On Feb. 8, we celebrate Confidence Day, and self-confidence is the key to personal growth, success and overcoming challenges. Let’s reflect together on this powerful inner tool and discover how we can cultivate it in our daily lives.
But first, let’s understand what self-confidence actually is. It has everything to do with how you look at yourself. It’s about appreciating and respecting yourself with your strengths and weaknesses. It also represents a realistic view of your own abilities.
Why is self-confidence so important? Well, it forms the basis of a healthy self-image and the ability to achieve goals. It enables us to face life’s obstacles with courage. A healthy dose of self-confidence not only promotes personal growth, but also has positive effects on our relationships and professional performance. But why do we sometimes lack self-confidence? It can have several causes, including negative experiences, self-criticism, perfectionism, social pressure and comparison with others. It can all contribute to doubts about your own abilities.
‘Mindsets are beliefs. They are strong beliefs, but they are still a way of thinking and your thinking can change you’ – Carol Dweck
The key to building self-confidence often lies in our mindset. Carol Dweck, a leading psychologist, distinguishes two types of mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
A fixed mindset sees talents as immutable and avoids challenges for fear of failure. They hide shortcomings and react defensively to mistakes because they believe mistakes indicate a lack of talent.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that you can grow as a person by accepting challenges, experimenting, practicing too much, persevering in the face of setbacks and being open to feedback. They believe that making mistakes is part of the learning process; it allows for growth.
A growth mindset and fixed mindset are both okay. Growing with a growth mindset means taking active steps and seeing mistakes as contributing to self-confidence. In contrast, building self-confidence with a fixed mindset feels like an arduous task, where obstacles reinforce feelings of inadequacy and fear of mistakes is prohibitive.
In her book, Carol Dweck shares four steps to further develop your growth mindset:
Recognize thoughts of doubt and fear of failure as characteristic of a fixed mindset.
Realize that you can choose how you interpret challenges and criticism, and see them as opportunities to grow.
Swap fixed thoughts for growth-oriented thoughts and respond to your inner critic.
Take action by facing challenges, learning from mistakes and persevering even when the going gets tough.
Exercises can help you develop a growth mindset:
Keep a journal of specific goals and accomplishments, reflect on successes and learn from challenges.
Formulate a daily positive thought (affirmation) focused on growth and development and repeat it regularly. e.g., “Every mistake is a new wisdom.
Use “not yet” instead of “can’t” to emphasize opportunities for growth.
See failure as a learning opportunity and analyze what you can learn from it.
Set achievable goals outside your comfort zone to develop new skills.
Ask for constructive feedback regularly and see it as valuable information for personal growth.
Building a growth mindset takes time, commitment and perseverance but its positive impact on your self-confidence and personal growth is absolutely worth it.
‘Believing in yourself is your greatest strength’ Michael Pilarczyk
This blog highlighted the powerful link between your self-confidence and mindset. A fixed mindset makes it difficult to increase self-confidence, while a growth mindset contributes to self-confidence. Get started with the exercises today!
Discover more? Here are some more resources:
Book Tips: Carol Dweck: Mindset. Change the way you think to achieve your goals Michael Pilarczyk: Master your Mindset. Live your best life
Videos: Michael Pilarczyk has shared several videos on YouTube on this topic. Especially watch his short video on self-confidence and the one asking: Do you believe in yourself?