Life's Adventures

How to Build Confidence

In my teenage years, my mother had a picture hanging in the kitchen foyer that I really liked. “Hitch your wagon to a star… and there you are.”

It was drawing of an old man whisking across the universe, his wagon hitched to a star. It had a profound effect on me, I’ve always faced challenges head-on. I throw myself into challenging situations trying to succeed, is this how one hitches their wagon to a star? I think it is.

Even more profound is the wild ride the man was taking. streaking across the cosmos… doesn’t have a clue where he is going. but he is sure enjoying the ride!

I think we all know about enjoying the ride. But how do you get the ride started? At some point, that old fellow set out to lasso a star.  Or in common terms: get the ball rolling.

How do you get the ball rolling?

It occurs to me, after watching so many speeches and debates, that there is a common thread among successful speakers. They appear to feel very good about themselves and they exuberate so much self-confidence, it seems to rub off on you.

Could it be that being self-confident is contagious? I know it is!

Sleepy Cat
But it does take dedication though. It is far too easy to be like this lazy cat!


Fortitude, according to when someone has fortitude it means that they have emotional power or reserves and the ability to withstand adversity. 

I believe that Fortitude is “built-in” to all of us. And that when faced with a seemingly insurmountable pain or adversity it automatically “kicks in” to pull us through.  Some even believe that this “inner power” is a gift from God.

Just knowing that such power is lying there within each and every one of us by itself should be a confidence builder. But we don’t use or see our fortitude every day, after all it does seem to be reserved for the really big challenges.

True, fortitude kept us going with the huge amount of care required for our youngest daughter.

It’s the Small Things

What about the smaller challenges we are faced with every day? I suggest we take our fortitude and use it as a foundation. A foundation that starts with giving. And why not start with giving to YOURSELF first?

Pantzar's fascination with ice swimming led her to uncover research that showed why the practice made people feel energetic and alive.
Katja Pantzar
Pantzar’s fascination with ice swimming led her to uncover research that showed why the practice made people feel energetic and alive.
Katja Pantzar

I am not saying we need to go jump in a frozen lake! However, confident people understand the impact of believing in themselves and relying on their abilities. Literally, what you think can reflect what you are.

What self-confident people realize

When we perceive ourselves as being able to achieve anything we set our mind to, we shape our reality.  Yes, perception shapes reality, and with the right mindset, we can all become the confident, self-assured person we want to be.

7 ways to build confidence.

1) Acknowledge and list existing areas of confidence. Any area in our life where we are producing good results is an area where we already have confidence. Think about it. What you do well? List those areas along with the beliefs and feelings that support them.

2) Start where you know you can succeed. One effective way to build self-confidence is to start with one of these areas where we know we can take control and succeed. No matter who we are, there is always some area in our life where we feel we have a level of competence. Start by setting one reachable goal in that direction and then take action to complete it.

The SMART way to set goals
The SMART way to set a goal.

3) Repeat the process. Once reach a goal, set another reachable goal in that same direction and follow through again. If we continue the pattern of setting and achieving small goals we can acknowledge our ability to get things done and that will build confidence.

4) Expand your efforts. Next, we should choose another area in our life that we have a degree of competence and repeat the process. Again, as our feelings of confidence grow, we will perceive ourselves as successful people.

5) Enlist some external feedback. Ask a friend to provide some positive feedback every time we succeed in reaching a goal. Now, we have a source of external validation!

6) Walk the walk and talk the talk. If you walk, talk, dress and conduct yourself like a person who is very confident, you will send signals to your own nervous system that says, “I can do anything I set my mind to.” You will also send those same messages to everyone you come in contact with.

7) Make confidence part of your identity. Embracing a positive view of yourself that empowers you to confidently take action in the direction of your goals is a huge step in personal development. And trust me I’m still working on it!

If you experience a disappoint, resist the urge to link it to your personal identity. Think about what happened, make adjustments and move on.

Subliminal Messaging

Maybe you would prefer to try a more relaxing way to improve your confidence. While the above steps are still important, subliminal messaging could very well be the way to go.

Make your own subliminal messages

Continue to Build Confidence

Because we now have a record of producing positive results, we have every reason to believe that we will produce positive, successful results in the future.

In summary, building confidence is a matter of adopting a more empowering mindset and building a more positive perception of your abilities. Remember, confidence is self-perpetuating; you just need to get the ball rolling and create some momentum.

“If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison

This article is based on a speech I wrote on 7 ways to build self-confidence.