March 23

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If You Want To Be Confident, Avoid Doing This

By Alison

March 23, 2021


If you want to be confident, avoid doing these 10 self-sabotaging behaviours.  If you lack self-confidence, it may be because you have adopted one or more of these behaviours that damage your confidence. 

When you are looking to improve your confidence, it can be hard to know where to start.  Sometimes knowing the things to avoid is more comfortable to recognise and act on.

So if you want to be confident, avoid doing these 10 things.

1.  If You Want To Be Confident, Avoid Negative Self-Talk.

Confident people have learnt to manage their inner critic, or gremlin as many people refer to it.  You know the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough!  If allowed to run wild, that inner voice can poison your mind with negative thoughts that can drain positive emotions such as confidence.

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Change the negative self-talk by being more compassionate towards yourself.  Would you say these things to your best friend?  If not, then don’t say them to yourself.

2.  Banish Self-Criticism

If you belittle your achievements and successes, you are telling yourself that you’re not worthy.  At times, it’s healthy to take an objective viewpoint but remember to highlight the things that went well.

When you do something well or achieve something you’re proud of, you get a little buzz of happiness.  Take this feeling and build on it.  Confidence is like building a house; you first set solid foundations and then start laying one brick on top of another.  The momentum of good results will push you forward.  So if you want to be confident, avoid self-criticism.  Be your own cheerleader.

woman in hazmac suit and umbrella

Avoid people that bring you down

3.  Don’t Hang Out With Toxic People

 The people we spend the most time with influence our behaviour.  You want to fit in, right?  But if you are trying to fit in with people who hold you back from being successful, then it’s time to cut loose.  You may not feel comfortable cutting ties, especially if you have known the person for a long time.  So, consider limiting the amount of time you spend with them.  Remember, people come in and out of our lives frequently, and often for a reason.  If you want to be confident, avoid toxic people and hang out with those that bring out the best in you.  The people that will encourage and push you forwards to be the best version of yourself

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4.  If You Want To Be More Confident, Avoid Moaning and Complaining – The Woe Is Me Syndrome

Misery loves company. 

Have you noticed how infectious complaining is?  You start moaning about one thing, and before you know it, the world and his wife is at fault.  And when you moan to your colleagues it affects their mood and before you know it, everyone is having a good old whinge.

The trouble is, moaning doesn’t move things forward.  When you complain, you highlight how you are unable to fix the challenges in your life.  You adopt a defeatist attitude.  Confident people take responsibility when things go wrong.

Instead of complaining, try to work on a solution or find someone who can help.  If you want to be confident, avoid complaining.  The less you complain, the more you’ll take action, which results in a significant boost to your confidence.

If you want to be more confident, avoid moaning and take responsibility by taking positive action.

if you want to be confident avoid would be diva's

Attention seekers can drain everyone around them

5.  Don’t Be An Attention Seeker

Attention seekers are those who are looking for external validation.  They don’t feel confident on the inside, although they make a good impression of acting as if they are.  There is a lot of pop psychology around ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.  I wrote an article about why adopting this approach is dangerous.  You can read it here.  Can You Fake Confidence, Here's The Ultimate Truth

If you've ever worked with an attention seeker, you will know how exhausting it is.  There is always some drama or other going on.

Confident people are humble; they are happier promoting others than themselves.  For confident people, their actions speak louder than their words.  If you want to be confident, avoid attention-seeking and instead focus on what you are doing.  Become a leader, not a follower.  You don’t need to make a song and dance out of it.

6.  Stop Worrying About Other People – Turn FOMO into JOMO

Comparison is the thief of joy.  Too often, we get caught up in what other people are doing; our fear of missing out (FOMO) kicks in.  Unfortunately, when you concern yourself too much with what other people are doing, you are less focused on what you’re doing.  You become too easily swayed with their ideas and plans rather than setting out the plan that will help you succeed.

Confident people know that when they have a plan, they execute it by assessing their own performance.  They focus on their improvement rather than worry about what other people are doing.

If you want to be confident, avoid worrying about other people.  Turn FOMO into JOMO (joy of missing out), your confidence will soar.

word uncertainty with un cut with a pair of scissors

Accept that you will not always be completely certain. Go with what you have

7.  Don’t Wait For 100% Certainty – Aim For 70%

When you lack confidence, you might feel that you don’t have enough knowledge to take action.  You think that you need 100% certainty before you proceed.

