Building confidence can sometimes require an inner push. Most people feel nervous or afraid at points, whether that’s speaking in front of a crowd, changing jobs or booking a solo trip to Asia, but it’s our ability to push through these worries that’s the difference between standing still in a quagmire of fear or jumping free.
Pushing yourself to your limits depends on where those limits are. For some, it’s scaling mountains, while for others, it’s giving a presentation at work. It can even be as simple as wanting to live with a greater sense of freedom, to make small changes that add to your quality of life, such as standing up to an overbearing colleague. Each time you push your limits, you gain a little more courage. Here’s five ways to help rid yourself of the fear that’s holding you back and live the life you want.
The importance of play continues into adulthood
We can learn a lot from children. Ever watched one fling themselves down a slide or run with wild abandon across a field, not caring if they trip and fall? Children’s lack of inhibition means they are free to be fearless as they discover the world through imaginary friends, den building and make believe.
The importance of play and social engagement continues into adulthood, even if what we understand as play shifts. As children, play is our rehearsal for the challenges of life while we are still free of the social expectations that establish boundaries which tie us down. Shaking off those initiatives and expectations can be powerful. They are often what keep us trapped in a mindset that prevents us from doing what we want.
A flexible mindset could help you see your role through fresh eyes
Adult play can be anything from bungee-jumping, white-water rafting, drawing and colouring to clay throwing. Anything that will take you into the present moment and help alter your mindset. At work, too, play can help unlock your productivity by allowing you to break away from the rigid desk-bound culture, where innovative thoughts can get lost in the mundane everyday.
Gamification has been harnessed by some companies (think Google and Facebook) as a way of unleashing employees creative sides, but even if your company doesn’t have a foosball table or a scatter-cushioned breakout area, learning mental playfulness and adopting a flexible mindset could help you see your role through fresh eyes and liven even the dullest task.
Learning to enjoy hanging out alone is hugely liberating
Experience, knowledge and skills are the foundation of self-confidence. The more equipped you are to handle what scares you, the more tools you have at your disposal to fight the fear. This works two ways. As well as making you more prepared, knowing you have what it takes to handle a situation, such as public speaking or a job interview, will make you feel calmer and more in control of the situation. The worst that can happen is less likely to.
Meanwhile, doing things on your own, whether it’s going for dinner or traveling the world, takes guts and practice. Even those who love their own company will feel exposed at times in a world made for groups. But learning to enjoy hanging out alone is hugely liberating. That feeling of having branched out on your own without another person to cling to is an enormous confidence boost. Going it alone opens up more opportunities to meet new people and discover new places, which themselves are great remedies for fear.
Feeling good about your body can give you a sense of power
Whether it’s learning to do a headstand in yoga or running a 5K, having faith in your body can make your mind stronger, too. This isn’t about losing weight or sit-upping your way to a six-pack. Feeling good about what your body can do, taking control of it and pushing it to a place you weren’t sure you were going to get to can give you a massive sense of achievement and power, as well as the belief you can do anything.
Where this place is, of course, varies between individual abilities, but feeling good in your body will naturally give you a mental pick-me-up to not only face new challenges but also make your mind sharper.
Setting a goal can give you direction and a rush of accomplishment
When we’re younger, achievement gets measured out in gold stars, grades and certificates. But as we get older and into the groove of a career, we rarely feel that same satisfaction of improvement or the same euphoria of overcoming difficult challenges. A sense of purpose is powerful and at the heart of fearless living. Feeling in control gives you greater confidence and setting a goal can give you direction and a rush of accomplishment. Achieving something you didn’t think you could do by taking on a challenge with an element of risk can give you confidence, drive and resilience that you can harness in every aspect of your life.
These challenges don’t have to be physically huge – setting yourself the task of finding a new job or a whole new career is just as daunting as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Set realistic goals to help increase motivation and confidence and understand that it’s all a process.
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