What is confidence? How do leaders inspire confidence?

The Scene:

At the Global Youth Village, respect is the standard of human interaction and exchanging points of view in a safe environment is highly valued.  On a hot summer evening in July, small groups dove into deep discussions drawing out personal experiences with confidence and lack of confidence. Everyone agreed that:

  • Self-confidence is a building process and takes time, experience and affirmations.
  • Challenges, negative social media exchanges, the news headlines and “life” can often deflate one’s confidence. 
  • Our own inner critic is often a loud voice in our heads.
  • It is important to seek out people and experiences that help you build your sense of self and give you purpose. 

Setting the tone: 

Mohammed from Egypt asked the group “how can you be confident in yourself?”

Megan from Virginia replied: “I believe that it is through experiences and sharing perspectives with others, that one realizes how much they can contribute and this builds confidence. “

Gabriela from California said “ At GYV, I am learning to express myself more and be less shy.  I feel like I found my strength here.”

How to:

We then came up with 10 things you can do to boost self- confidence:

  1. Visualize yourself as you want to be (calm, open, unafraid…)
  2. Focus on yourself with positive affirmations – I am kind, humble – whatever helps you feel strong
  3. Take risks – try something outside your comfort zone and congratulate yourself when you have done it even if you are still uncomfortable.
  4. Question your inner critic – say out loud is this doubt helping me?
  5. Question how do you define rejection?  When its time to put forward an idea or make a request or start up a conversation with a new person, we can decrease our fear of rejection by saying nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  6. Set small goals that you can easily obtain and build your confidence from there.  If you set a big goal and it is not easily obtainable, break it down into smaller goals.
  7. Help someone else – this often helps us forget about a difficulty in our own life and to feel gratitude
  8. Care for yourself – make time to exercise, sleep and eat well
  9. Shift away from comparisons – if you tend to compare yourself and think others are better than you, this will erode your self-confidence.  See  yourself and your contributions as being equal and important. 
  10. Make a list:  at the end of the day make a list of things you felt uneasy about and a list of the ways you built your confidence.  Affirm tomorrow will be a day you continue to grow in confidence.

Next Steps: How does personal confidence help you become a better leader?

“If you feel more sure of yourself, you often feel you can take on challenges, help others and give back.” Sura, Jordan

Here are six  ways to inspire confidence in others and be a leader?

  1. Remain calm and steady – those who keep cool in chaotic times, help others do the same.
  2. Show consistency in thinking, decision making and actions
  3. Respect time
  4. Listen to others with enthusiasm
  5. Pause and think before you speak
  6. Let people know you care about them

These kinds of conversations on a warm summer night, under the stars, with new friends from all over the world really stick with you.