Confident people take action regardless of whether or not they have 100% knowledge.  Knowledge is often something acquired over time and through action.  You can only act on the information you have to hand at the time. If more information comes along, then you can adapt accordingly.

Confident people proceed regardless.  If you want to be confident, avoid having absolute certainty before you take action.  Aim for 70% and believe that the missing information will become apparent as you proceed.

8.  If You Want To Be Confident, Avoid Indecision

Rash decisions usually turn out poorly, but taking too long to make a decision can be just as damaging.  Have you heard the phrase, ‘indecision causes accidents’? 

Decision making is a skill that confident people practice regularly.  As a result, they can make decisions more quickly and easily.  If we adopt the approach above, they don’t wait for everything to be perfect before proceeding.  Confidence allows them to be agile and adaptable to changing circumstances.

Indecision is a form of procrastination.  You can tie yourself up in knots, worrying about whether a decision is right or wrong, but the world doesn’t stop in the meantime.

If you fail to decide on an action to take, you might find the situation comes back to bite you on the bum!  Which means you end up having to make a potentially more difficult decision further down the line.

If you want to be confident, avoid indecision.  Trust me; not only will you get more respect from your colleagues if you make a decision and see things through, but your confidence will increase.

woman standing eyes closed and fingers crossed

Luck has nothing to do with success. It's usually hard work

9.  Don’t Think Luck Has Anything To Do With It!

Many women who struggle with imposter syndrome believe that their success is down to luck.  But, what they forget is that action is usually the reason they are where they are.

Confident people don’t rely on luck to succeed.  There’s usually a lot of hard work that has gone in beforehand.

If you want to be confident, avoid relying on luck to sort things out.  Don’t leave your fate to someone else or changing circumstances.  Rarely does it work out.

10.  Avoid Making Excuses.

In the workplace, it’s results that matter.  I’ve sat in many meetings, often uncomfortably, as I listened to people make excuses for not having done things.

  • I didn’t meet the deadline because Sally didn’t get back to me with the numbers
  • The project has gone off track because I didn’t have the resources
  • The dog ate my presentation

You know the type of thing.

In one situation, where a manager had listened to an employee list out a whole raft of excuses, he finally put up his hand as a signal to stop.  In a calm voice, he said, ‘If I understand you correctly, you have failed to take the appropriate action to prevent errors from happening.  At the moment, all I’m hearing is a list of excuses.  Can we please focus on exactly what you have done?’

Eeks, squirming ensued.

At the end of the meeting, the manager asked the employee to provide a list of things he would do to correct the situation.

If you want to be confident, avoid making excuses.  Instead, look for solutions and implement them.

When you make excuses, you are giving up on something.  You’ve allowed yourself to quit.  Excuses don’t instil confidence in others that you know what you are doing or take responsibility.

Next steps when read good things happen when you ask for what you want

So, which of the 10 behaviours are you guilty of?  Go on, be honest.

Do you:

  • Talk negatively to yourself
  • Criticise yourself too harshly
  • Hang out with the wrong people
  • Moan and complain
  • Seek attention
  • Worry too much about what other people think and do
  • Need 100% certainty before taking action
  • Avoid making decisions
  • Rely on luck for your success
  • Make excuses

Sometimes it’s hard to identify what we are guilty of doing.  I’d encourage you to put some time aside and seriously consider each of the behaviours and write down examples of when you have behaved in that way.

Be completely honest with yourself.

Then choose one of the behaviours to work on.  Please don’t try to do all of it at once; changing behaviour takes time.  Be kind to yourself.

If you want to be confident, avoid at least one of these and when you have mastered it, move on to the next one.  Your confidence will increase – I promise.

The question is, how confident do you want to be?


About the author

For years, despite career success, I was plagued with inner doubt. I worried about what other people thought. I became anxious about doing things wrong, felt out of my depth, and struggled with imposter syndrome. Above all, I feared failing. So, I worked long hours to prove myself worthy. It was exhausting, and it took a toll. My relationships suffered - my husband and I were becoming virtual strangers - and I had no social life. When the ravages of my doubts began to affect my health, I knew something had to change. I know there is a better way to live. Let me show you how.

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