Sometimes, I just…can’t...get…myself…going.
Each and every day, we’re trying to do something.
Sometimes, it’s something new. And that can be scary. Other times, it’s something we’ve done a thousand times and we just can’t get into the groove.
Often, all we need is a little confidence to get ourselves going. This can be the difference between asking someone out, acing that project, snagging that client, or even accomplishing that goal…or not.
For that, I have an incredibly simple method of building up confidence that has helped me push through difficult moments countless times over the years.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
– Dale Carnegie
When I was younger, I lacked confidence in myself and my ability. Nearly everything I ever started I quit because I didn’t believe I had what it took to accomplish it.
It wasn’t until later on in life that I learned a thing or two about building up confidence and started to gain a little more belief in myself (and consequently learned the importance of it, something which hadn’t been passed down to me).
Confidence can be a bit fickle because it’s directly tied to our level of motivation. This is something that most people don’t understand. They know confidence is more static, and that motivation fluctuates, but not how various different factors including motivation influence our confidence.
Nowadays, I have a much simpler way of interpreting it all– as energy.
How to generate the confidence necessary to do anything
Imagine that to perform a task you need a certain amount of energy. Like a car that needs gasoline or a lamp that needs electricity, you need energy to do your thing. When we look at in this way, the whole equation becomes way simpler.
And, to that end, I use a very simple technique for generating the necessary energy, and confidence, to take action. And this includes everything from waking early to calling or talking to someone you’re dreading speaking to, tackling something you’ve been putting off, or completing a big project like writing a book or creating something.
The steps are very simple and straightforward, however, don’t let them fool you– it’s highly effective at allowing you to generate the confidence necessary to take action on anything you want to do, however big.
Here it is:
- Pick something (very) small: This could be making a phone call, listing something down, signing up to a service, doing some research, or driving somewhere in your car. Really any minuscule task is fair game here, just make sure it’s something that you actually need to get done. It can be completely unrelated to the main task you want to tackle, that doesn’t matter. You’ll see why in a moment.
- Pick another thing (preferably slightly bigger, something you’ve been putting off): You’ll notice something interesting as soon as you’ve completed your first task: you’re motivated to take more action. That’s the heart of this simple technique. When we get up and take action, even if it’s completely unrelated to our main objective, we start to generate that energy I was talking about. And that makes us willing to take more action. Make this second thing a little bigger if possible and preferably something you’ve been putting off for a few weeks (we all have things like that). Why not do that in step one? You typically aren’t confident enough to start tackling those things.
- Pick something bigger: Now that you’re really rolling, you should have developed the kind of confidence and motivation to take action on something larger. This can happen over the span of a week, but preferably, you do this all in a single day. You want to utilize as much of this energy as possible and the sooner you take another action the more of it you can utilize before the energy dissipates.
- Start tracking your progress: Now that you’re making real progress, it’s critical that you start to track your progress. This isn’t just important for accomplishing your goals in a general sense, by tracking your progress you’re able to see clearly that you’re making things happen, and few things help us develop more confidence than this. This can be a simple list at first, as long as you’re tracking things somehow.
- Celebrate your successes: Another important step in the process of developing confidence, similar to the last step, is you want to harp on your achievements (however small) and constantly remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished. This can be something as simple as treating yourself to your favorite restaurant at the end of the week or month or something much larger at the end of the quarter or year.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you need to keep going. This system is based on you generating and maintaining this energy, so the longer you can keep it up the better.
And the cool part about it is, you’re developing confidence along the way. Why is this important? Because, unlike temporary motivation, this sense of confidence in yourself doesn’t go away. It stays with you and helps in whatever you set out to do in your life.
The reason is, you’ve proven to yourself that you’re capable of 1) saying you’re going to do something, 2) setting out to do it, 3) and actually doing it. Nothing builds more confidence than that.
And it all started with the smallest and most insignificant action.
It’s an incredibly simple technique, but if you use it, you can develop a great deal of confidence in yourself– confidence you can take with you and use to accomplish whatever you want in life.