3 Steps to Confidence

Self ConfidenceMost of my life I’ve struggled with confidence and I hear the same from other INFJs. Over the years I’ve watched people who appeared confident and worked to figure out what makes them tick.  What I finally realized is that self-assurance isn’t some kind of inborn magic that only a lucky few have.  It’s a specific mind set, a perspective that anyone can learn.

Here are 3 steps that will help start you on the path to confidence:

1.  Stop worrying about what other people think of you

Self-consciousness, worrying about what others will think, is an instant confidence drainer.  People who are confident don’t stress if they’re under-dressed for a party or if people don’t agree with them.  Confident people own who they are and don’t care if they’re different.  They don’t get upset every time they goof up and if someone doesn’t like them they don’t agonize over it, they just shrug and move on.

2.  Be yourself

Imagine a shy person at a party, shrinking back in a corner, obviously worried that no one will talk to them. Now imagine that person sitting comfortably in that same corner, but they are relaxed and are enjoying just sitting quietly and watching the activities around them.  The first person is clearly insecure and anxious, the second comes across as relaxed and confident.  The difference between the two is that the second person accepts their quietness and just enjoys their experience of the party, the first resists who they naturally are and thinks they should be different. 

It’s interesting, once we really step in to our natural preferences, they stop feeling like problems and simply become facets of our personality.  Once I embraced the fact that I remember experiences rather than facts, I was no longer embarrassed that I forgot details and started enjoying my ability to replay the feeling of a sunny day or the joy expressed by the bride at her wedding.   

3. Focus on living a rich life rather than impressing others

You want to be beautiful/handsome, interesting, exciting and magnetic?  The good news is that you have everything you need to be all those things. Beauty?  It’s found in a relaxed smile, enthusiasm and personal style (think of the charismatic appeal of Adrian Brody, who’s exuberant personality makes him attractive, crooked nose and all). You want to be interesting and exciting? You’re both when you’re discussing areas that are obviously fascinating to you, areas that you’ve explored and spent time delving into (check out the engaging and compelling Benjamin Zander on TED.  I don’t care a thing about piano playing but I was riveted when I saw this little talk).  

In other words, the more you focus on who you are in the world, on learning, growing and connecting with others, the more attractive and confident you’ll be.

Sure, there are people who are born with confidence.  They don’t struggle like we do with shyness and insecurity.  But confidence is less about personality and more about self-acceptance.  People who are confident aren’t focused on their flaws, they’re focused on living life.  Rather than asking “Will this person like me?” they ask “What’s this person like?” When they make a faux pax they apologize and move on.  They enjoy who they are, idiosyncracies and all, because they know that their uniqueness is what makes them special.

 

4 thoughts on “3 Steps to Confidence

  1. It took a long time for me as a highly reserved and shy INFJ to realize I had anything to contribute to any conversation. Even reading self help books did not truly change my perspective. My internal world was so compelling that I overlooked one of its most pervasive aspects. Simply, I could feel other people! I did not have a clue that my ability to feel another was my contribution. Empathy is a world class gift we INFJs bring to any situation. It takes some maturity and as you stated, self acceptance, to get there, but the truth is we can have confidence that our empathy is valuable, and that other people like to talk about themselves! Using genuine empathy to start a conversation and then listening and responding was like dropping a duck in water.
    This became a beginning for me, a place to start to connect with others. It took a lot of work to build the confidence in myself as a speaker as well as a listener, but it happened step by step.
    I even enjoy public speaking now, as long as I’m interested in the subject and focused on something meaningful I want to get across! Still an INFJ….

    1. Good for you, Toni! The life coach in me notices the powerful way you talk about being yourself and the INFJ in me notices how much work you did to get where you are.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

      Melinda

  2. I’m speeding my growth as a INFJ using you blog and John Maxwell “The15 Laws of Growth”. more comment to come and thanks for blog. ” I feel like you truly understand my heart”

  3. “But confidence is less about personality and more about self-acceptance” omg i just love this line. thank you for sharing your wonderful articles. really deeply enjoy them. god bless

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