Seven Practical Ways to Gain Confidence

I wrote previously that a finance professional should always be confident. This is certainly enhanced when you are prepared. I had a few job interviews early in my career for which I was not adequately prepared, and this showed in my level of confidence. I did not get a second interview in those scenarios.

My success has always been enhanced when I have been confident. Here are seven insights drawn from Kent Sayre about increasing your confidence:

  • “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Step back from your stressful situation and have a dose of reality. Compared to what you might gain if you successfully navigate through a stressful situation, the worst case scenario might not be so bad after all. Do your very best, and if you can’t control a particular variable, there is no sense stressing about it.
  • Vividly (i.e., using the five senses) imagine yourself achieving success in doing something for the first time. Consider a past situation in which you were successful, and relate your new experience to your past success.
  • Copy a confident person. Talk with confident people and be around them. Try to carry yourself in the same way.
  • Consider what you would be thinking, saying, and doing “as-if” you were confident. Act confident, and develop these patterns of thinking, speaking, and acting into habits.
  • Maintain a proper perspective. Ponder how important the situation you are facing will be to you when you are on your deathbed. You may not worry so much when you consider the big picture and understand that your current situation isn’t as important, long-term, as it presently seems to be.
  • You will fail to achieve anything 100% of the times that you don’t try. Believe that you can get help from others, and then ask. This might or might not work, but you won’t know unless you try.
  • Your internal voice might nag you with negative thoughts and feelings. Think of this voice as a clown’s voice or Mickey Mouse’s voice. Laugh at it, move on, and conquer your fears.

I especially appreciated the tip about considering best and worst case scenarios. Sometimes we can stress over vague fears and lose our confidence. If we can quantify what we are concerned about, we can find ways to accept, avoid, reduce, or share risks. If we are unable to quantify our fears, we have no need to be afraid. Instead, we can focus on the positive benefits from success and leave behind vague, general dread.