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12 proven techniques to build C-level self-confidence

There are three approaches to building self-confidence: by using your mind, by utilizing your body and by purging confidence saboteurs.

My research at the 2017 NBJ Summit suggest that 96 percent of C-level executives in the nutraceutical, whole foods and natural products industries want more confidence in at least their most high-pressure situations. I’ve had similar results with entrepreneurs, high-end sales professionals and world-class athletes. Having strong self-confidence (scientifically known as self-efficacy) helps you be your best under stress, and almost everyone wants more of it.

Build self-confidence by using your mind

Use confidence-building self-talk. Yes, it’s easy to say and hard to do, but you can learn how to consciously control some, or most, of your self-talk. Your mind is always listening to your self-talk and programming itself like a computer from what it hears. To be confident, make sure your inner self-talk is programming more, not less, self-confidence.

Talk to yourself in the second person. This is profound new research. You can increase your confidence and probability of success when performing under pressure by talking to yourself in the second person instead of the first person.

First-person self-talk begins with “I.” Examples of first-person self-talk include “I’m ready!” and “I can rock this!” Second-person self-talk begins with “you” or by stating your name. For example, “You’re ready!”, “You can rock this!”, “(your name), you’re ready!” and “(your name), you can rock this!” The research on this one small change is stunning! Learn more by watching the video or reading the full article here.

Visualize like world-class athletes do. It might surprise you to learn that you can consciously strengthen your confidence much like you strengthen a muscle. To strengthen a muscle, you stimulate it and fire the neurons, which makes it contract. Each time muscle fibers contract against resistance, they multiply and get larger—and your muscle gets stronger.

Similarly, every time you think of a situation you were confident in, you stimulate the neural network in your brain where your confident memories reside. Every time this confident neural network is stimulated, its neurons get thicker and make more dendrite connections. Thus, they get stronger, and your confidence grows.

Develop routines. Virtually all Olympic and professional athletes use pre-event and pregame routines to help them be their best in competition. Kobe Bryant, MVP of the 2009-2010 NBA finals, followed the same routine before every free throw. Four-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn, who is known as the greatest female American skier in history, repeatedly visualizes the perfect run before every race. And in the starting gate, she always clicks her poles together the same way before starting. Why do Olympic and professional athletes work to perfect routines? Because it helps them perform better. Routines can do the same for you

Learn to openly give and receive compliments. Strengthening and weakening confidence is complex, yet there’s one simple way to build it: Learn how to fully receive a compliment with an open heart. Hardly anyone in Western culture fully receives compliments. I catch myself blocking them often, and I teach this stuff. Deflecting compliments runs deep in our culture and starts at a young age.

Prepare with obsessive detail. Warren Buffett’s and Peyton Manning’s secret success strategy is the same: They prepare obsessively. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and Warren Buffet is one of the best stock investors ever. They both prepare obsessively, and because they do, they notice things that others don’t, and they create more opportunities from these observations. 

Build self-confidence by utilizing your body

Get fit. In addition to improved mood, happiness and self-esteem, one of the many benefits of exercise, backed by research, is a boost in self-confidence. 

Sit, stand and walk with high-power body positions. Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s groundbreaking book, “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges,” provides scientific research that certain body postures change the hormones that leave you feeling more, or less, powerful and confident. 

Build self-confidence by purging self-confidence saboteurs

Learn thought replacement to reframe negative, destructive thoughts. Uncontrolled negative thoughts not only hurt your confidence but also your relationships, happiness and even career. Learn to stop negative, destructive thoughts and build self-confidence with a simple four-step process. I’ve used this method for three decades; it’s powerful if you keep applying it.

Let go of perfection. Are high performers perfectionists? Often, yes. Perfectionism certainly helps you become good or great at what you do. However, perfection is unattainable. The downside is that perfectionistic people are often anxious or fearful, and that can lead to depression. It’s easy to feel like a failure because you can never achieve perfection. 

Choose your friends carefully. Negativity is like a highly contagious virus—it’s hard not to catch it when you’re exposed. Choose to be around positive people who build you and others up. We are all influenced by those around us. Choose your friends carefully!

Master fear. Do you have fear of failure, rejection or selling? Or other fears that limit your success, relationships and happiness? Most of us do. Irrational fear distorts perception. Imagine wearing red-tinted glasses — everything you see and perceive is red. It’s the same with fear. When you look through a lens of fear, everything you see and perceive is tainted with fear. You can master your fears

TC North, Ph.D. was a co-keynote presenter at the 2017 NBJ Summit. He helps entrepreneurs get more of what they want from their businesses. He is a professional EOS implementer, co-author of the best selling leadership book on Amazon, Fearless Leaders, a high-performance executive coach, HuffPost blogger and leadership speaker.

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