emotional confidence is not limited to just a single domain.
The only problem, in this case, is that having emotional confidence is not automatic. You have to tap into your inner self to turn it on.
But then what do you do in such a difficult situation when you just don’t feel like it? We will be delving deeper into how you can stick up for yourself and various ways in which you can handle tough situations that come your way.
Pillar 3: Self-Esteem
This is the deepest level of confidence and is the true definition of unshakeable confidence! One mistake that people make today is thinking that confidence has everything to do with survival. The tough truth is that there are so many people with huge muscles, decorated war veterans, and even firefighters who do not have self-confidence! They do not have the confidence to initiate a conversation with a stranger. You have to understand that confidence is something that in this time and age, is broken by identity and not broken bones.
We often think to ourselves… What if others hate me? What if I gave the presentation and they ignore me? What would people think of me? These are all self-defeating questions.
Having high self-esteem simply means that you have the ultimate level of confidence because in such a case, your identity is not broken. Instead, your identity is self-generated. You must never let others shape your identity and purpose. You have the power and the will to uphold your internal code.
The first thing to winning high self-esteem is ensuring that your true identity is tied to your values and standards. It starts by you realizing and accepting that the only person that will break your identity is yourself!
The moment you stop feeling like your identity is at stake, is when you are truly confident. If you live up to your standards, there is no rejection, weirdness, or public humiliation that can upset you. So what are the steps that we need to take in order to live with high standards and peerless confidence? Some of these include you trying your best, fully expressing yourself, taking responsibility for your happiness, and always purposing to do what is right rather than taking the easy way out.
What others think don’t matter. When you live with this mantra, you will never be at the mercy of other’s opinions. Let your purpose always be the guiding light and do your best at all times. Don’t be afraid to do the things that scare you and give your best shot! There is no way to lose with such mentality. In fact, you will gain more than you could ever imagined.
There’s a saying which goes: familiarity breeds comfort. Therefore, ensure that you are exposing yourself to situations that offer you a sense of familiarity if you are going to attend a meeting, scope through the agenda of the meeting in your head. If you are going to give a presentation, run through it in your head.
Additionally, it is critical that you take control of your emotions. Take at least three minutes and speak loudly, with a smile on your face and taking slow and deep breaths into your belly to effectively snap out that bad feeling, anxiety, or pattern. If you make this your identity, you will notice that no failure, rejection, or humiliation will shake your true identity.