I was nine years old, standing in front of a sea of people, expected to sing a solo. My entire body was frozen, adrenaline coursing through my veins. All I saw were faces and, right in front of me, the microphone, waiting. I opened my mouth, but I was forgetting how to breathe.
A lack of self-confidence can be extremely damaging to your sense of self. Someone who naturally struggles with this (which is many, if not most, people) might never be completely free of it; there are always moments when everyone feels a little doubt (and if not, they probably have an ego that needs to be punctured). Usually you can tell pretty quickly whether you’re talking to someone who has a low amount of self-confidence, because they hold themselves differently. They’re less certain of their words — a little withdrawn, a little detached, shrinking into themselves and afraid of putting themselves forward.
However, there are many tricks and coping mechanisms one can use to get over this innate fear, and eventually become desensitized to the point where it rarely presents a problem. I’m going to give you an overview of three tactics and things to keep in mind when you’re working on becoming more confident.
Firstly, put yourself in situations you don’t like. Set yourself up so you need to do something you know you won’t want to do when the moment comes—schedule a call, make plans you can’t back out of, commit to a club, set up a presentation—and do it over and over again. People can get desensitized to anything. It sounds scary, but anticipation really is much worse than the thing itself.
Speaking as an expert procrastinator, it’s much easier for me to schedule something “for later” and then only have to confront it when “later” actually turns to “now.” So, use that instinct to procrastinate, and set things up for later. You don’t have to worry about it right now—so don’t. Then, when the time comes, you can’t back out because people are relying on you and it’s already scheduled and you’ll mess stuff up, so you do it, and, oh—it’s not that bad.
If that idea stresses you out too much, start small. For example, I love to sing, and I’m completely comfortable singing in front of a crowd, but things didn’t start out like that. At first, I never sang in front of anyone; then finally I sang in front…